Harvard Dental selected to create training in pain management

Harvard School of Dental Medicine has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health as one of 11 schools to create training material for diagnosing and treating pain.

“Virtually all health professionals are called upon to help patients suffering from pain,” NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins said in a press release. “These new centers will translate current research findings about pain management to fill what have been recognized as gaps in curricula so clinicians in all fields can work with their patients to make better and safer choices about pain treatment.”

The dental school will receive $275,959 for the work, according to an NIH spokeswoman. Here’s how the release described the group’s charge:

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Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans, costing up to $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity, and producing immeasurable suffering for people of every age. Yet, pain treatment is not taught extensively in many health professional schools, and clinical approaches can be inconsistent. The curricula developed by the [Centers of Excellence in Pain Education] will advance the assessment, diagnosis, and safe treatment of a wide variety of pain conditions while minimizing the abuse of opioid pain relievers. They will include multiple case-based scenarios, many taught in video or electronic formats popularly used in contemporary academic settings. Types of pain of particular interest to the NIH Pain Consortium are rehabilitation pain, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and headache pain. In addition, the curricula will teach about the pathophysiology and pharmacology of pain and its treatment, the latest research in complementary and integrative pain management, factors that contribute to both under- and over-prescribing of pain medications, and how pain manifests itself differently by gender, in children, in older adults and in diverse populations.