Pains Project

“Addressing the enormous burden of pain will require a cultural transformation….  Effective pain management is a moral imperative, a professional responsibility, and the duty of people in the healing professions.”

(Institute of Medicine, Relieving Pain in America, 2011) 


Pain Program

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) developed a ground breaking report describing the state of pain care in America and providing a roadmap to transform how pain is perceived, judged and treated. (Read the IOM Report Brief; read the Full Report). As the IOM committee lacks implementation authority, the Center for Practical Bioethics stepped forward to spearhead efforts to advance the recommendations set forth in the Report. The Center convened interested parties and assessed their interest and readiness to coalesce around a shared belief that by working together, the cultural transformation outlined in Relieving Pain in America can be achieved.  

Out of this conversation, and after evaluating the key elements of successful social reform campaigns, the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS) was born. PAINS is an alliance of leaders working in professional societies, patient advocacy organizations, policy groups, people with pain, payers, and the private sector striving together toward a common vision and mission.  Recognizing the tremendous changes that are transpiring in healthcare, PAINS is working to integrate bio-psychosocial pain care into efforts to create patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations. PAINS is also reaching out to other national coalitions and alliances involved in healthcare reform to encourage them to integrate improved pain care into their efforts and to learn how we can support their work as well.


Pains Project

• Advocacy - Holding governmental agencies named in the IOM report accountable for acting on the report’s specific recommendations
• Engagement – Through a health literacy campaign, engage and educate the American public, especially people struggling to live with pain, about the need to move to an integrated, bio-psychosocial model of care
• Research - Promote additional research within the biomedical and social sciences and assist in the dissemination of research.


Pain TherapyPAINS is a program of the Center for Practical Bioethics by Myra Christopher, the Kathleen M. Foley Chair at the Center.

Vision: All Americans who struggle to live with pain, notably those with chronic pain, will have access to integrative pain care consistent with their goals and values.
Mission: To advocate for and act collectively to actualize the recommendations set forth in the IOM report.


News Headlines:

CHRONIC PAIN: National Groups Call on HHS to Release the National Pain Strategy Report and Endorse Four Core Messages

Collaborators Meeting Report: A Step Toward a Cultural Transformation in the Way Pain is Perceived, Judged and Treated


Audio Interviews:

Please use our search tool to listen to dozens of interviews on Pain and Health Policy. View Bioethics Channel



Video Interviews:



Please visit the PAINS site to learn more about this important work and how you can become part of the movement to change the way pain is perceived, judged and treated.