100 million American adults live with chronic pain. That's more than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined. According to the Institute of Medicine, the high prevalence of chronic pain suggests that the condition is not being adequately managed. Undertreatment of chronic pain creates large costs to the healthcare system and the U.S. economy; we spend more than $560 billion in the U.S. each year on chronic pain-related healthcare costs. Moreover, chronic pain can carry significant physical and emotional burdens.

The Institute of Medicine has called for a better understanding of the impact of pain in an effort to reduce its toll on the people who suffer from it including the impact on their economic, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Pain Matters seeks to do just that. The documentary explores what chronic pain is, its individual and societal impact, and the future of pain management through the stories and struggles of six individuals living with chronic pain and their loved ones, as well as perspective from leading national experts in pain management. For more information about chronic pain and the documentary, please click here.

Watch the show!

Pain Matters premieres on November 16 and airs again on December 7 and 14.

Expert Contributors

Penney Cowan
Founder and CEO, American Chronic Pain Association

Penney Cowan is the founder and chief executive officer of the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). She is a person with chronic pain and established the ACPA in 1980 to help others living with the condition. The ACPA provides peer support and education in pain management skills to people with pain and their families. The ACPA also works to build awareness about chronic pain among professionals, decision makers and the general public.

Since 1980, Cowan has been an advocate and consumer representative for pain issues. She was awarded the Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen by the Institute for Public Service, Washington, and is listed in Who's Who in America, 24th Edition. The American Pain Society awarded her the 2005 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award and the 2013 Elizabeth Narcessian Award for Outstanding Educational Achievements. Additionally, the American Academy of Pain Medicine awarded her with Presidential Commendation in 2013.

Sean Mackey, MD, PhD
Redlich Professor, Stanford Division of Pain Medicine

President-elect, American Academy of Pain Medicine

Under Dr. Sean Mackey's leadership, researchers at the Stanford Pain Management Center and the Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory (SNAPL) have made major advances in the understanding of chronic pain as a disease, one that fundamentally alters the nervous system. Dr. Mackey has overseen efforts to map the specific brain and spinal cord regions that perceive and process pain, which has led to the development of a multidisciplinary treatment model that translates basic science research into innovative therapies to provide more effective, personalized treatments for patients with chronic pain.

The Stanford Pain Management Center has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Pain Society, under Dr. Mackey's leadership, one of only two centers to receive this honor twice. Dr. Mackey is president-elect of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and in 2012, U.S. News and World Report named him as among the top 1% of pain doctors in the U.S. In 2011, he was a member of the Institutes of Medicine committee that issued the report on Relieving Pain in America. Dr. Mackey has served as principal investigator and investigator for multiple NIH grants to investigate chronic pain and to investigate novel analgesics for acute and chronic pain. Dr. Mackey has published over 70 articles and book chapters.

Dr. Mackey received his BSE and MSE in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and his MD and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona. In 1994, he completed his anesthesia residency and a fellowship in pain medicine at Stanford. Since 2007, Dr. Mackey has served as chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and director of the fellowship program in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine.

Richard Payne, MD
Esther Colliflower Professor of Medicine and Divinity at Duke Divinity School, Duke University

John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics, Center for Practical Bioethics, Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Richard Payne is an internationally renowned author and expert in the areas of pain relief, care for those near death, oncology and neurology. He is board certified in neurology with added qualification in pain medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Payne currently serves on the board of directors of the Hastings Bioethics Center. His many honors include receiving the Humanitarian Award from the Urban Resources Institute and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Pain Society, of which he is past president.

Dr. Payne has given expert testimony to the Congressional Black Caucus National Brain Trust, the U.S. Congress, and the President's Cancer Panel in the area of healthcare access, disparities in cancer care, palliative medicine and end-of-life care. He was recently honored to give the closing benediction for the TEDMED 2013 annual meeting.

Melanie Rosenblatt, MD
Medical Director of Pain Management, North Broward Medical Center

Dr. Rosenblatt is a graduate of Stony Brook University School of Medicine. She completed her anesthesia residency and pain training at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. Dr. Rosenblatt is board certified in anesthesiology, pain management and addiction medicine. She has been practicing in South Florida since 1995 and is currently medical director of pain management at North Broward Medical Center.

Bob Twillman, PhD, FAPM
Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Academy of Pain Management

As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Robert Twillman worked as a clinician in academic medical centers for 20 years prior to joining the American Academy of Pain Management. He has extensive experience in the treatment of chronic pain.

In addition to his work at the Academy, Dr. Twillman oversees the development and operation of the State Pain Policy Advocacy Network, which seeks to improve pain care policies in states. He also makes time to testify at federal advisory committees and congressional briefings as well as at the state level.

Dr. Twillman remains present and engaged in both traditional and social media. He has been quoted in nearly 20 articles in the past two years regarding pain care issues, is highly active on Twitter and has authored numerous blog posts. In fact, Dr. Twillman wrote a blog post for Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring and Pharmacotherapy (PROMPT) founder Dr. Jeffrey Fudin's PainDr blog about the February 2013 FDA advisory committee meetings regarding opioid labelling changes for chronic pain.

Joyce Willens, PhD, RN, BC
President, American Society for Pain Management Nursing

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Villanova University

Joyce Willens, PhD, RN, BC, is the president of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) and an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Villanova University. Dr. Willens is a long-time advocate for pain management with ASPMN. She is the editor of Pain Management Nursing, the official journal of ASPMN. She is also one of two nurses in the nation selected from ASPMN to the Content Expert Panel for the American Nurses Credentialing Center's new certification examination in pain management.

Dr. Willens has authored many chapters on pain management and edited the 1996 AJN Book of the Year titled Pain Management: An Interdisciplinary Approach. She chaired ASPMN's taskforce that completed the role delineation survey defining what pain management nurses do. This study was published in Pain Management Nursing and serves as a basis for test content outline.

Pain Matters was produced by the Discovery Channel in collaboration with seven advocacy organizations, including: American Academy of Pain Management, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Chronic Pain Association, American Pain Society, American Society for Pain Management Nursing, U.S. Pain Foundation and For Grace. Financial support, clinical input and other expertise for Pain Matters was provided by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

August 2014

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