As part of its “Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic,” the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recently hosted a listening session to better understand the experiences of people living with chronic, non-cancer pain, including their experiences interacting with and navigating the health system. NAM also is seeking patients to share their experiences online via this survey.

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Volunteers are the heart and soul of the U.S. Pain Foundation. No matter what your interests are, or what your physical limitations may be, there is an opportunity for you to make a difference. The majority of our volunteer activities can be done from the comfort of home!

Below is a list of examples of ways to get involved, and information on how to get started. If you’d like to get more information on opportunities to act straight to your inbox, sign up as a volunteer here.

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Photo by Nick Scalera, of NJ.com

Glen Gardner, NJ (Feb. 21, 2020)—Last night, 17-year-old Tyler Cashman of Tewksbury held his annual fundraiser for children with chronic pain, bringing the total raised in five years to more than $110,000. Inspired by his mom, who lives with chronic pain herself, at age 12 Tyler created the “Points for Pain,” which asks fans to pledge donations for children with chronic pain based on the number of points their team scores.

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Join U.S. Pain Foundation’s Advocacy Network on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at noon EST for this free presentation for volunteers, featuring Kentucky Representative Cherlynn Stevenson.

Attendees will learn about the types of state-based policies being proposed this legislative session – bills that would have a direct impact on the chronic pain community, if turned into law.

We’ll highlight active legislation that’s focused on expanding access to multidisciplinary treatments, provider education, pain medication prescribing, and more.

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Photo by Nick Scalera

Glen Gardner, NJ (Feb. 18, 2020)—Chronic health issues are tough for adults, but they’re especially hard on children. Five years ago, a local teen decided he wanted to help. Tyler Cashman, of Tewksbury, created “Points for Pain,” which asks sports fans to pledge donations for children with chronic pain based on the number of points their team scores.

Over the years, Tyler—now 17—has raised more than $110,000. His next game is this Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 pm at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, NJ. While the focus of Points for Pain is fundraising, it’s also a great chance to raise awareness about pediatric pain. At the beginning of each game, Tyler explains the challenges these children faces and why support is so important.

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By Michele Rice

My sisters and I pulled the large round rug our grandma had crocheted for us as close to the TV as we could get away with. It was winter and cold in our family room, but we didn’t notice as we huddled together, fidgeting with excitement waiting for the commercials to end and our movie to start. Yes, this was before there were VCRs, Netflix, and other viewing options, and we were forced to watch commercials. This was also years before a slip and fall would lead to the end of my teaching career and send me on a journey to find a way to live a happy life, despite having severe chronic pain.

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Over the years, we’ve heard many stories from pain warriors who wished their health care providers knew more about chronic pain and ways to manage it. This year, New York lawmakers are taking significant steps to benefit the chronic pain community and better support health care professionals either in training or practicing medicine.

Two bills pain warriors can get excited about

Assembly bill 608 and Assembly bill 9067 (S. 7132) focus on enhancing the state’s current provider education requirements, but in different ways.

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There’s a proposed piece of legislation in Kentucky that would require health plans to cover certain therapies used to treat chronic pain.

As currently written, House Bill 198 would allow pain warriors to have access to receive 20 visits for pain treatments provided by a licensed professional.

Why it matters

Pain care, especially integrative therapy options, are not well-covered by Kentucky health plans, leaving individuals like you with limited options to manage your chronic pain condition.

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U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2019 Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year is Ernie Merritt. Merritt has been an ambassador and advocate for U.S. Pain since 2014, and has been living chronic pain since he was 33 years old. In 2019, Merritt went above and beyond to support pain patients and make sure their voices were heard at both the state and national level.

“It was a difficult choice this year, and we had many qualified nominees,” says Nicole Hemmenway, interim CEO of U.S. Pain Foundation. “But Ernie’s long-time efforts to provide support and raise awareness for fellow chronic pain patients made him a clear choice for the Ambassador of the Year Award. Beyond his dedication to the pain community, Ernie is simply an upstanding individual–his kindness and generosity despite his pain is an inspiration to us all.”

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U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased to announce the newest member of its Board of Directors: Marv Turner.

Turner is the owner of Yellow Dog Productions, a video production company. He has collaborated with U.S. Pain on several projects over the years, particularly through the Pediatric Pain Warrior Program, and was so impressed with the organization’s efforts that he decided he wanted to take a more active role.

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