Corrections have been made to my previous post
Persistent pain has a prevalence of 1 in 5 of the population
at an annual cost of $1.85 billion per 1 million population.
Does Pain Management Have a Place in American Healthcare?
Pain focused courses foster affective awareness and shape values formation in medical learners.
Yale’s Medical Bulletin, Published: May 16, 2008
New Haven, Conn. — Physicians-in-training learned about an important aspect of patient care — pain management — at a symposium held recently at the Yale School of Medicine.
In recent years, pain has been designated as one of the vital signs indicating a patient’s well-being by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and pain management is being widely accepted as a basic human right. Yet only 3% of the nation’s medical schools, including Yale, currently have a separate course in pain management. [emphasis mine]
As a first step in its efforts to include separate training in pain management as part of its curriculum, the School of Medicine recently hosted the inaugural Yale Multidisciplinary Pain Management Symposium. The event was organized by student Ninani Kombo under the guidance of faculty adviser Dr. Nalini Vadivelu, associate professor of anesthesiology, with support from the medical school’s Offices of Education and of Student Affairs, as well as the Graduate Professional Student Senate.
The symposium featured presentations on “Pain Pathways,” “Clinical Perspectives in Pain Management,” “Interventional Pain Management,” “Psychology and Pain Management” and “Legal Considerations of Pain Management.” The speakers included Vadivelu, Dr. Sam Chung and Dr. Raymond Sinatra of the Department of Anesthesiology; Dr. Michele Johnson of the Department of Interventional Radiology; Layne Goble, a psychologist at the West Haven Veterans Hospital; and Robert Burt, the Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Law at Yale Law School.
Two physicians also brought in patients so the students could talk with them and learn more about their personal experiences and challenges in living with chronic pain. One, who suffers from migraines, is a patient of Dr. Bahman Jabbari, professor of neurology; and the other, who has sickle cell anemia, is a patient of Dr. Thomas Duffy, professor of internal medicine and hematology.
Plans call for the symposium to continue as an annual event, and to be included within the neurology module of the second-year medical curriculum.
“This will continue to be a multidisciplinary pain symposium and in true Yale medical school tradition it will be organized by medical student volunteers,” says Vadivelu, who will continue to serve as faculty adviser for the initiative. “In the near future, the pain management curriculum may be expanded to include didactic case studies in pain management during the third and fourth years of medical school.
“This commitment,” she adds, “makes Yale School of Medicine one of the leaders among U.S. medical schools in formal pain management education.”
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A letter from Yale professors April 2009, to the Editor of the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Vadivelu, Nalini MD; Kombo, Ninani; Hines, Roberta L. MD
To the Editor: Approximately 50 million people in the United States suffer from persistent pain,1 and pain treatment cuts across most medical disciplines. Despite huge strides in understanding pain, there is a major gap between that understanding and pain diagnosis and treatment. In the 21st century, pain management is being accepted as a basic human right.2 Thus, it is even more important to train medical students to be competent in the areas of pain assessment and treatment. However, few physicians graduating from U.S. medical schools have had comprehensive multidisciplinary pain education as part of their medical school curricula. This was shown in an AAMC survey in 2000-2001, which found that only 3% of medical schools had a separate course in pain management in their curricula1; the situation is not much better today. [emphasis mine] Although a free, Internet-based CD-ROM textbook on pain was developed for medical students in 2003 by the American Academy of Pain Medicine, we feel there is an urgent need for formal pain management training within the medical school curriculum.
Pain education in medical schools could be in the form of pain symposiums, pain workshops, lecture series, and clinical rotations in pain management, according to what is available and feasible in each school. Interinstitutional elective rotations in pain management and summer research projects with resulting research publications in pain should also be encouraged. Funding for the latter is available from, for example, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research grants to medical students from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. We at Yale have incorporated formal pain education into our curriculum using a multidisciplinary pain symposium at the second-year level with case studies for third- and fourth-year students.
We believe that medical schools worldwide should establish formal pain management education in each year of their curricula. [emphasis mine] This will enable graduating physicians everywhere to be well equipped to ease their patients’ pain.
Nalini Vadivelu, MD
Associate professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fifth-year medical student, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Roberta L. Hines, MD
Professor and chair, Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
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