AACIPM acts as a connector, even between staff at Health & Human Services (HHS) agencies, who tell us they appreciate being kept abreast of what each specific agency is doing as it relates to pain care. This section is intended to help synthesize HHS highlights, and we welcome your feedback for future updates.


The first entry in this newsletter includes information about AHRQ’s review on Integrated Pain Management. This review is part of a wider effort that includes Improving Pain Management in the Context of America’s Opioid and Substance Use Disorders Crisis.

CMS has commissioned AHRQ to undertake three topic briefs and two systematic reviews to inform Medicare coverage and payment for treatment of acute and chronic pain. The work was done in support of the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Study, section 6086 of the SUPPORT Act.

NIH HEAL Initiative

Investigator Meeting and Research Spotlight

The Second Annual NIH HEAL Initiative Investigator Meeting was held in May 2021. This meeting convened more than 500 NIH HEAL Initiative awardees, federal officials, people with lived experience, and other stakeholders to share research findings, explore trends and shared interests, and identify opportunities to advance the goals of taking on the pain and opioid crises from all angles. Topics of discussion included innovative technology-based therapies for pain management; community-based integrated solutions for prevention, overdose, and medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder; and a variety of new approaches for managing pain. See videos and takeaways from this event.

NIH Heal Initiative Research Spotlight: Electronic Health Record Systems Let Patients Choose Complementary and Integrative Pain Treatments

Excerpt: “Complementary and integrative health approaches can be effective treatments for pain. But while these approaches – like chiropractic care, meditation, massage, relaxation, tai chi, and yoga – have been shown to alleviate some types of pain, doctors don’t always know how to provide them to their patients. This is particularly true after major surgery.”

NIH Pain Consortium

Webinar Series on Grants for Pain Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium is holding a webinar series (July 2021-March 2022) on the types of grants available for pain research for investigators at different stages of their careers.

To view video recordings of past webinars in this series, visit the NIH Pain Consortium website. To register for upcoming webinars, use the link below.

NIH Center for Complementary & Integrative Health

NCCIH – What is Whole Health?

Excerpt from NCCIH site – “Whole person health involves looking at the whole person—not just separate organs or body systems—and considering multiple factors that promote either health or disease. It means helping and empowering individuals, families, communities, and populations to improve their health in multiple interconnected biological, behavioral, social, and environmental areas. Instead of treating a specific disease, whole person health focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience, and preventing diseases across a lifespan.”

Trans-NIH Workshop in July on Pain Management in Sickle Cell Disease

June 22, 2021
Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.
Della White, Ph.D.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will lead a virtual, trans–National Institutes of Health (NIH) workshop on July 21–22, 2021 on “Approaches to Effective Therapeutic Management of Pain for People with Sickle Cell Disease.”

If you’re a scientist in the field, a researcher who is currently outside the sickle cell disease (SCD) field but interested in the 

topic, a health care provider, or an interested member of the public, we invite you to attend. Registration is required, and there is no charge. 

This workshop will be livestreamed and archived.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public workshop on June 7-8, entitled ‘‘Morphine Milligram Equivalents: Current Applications and Knowledge Gaps, Research Opportunities, and Future Directions.’’ The purpose of the workshop is to bring stakeholders together to discuss the scientific basis of morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) with the goals of providing an understanding of the science and data underlying existing MME calculations for opioid analgesics, discussing the gaps in these data, and discussing future directions to refine and improve the scientific basis of MME applications.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Related to this topic above from FDA, two of AACIPM Advisory Committee members, Kate Nicholson, JD, and Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, are on the CDC’s workgroup that is currently looking at modifications to the 2016 CDC Guidelines for Opioid Use for Chronic Pain.

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control will discuss the Opioid Workgroup’s report on the updated guideline on July 16, 2021 from 10 AM-4:50 PM EST. You may now register for the upcoming meeting. Topics for discussion include an overview of the process and progress for updating the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids and discussion of the BSC Opioid Workgroup’s report of the draft Guideline.