Wishing you peace, love and light from the AACIPM family to yours…

Spotlight: CDC’s Chad Helmick Speaks on the Past (and Future) of Pain Policy upon Eve of Retirement

After an illustrious 42-year career, including 240 publications and unparalleled advocacy in pain management, Charles (Chad) G. Helmick III, MD (CAPT, USPHS, RET) is officially retiring from CDC on December 31. It is with bittersweet hearts that we at AACIPM announce his retirement as Senior Medical Officer for the Division of Population Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A friend and ally to those in the pain management community for many decades, Dr. Helmick implemented arthritis and lupus programs at CDC, helped to craft the National Pain Strategy, and participated in the multi-stakeholder collaborative work of the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management.As a champion of encouraging interest in a public health approach to chronic pain, Dr. Helmick will be sorely missed, so we asked him a few questions about his time working with the CDC and what he envisions for the future of pain management policy.

We wish Dr. Helmick all the best in his retirement and look forward to more collaboration into the future!

National Updates

ICYMI: Recent Releases from CMS, FDA, VA, NIA, and AANA

While federal agencies and national organizations have been moving a bit more slowly during December, the month of November brought with it a new Physician Fee Schedule from CMS, FDA authorization of a virtual reality system for chronic pain, mindfulness resources from the VA, a consumer guide on pain from the National Institute on Aging, and updated chronic pain management guidelines from the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology.

Funding Opportunities

NIH Pain Consortium Webinar on Preparing Grant Applications on January 13

The Grant Mechanism Webinar Series from the NIH Pain Consortium will present its next webinar on January 13, 2022 from 3:00-4:00pm ET. This webinar will focus on preparing the application and submitting the grant. Registration for this webinar is required, but free.

Current HEAL Initiative Funding Opportunities related to:

  • Advancing Health Equity & Pain Comorbidities
  • Joint Health and Function
  • Data and Methods to Stem the Opioid Epidemic
  • Biomarkers & Myofascial Pain
  • Preventing Opioid Misuse & Social Determinants

Advancing Health Equity in Pain and Comorbidities has been published as a Notice of Intent by the HEAL Initiative, with an estimated application due date of April 1, 2022. This funding opportunity seeks to identify effective evidence-based interventions that improve multidisciplinary pain care and target common comorbidities for populations that experience health disparities.

Restoring Joint Health and Function to Reduce Pain (RE-JOIN) has been published as a Notice of Intent by the HEAL Initiative, with an estimated application due date of April 29, 2022. This Notice encourages applications from investigators with expertise on joint components and structures, function, neurobiology and computer modeling.

Data and Methods to Address Urgent Needs to Stem the Opioid Epidemic and a corresponding funding opportunity related to Exploratory Data and Methods are accepting applications through March 10, 2022. These opportunities seek to develop new methods, approaches, and tools to apply to existing data streams (e.g., electronic health records, claims data, pharmacy dispensing, etc.) that could provide novel insights into the dynamics of opioid and prescription drugs misuse, addiction, recovery, relapse, and recovery.

Developing Quantitative Imaging and Other Relevant Biomarkers of Myofascial Tissues for Clinical Pain Management is accepting Letters of Intent until January 11, 2022, with full applications due February 12, 2022. This funding opportunity seeks research applications to develop quantitative imaging biomarkers of myofascial tissues and assess their abilities to monitor responses and/or predict outcomes of a variety of pain management regimens. If you are interested in applying, be sure to register for the virtual researchers’ networking session to be held on January 6, 2022 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.

Preventing Opioid Misuse and Co-Occurring Conditions by Intervening on Social Determinants is accepting Letters of Intent until February 2, 2022, with full applications due March 2, 2022. This funding opportunity aims to build an evidence base for multi-level interventions that target malleable factors and conditions affecting the social context. Applications must seek to reduce health inequities in a U.S. population or population subgroup affected by the opioid crisis by studying the effects of a theory driven, multi-level intervention on the prevention of opioid misuse/opioid use disorder and co-occurring conditions.

Message from the Director

As we enter a new year, I look forward to accomplishing more important and collaborative work with many different groups and stakeholders. The coming months will include more activities that will expand upon our shared interests and goals.  Our next newsletter will include a great end-of-year review that highlights the good work accomplished in 2021 with so many of you.

Please reach out anytime to discuss ways we can collaborate around policy, education, communication and more. 

Wishing you peace, love and light from the AACIPM family to yours!

Onward and Upward!

Relevant Reading

Psychosocial Predictors of Pain and Disability Outcomes in People with Chronic Low Back Pain Treated Conservatively by Guideline-Based Intervention: A Systematic Review, Dovepress, December 30

Procedural Pain Management: Clinical Practice Recommendations American Society for Pain Management Nursing, Pain Management Nursing, December 27

Counseling Veterans with Chronic Pain during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial, PubMed, December 27

Oral and Topical Treatment of Painful Diabetic Polyneuropathy: Practice Guideline Update Summary, American Academy of Neurology, December 27

Characteristics of patients who dropped out after multidisciplinary pain management in Japan: A prospective cohort study, Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, December 27

Pain coping skills training un-locks patient-centered pain care during the COVID- 19 lockdown, Pain Management Nursing, December 25

Over Half of People with Multiple Long-Term Conditions Suffer Chronic Pain, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, December 21

Prevalence of chronic pain in LTCs and multimorbidity: A cross-sectional study using UK Biobank, Sage Journals, December 21

How can mindfulness practices help with migraine?, Harvard, December 15

The Expansion Toward Integrative Wellness Approaches in MS Care, HCP Live, December 13

Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for youth with functional abdominal pain: a randomized clinical trial testing differential efficacy by patient subgroup, PAIN, December 2021

Racial trends in prescription opioid use reflect disparities, undertreatment, Medical Xpress, December 7

Getting in Touch With Pain: Feeling emotional and physical pain may help to ease suffering, Psychology Today, December 6

Classism in pain assessment and management: the mediating role of female patient dehumanization and perceived life hardship, PAIN, December 2021

Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for youth with functional abdominal pain: a randomized clinical trial testing differential efficacy by patient subgroup, PAIN, December 2021

The Guilt of Living with Chronic Pain: Questioning the legitimacy of a person’s pain induces guilt and worsens pain, Psychology Today, December 5

How Well Do Current Laboratory Biomarkers Inform Clinical Decision-Making in Chronic Pain Management?, DovePress, December 3

Racial and weight discrimination associations with pain intensity and pain interference in an ethnically diverse sample of adults with obesity: a baseline analysis of the clustered randomized-controlled clinical trial the goals for eating and moving (GEM) study, BMC Public Health, December 2

Probing the Link Between Chronic Pain and Cognitive Impairment, Being Patient, December 2

‘Everything hurts’: Rising number of long COVID sufferers are desperate for answers, The Providence Journal, December 2

Another fight for Covid long-haulers: having their pain acknowledged, Stat, December 2 (NOTE: This one is by Kate Nicholson)


PCORI Board of Governors approves $49.5 million to fund new research studies addressing pain relief, smoking cessation, mental health and other conditions, PR Newswire, December 2

Chronic Pain Patient “Advocates” and Their Focus on Opiophilia: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?, Dovepress, November 30

Disparities in the Treatment of the LGBTQ Population in Chronic Pain Management, Dovepress, November 30

Biopsychosocial Factors Predicting Pain Among Individuals Experiencing the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Pain Manag Nurs, November 17


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