Panel Discussion Moderated by Kim Block of WGME13


The 2013 Spring Symposium presents many faces of pain through evidence-based research, patient narratives, family stories, and portraits that translate pain in vivid and powerful ways. Chronic pain is recognized as a significant clinical and public health problem. The number of people in the United States living with chronic pain is estimated to be 75 million, and these represent those willing to share their pain with others. The symposium events will expose learners to knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to respond effectively, safely and with empathy to those living with chronic pain.

Case Study

We are honored to have a patient and family willing to tell their story for the purpose of deeper learning about pain and its related effects. Paula’s story will be translated into a case study available to students and instructors prior to the April 4, 2013 symposium. At age 13, Paula sprained her ankle. It did not respond to traditional treatments and over time her pain increased exponentially. Paula has subsequently endured chronic pain; multiple diagnoses have been proposed and she has been seen by a spectrum of health, mental health, and health-related professionals culminating in a diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. Learn more

Keynote Address

Interprofessional Spring Symposium will be delivered in the style of a TED talk. Our speakers are:

David A. Thomas, PhD
"The NIH Pain Consortium's Centers of Excellence in Pain Education: Enhancing Interprofessional Pain Education in Medical, Nursing, Dental and Pharmacy Schools"

Dr. Thomas began his career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1984, working in the intramural pain research program at the then National Institute on Dental Research studying opioids, pain and analgesia in monkeys and rats, using behavioral, pharmacological and electrophysiological approaches. He joined the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 1995.  Thomas is currently a program official in the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (DBNBR) where his program areas include pain and analgesia, opioids, virtual reality technologies and the abuse liability of analgesics. He is co-chair of NIDA Prescription Opioids and Pain workgroup, which fosters pain and opioid research and education. He is an original and current member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which promotes and pain research across the NIH, and he leads the NIH Pain Consortium’s Centers of Excellence in Pain Education program.

Judy Watt-Watson, RN MSc PhD  
"Knocking Down Silos: Interprofessional Pain Education"

Dr. Judy Watt-Watson is a Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and was Inaugural Executive Director of their Centre for Professional Development. She is currently the President of the Canadian Pain Society, a member of the IASP Education Initiatives Working Group, and a member of the US Mayday-funded Project Executive Committee developing interprofessional pain competencies. She was the inaugural chair of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain Interfaculty Pain Curriculum involving six Health Science Faculties.  Her research has focused on establishing pain prevalence and related risk factors, particularly for cardiac surgical patients and interventions involving health professionals and patients with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and The Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Kathleen A Sluka, PT, PhD
"Physical Activity Prevents Chronic Pain"                                 

Dr. Sluka is a Professor in the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa.  She is also the director of the Neurophysiology of pain laboratory that studies the peripheral and central mechanisms of chronic musculoskeletal pain. These studies primarily involve the use of animal models of muscle pain developed and characterized in Dr. Sluka's laboratory. Current projects are aimed at deciphering the role of descending facilitation from the medulla in initiating and maintaining chronic muscle pain. These studies are examining the neurotransmitters and receptors that mediate the hyperalgesia associated with musculoskeletal pain using behavioral pharmacology, immunohistochemistry, and in vivo microdialysis.

Kandyce Powell, R.N., M.S.N.
"Many Faces of Pain: Existential Suffering at End of Life"

Kandyce has 30 years professional experience working with end-of-life issues.  Since 1992, she has been the Executive Director of the Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Care in Augusta where her primary responsibilities include educational, technical and advocacy assistance for educators, health care professionals, and policy-makers who are interested in improving the quality of life for the dying and bereaved.  She has been instrumental in developing partnerships to address these issues, and has been a tireless advocate for the underserved.  She is a frequent speaker on topics related to end-of-life care and has been a mentor to many graduate students interested in end of life issues.  Kandyce has received many honors, most recently the  Dr. Mary Chandler Lowell Distinguished Alumni Award for her personal and professional achievements.

Breakout Sessions

Keynote speakers from the morning will offer breakout sessions in the afternoon, giving students a chance to pursue aspects of pain that appeal to their individual interests. Breakout sessions will also be offered by local, national, and university-based presenters.

Library and Media Resources

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