Green named to new national committee addressing chronic pain

Depression Center member Carmen R. Green, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and health management and policy, has been appointed to the new Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee.  

Through the Affordable Care Act, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create the committee, made up of national experts in pain research and patient care, to help address the problem of the more than 100 million Americans who suffer from migraines, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions at an annual cost of nearly $600 billion in medical bills and lost productivity.

The committee will work to identify critical gaps in basic and clinical research on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of pain, and will recommend federal research programs in these areas. Its members include biomedical researchers, representatives from nonprofit public advocacy organizations, and representatives of seven federal government organizations.

Green’s research agenda focuses on access to health and pain care, pain assessment, management and outcomes, minority and women’s health, clinician decision making and health policy. She also conducts studies on health and pain disparities due to age, race/ethnicity, gender, class and geography.

She is among six non-federal researchers that include physicians from Harvard Medical School, the American Cancer Society and Stanford University School of Medicine named to the group.

The committee’s focus will be to coordinate pain research activities across the federal government with the goals of stimulating pain research collaboration, fully leveraging the government resources dedicated to supporting pain research, and providing an important avenue for public involvement. The committee will explore public-private partnerships to broaden collaborative, cross-cutting research and consider best practices in disseminating information about pain to public and professional audiences.

“Pain is a universal condition, a serious and costly public health issue, and a challenge for family, friends, and health care providers,” says Story Landis, Ph.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the committee chair. “This committee will play an important role working with federal agencies spearheading pain research. I am pleased that its membership reflects a great depth and wide range of both scientific expertise and effective public advocacy.”

The committee appointees include leading federal officials together with six non-federal scientists, physicians, and other health professionals, as well as six members of the general public who are representatives of leading research, advocacy and service organizations.

After tracking the work of several government agencies that conduct and support pain research, the committee will develop a report on scientific advances in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of chronic and acute pain.

The committee is expected to meet at least once a year, with members slated to serve overlapping three-year terms. The first meeting will be held March 27.

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