UCSF pain center named center of excellence by national society

By Kristen Bole

Pamela Pierce Palmer, MD, PhD -----

The UCSF Pain Management Center and UCSF Pain Center for Advanced Research and Education have been honored jointly as one of six centers of excellence nationwide by the American Pain Society. They are the only award recipients located west of the Mississippi.

APS announced the recipients of its first Clinical Centers of Excellence in Pain Management Awards today (April 12).  The honor recognizes outstanding pain care programs in the United States, and the recipients will receive their awards during the APS annual scientific conference in Washington, DC, May 2-5.

The UCSF programs were recognized for outstanding clinical pain care offered to patients and efforts in creating pain management education programs for busy practitioners.

“These awards honor pain care teams for overcoming difficult challenges every day to deliver optimal and exemplary care for those with both chronic and short-term pain disorders,” said APS President Judith Paice, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the cancer pain program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. “It is deeply gratifying to see such outstanding outcomes being achieved by multidisciplinary pain care teams nationwide.”

More than 90 healthcare organizations competed for the honor. Recipients were selected by a panel of prominent pain management experts for their forward-thinking approaches to addressing critical needs in pain management in their communities.
“We don’t want to be the people in the ivory tower,” said Pamela Pierce Palmer, MD, PhD, director of the UCSF Pain Center for Advanced Research and Education, known as PainCARE.  “Our goal is to strengthen knowledge about pain and pain management at the clinical level, as well as to provide top-quality multidisciplinary pain care to our patients.”
UCSF pain management practitioners treat more than 10,000 patients each year for a wide range of pain conditions, according to David Lee, MD, medical director of the Pain Management Center. Of these, 70 percent are seen for chronic, non-cancer pain.

“We treat the most challenging cases, many referred by other hospitals and private clinics,” Lee said. “We often have success because we see these difficult syndromes more frequently and have access to cutting edge discoveries from UCSF’s multiple pain research labs and clinical programs.”

Both Palmer and Lee also cited the important role that education plays in this process. UCSF has a pain management fellowship program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and Pain Center faculty have developed patient care policies and education programs for use at UCSF and beyond, teaching everywhere from community-based clinics to international conferences.

PainCARE has partnered with UCSF Mount Zion Medical Center since 2003 to present the “Challenges of Managing Pain Symposia,” and now also broadcasts these programs to hospitals throughout northern California. PainCARE also launched UCSF’s international, online postgraduate certificate program in 2004. The program, which was developed in collaboration with the universities of Sydney and Edinburgh, is the only intensive, online pain management education initiative of its kind in the U.S.

The five other winners of the centers of excellence award are: New York University Medical Center Hospital for Joint Diseases; Rosomoff Comprehensive Pain Center, Miami; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; and James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tampa.

In addition, three other West Coast pain centers were among eight facilities to receive “honorable mention” awards from the pain society. They are: UC Davis, Division of Pain Medicine, Sacramento; UC San Diego Center for Pain Medicine; and the Oregon Health & Science University Pediatric Pain Management Center, Portland.

The UCSF Pain Management Center and PainCARE are based in the UCSF School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care. UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

Based in Glenview, Ill., APS is a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering. Founded in 1978, the society has approximately 3,200 members.

The APS Clinical Centers of Excellence in Pain Management Program is made possible through the support of Endo Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, Cephalon, King Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Pfizer.

Contact Chuck Weber at (847) 705-1802 or [email protected]