The Center and the Institute of Medicine Report on Pain


As the Institute of Medicine (IOM) releases a landmark report on pain, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research (, a member of the study committee announced she is convening a group to define concrete steps to tackle the national problem.

Myra Christopher, president of the Center for Practical Bioethics, who served on the Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research Committee, believes changes in the way we assess, treat and manage pain in the U.S are imperative and must happen quickly. In the fall of 2010 she launched The Pain Action Initiative: A National Strategy (PAINS).

“Misguided public perception of pain coupled with poor education of our health care professionals has created the perfect storm for neglect. As a nation, we don’t ignore heart disease, diabetes or cancer and yet pain affects more people than these diseases combined; it's nothing short of a moral and ethical outrage,” declared Christopher.

The Center for Practical Bioethics, led by Christopher, has studied the issue for more than a decade and recently held regional stakeholder meetings about pain in communities across the country.  Christopher believes the solutions lie in systemic changes and that previous ways of addressing the problem won't work anymore.

And she's not alone.

PAINS recently convened several organizations including the American Pain Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Pain Society; their plan is to outline a community-based approach that will help to identify, educate and treat the over 100 million Americans who suffer with pain.

Determined not to allow the IOM report to sit on the shelf, the group convened by Christopher, plans to meet again in August to analyze where common organizational efforts can be coordinated and enhanced, and similarly identify areas where there is currently little activity.
A concise set of actions will be developed to address each IOM recommendation by this group of organizations, many of whom have toiled in pain management fields for years. As new partners, their intent is to encourage individual organizational activities and explore strategies where their combined efforts will yield better and faster results.

Christopher asserts, The appropriate treatment of pain is a thorny and complicated issue but I know together we are going to find solutions that are practical, respectful and effective.

Center for Practical Bioethics

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