Two U.S. Pain Foundation staff members–Cindy Steinberg, national director of Policy and Advocacy, and Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, clinical director of Pain Connection–have been nominated to serve on influential committees within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Steinberg was announced May 1 as one of 28 members appointed to the newly established Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. Steinberg is the only representative selected from a patient organization. The task force, created as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, aims to outline best practices and address gaps and inconsistencies in the management of acute and chronic pain.

Just a few days prior, Herman was appointed to the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), the highest-ranking pain policy oversight committee in the country. She will serve alongside Steinberg, who has been a member since 2015. The IPRCC’s goal is to enhance pain research efforts and promote collaboration across government agencies. The IPRCC oversaw the development of the National Pain Strategy, a comprehensive plan for reducing the burden of chronic pain in the United States, as well as the Federal Pain Research Strategy, a long-term strategic plan for advancing the federal pain research agenda.

“We are grateful HHS recognizes the need to include the patient perspective in discussions about pain policy at the federal level,” said U.S. Pain Foundation Vice President Nicole Hemmenway. “These two women have dedicated their lives to serving the pain community. We know they will be indispensable in their new roles.”

In addition to her role with U.S. Pain, Steinberg is the policy council chair for the Massachusetts Pain Initiative and serves on several state-level committees. Steinberg lives with debilitating back pain from a serious injury, but has used her experience to become a leading spokesperson for the pain community through her numerous op-eds, media interviews, and speaking engagements. For her advocacy efforts, she has received numerous accolades, most recently a Presidential Commendation Award from the American Academy of Pain Medicine and was a 2013-2014 Mayday Pain & Society Fellow. She has led a chronic pain support group in Massachusetts for 18 years.

Herman founded Pain Connection, a national network of support groups and other resources for people with pain as well as support group leader trainings, in 1999, after a motor vehicle accident left her with debilitating chronic pain. In 2016, Pain Connection joined forces with U.S. Pain Foundation. Together, they now offer 10 in-person support groups in nine states, three monthly conference call support groups, and three support group leader weekend training programs a year. Herman is co-author of Making the Invisible Visible: Chronic Pain Manual for Health Care Providers. Herman also has a private psychotherapy practice in Tucson, Arizona.

To learn more about U.S. Pain Foundation, visit http://uspainfoundation.org/.