Connecting the Dots at the International Congress in Phoenix

AACIPM participated in its first International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2022, held in Phoenix, Arizona, May 23-26.  This Congress was convened by the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health.

Robert Bonakdar, MD, FAAFP, FACN, Director of Pain Management, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and Amy Goldstein, MSW, Director, AACIPM, organized this session along with esteemed panelists: Ben Kligler MD MPH, Darshan Mehta MD MPH, Christine Goertz DC PhD, Trevor Luntz PT PhD MPH, and Nicole Golding MD FAAPMR CHCQM. 

Our session was standing room only, as we presented on the topic, a Multi-Stakeholder Discussion about Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management.  There is never enough time to discuss and address questions, but it was clear the topic inspired a great deal of interest. We look forward to future educational offerings to keep connecting these important dots with people with pain, payors, providers and policymakers. Speaking of connecting, see our photo from the Lovell Foundation meet-up below…

National Updates

NIH Pain Consortium Symposium to Highlight Whole Person Health Approach for Pain Management on June 1st and 2nd

This year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium Annual Symposium on Advances in Pain Research will focus on “Pain Management Through the Lens of Whole Person Health.”

The program’s diverse group of speakers and panelists will apply a whole person perspective to pain conditions along the spectrum of translational science, from the biological basis to multicomponent interventions and treatment that will ultimately improve patient outcomes. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) are leading the 17th annual symposium.

The program features:

  • Keynotes from Tracy Gaudet, MD, who will speak on “Transforming Healthcare to Whole Health: What Can It Mean for Pain Management?” and from Ruth Wolever, PhD, of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Vanderbilt, who will speak on “The Value of Deconstructing Experience to Discover the Whole Person.”
  • Panel sessions that will focus on: the complexity of pain and comorbidities; integration of whole person tools and approaches; and, implementation of whole person approaches to pain management.

The symposium will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2. The public is welcome to attend, though registration is necessary. Registration, which is free, will remain open until the symposium reaches capacity.

CMS Releases Updated Behavioral Health Strategy with Focus on Pain Care

CMS recently published an updated Behavioral Health Strategy that outlines five major goals related to access to prevention and treatment services for substance use disorders, mental health services, crisis intervention and pain care, and enabling care that is well-coordinated and effectively integrated. According to CMS, the Strategy seeks to remove barriers to care and services, to adopt a data-informed approach to evaluate our behavioral health programs and policies, and to support a person’s whole emotional and mental well-being and promotes person-centered behavioral health care.

Ensuring effective pain treatment and management is the third goal listed within the Strategy, with CMS stating that it strives to:

  • Improve the care experience for individuals with acute and chronic pain to identify strategic opportunities for enhanced access to high quality, equitable, affordable whole-person care.
  • Expand access to evidence-based treatments for acute and chronic pain, including through guidance to states, exploration of new coverage pathways, and sharing practices that ensure individualized, effective care.
  • Increase coordination between primary and specialty care through payment episodes, incentives, and care and payment models.
  • Expand workforce capacity and capability including options for training residents and clinicians in the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic pain.

AHRQ Releases New Systematic Review on Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain

In light of information contained in three surveillance reports that have been compiled since April 2020, AHRQ has released an update of its systematic review on Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain. The report shares a number of key findings, including that, at short-term follow-up, evidence showed no differences between opioids versus non-opioid medications in improved pain, function, mental health status, sleep, or depression.

This review is a part of AHRQ’s larger collection on treatments for chronic pain, which also includes Nonopioid Pharmacologic Treatments for Chronic Pain and Noninvasive Nonpharmacologic Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review Update. Each report is being updated with three literature searches completed since the reports were originally posted—the opioid review has completed it’s third literature search and is now complete.

CDC Releases Resources for Understanding and Treating Sickle Cell Disease

CDC has developed an extensive and resource-heavy webpage to help providers better understand and treat the many symptoms and complications of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). As pain is the most common complication of SCD, and the top reason people with SCD go to the emergency department or hospital, the resources include opioid information for SCD patients, a daily pain tracking sheet, and information about pain in the emergency room or hospital setting. The website also discusses when pain may indicate a more severe problem, such as blood clots, avascular necrosis, dactylitis, leg ulcers, liver problems, and more.

Virtual Summer Camp for Teens Living with Pain Accepting Registrations

Creative Healing for Youth in Pain (CHYP) will be holding their third annual Virtual Summer Camp for teens (ages 13-18) during the weeks of July 11th and 18th. Teenagers living with pain are invited to join CHYP for fun group activities led by guest artists and social time with peers who understand. Virtual Summer Camp is held via half days on Zoom so that teens may attend from the comfort of their own homes.

The cost for this two-week summer camp is $250. To secure a spot, please register by July 1st by emailing

Thank you Lovell Foundation

It was delightful and inspiring to spend an evening with the Lovell Foundation at the International Congress meeting (see first spotlight above) to reconnect with other grant awardees and meet some for the first time. As Lovell Foundation is moving to sunset, there is so much opportunity to connect the dots to help keep this important work lasting and sustainable into the future.

Group picture from Lovell Foundation meetup at International Congress May 2022


NCCIH Requests Information on Determinants for Whole Person Health

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is soliciting public comment as it seeks to define a set of key determinants of health that address factors that can influence health either positively or negatively, and that encompass the full continuum of biological, behavioral, social, and environmental domains (such as age, genetic predisposition, sleep, environmental exposure, etc.).

NCCIH is limiting its request to no more than 20 determinants to ensure a list sufficiently comprehensive to capture the key elements of whole person health, yet succinct enough to be manageable in terms of any eventual development/deployment of a CDE-based measurement tool. This list could ultimately be used to identify a set of common data elements to be used in either research or patient care.

Responses to this Request for Information are due by June 17, 2022.

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Message from the Director

It was fantastic to attend my first large in-person meeting since COVID in Phoenix, Arizona (see more in the newsletter about the International Congress and Lovell Foundation’s meet up). As I hear many colleagues share from the podium, there was something so special about sharing space again. Although the foundation of AACIPM is around connecting stakeholders and we do this daily, there was so much that was achieved with face-to-face discussions in just a few days.

I was also reminded of the deep importance of ensuring the person with pain remains at the center of our work, and that we recognize that when different stakeholders come together around a shared interest, the results are more than the sum of their parts. More exciting resources coming your way soon. 

Onward and Upward!


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