This month, AACIPM partnered with IM4US and the University of Vermont to offer scholarships to providers caring for the underserved to attend the Integrative Pain Management Conference presented by the Osher Center for Integrative Health at UVM. Through this partnership, we were able to help 35 multidisciplinary practitioners at various stages of their careers to attend this conference. A few of the conference highlights include:

  • A deeply moving presentation from Carmen Green, MD, Dean at CUNY School of Medicine. Dr. Green spoke from her heart about The Genesis of the Unequal Burden of Pain: A Selective Review of Examining Social Inequities and Unheard Voices.
  • A case presentation from the phenomenal team at UVM’s Comprehensive Pain Program, which included the perspective from a current participant, John R. Killacky. We were awed listening to his experience in the program which has given him a feeling of pain relief unlike anything he’s known for many years. Read more in his article in VT Digger.
  • A fireside chat, Building the Case for a Value-Based Approach to Low Back Pain, with Marion Couch, MD, PhD, MBA and Christine Goertz, DC, PhD. Their collective experience from the payor, research and provider realms made for a rich and provocative discussion.
  • Scarlet Soriano, MD, Executive Director, Duke Health and Well-Being, truly dazzled people in her closing presentation on Connecting with Self, about the intersection of science and spirituality. Her unparalleled energy and positivity were next-level and inspiring.
  • An eye-opening presentation by Yoni Ashar, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist, as he talked about New Approaches in Chronic Pain Diagnosis and Treatment: A Pain Reprocessing Therapy Perspective.

In a post-conference survey of scholarship recipients, 100% of currently-practicing health professional respondents reported gaining new tools and insights as a result of attending the conference, and 79% believe that, since attending, their opinion has changed regarding their role in the comprehensive treatment of their patients seeking pain management.

One provider, Mona Flyn, a yoga therapist working in private practice, shared some very exciting feedback with us about the ripple effect of this scholarship:

I just wanted to thank you for this opportunity! I attended this conference in 2021 as a first year doctoral student looking to glean information that would help me in the long run with the community engagement program that I started five years ago, The Yoga ConnectionWe are just over a year as an official 501(c)(3), providing free yoga therapy to immigrant and refugee women. Our greatest challenge is the language barrier, and this summer I am going to create an evidence-based trauma-sensitive training for the teachers. Though the teachers are certified, it will be ideal to provide this layer of training and to include information that incorporates sensitivity to pain. As a yoga therapist for over 30 years and a trauma specialist for over 12 years, I realize the value of mind-body modalities and respect the unique situation of each person – we are always learning, for the sake of serving. 

Another participant, Laura Calascione-Nguyen, NBC-HWC, discussed what changed for her after attending this conference, bringing an important viewpoint to light:

While I am an Allied Health Professional, I am first a patient with lived experience. Knowing how impactful an informed care team has been for me, I was not seeing comprehensive pain programs where clients were located. So, I don’t feel like what I knew “changed” after attending this conference, but I can now point to demonstrated examples as I talk with other patients and providers and try to make an impact in the areas I can influence.

Celebrating for a moment in appreciation of this amazing conference!

In addition to learning about the benefits of team-based and patient-centered care, attendees learned about the options available for billing and reimbursement related to such care. Yolanda Cardenas, a physician working at a Federally Qualified Health Center, who believes that insurance coverage for services and providers for chronic pain management is one of the biggest challenges that she and her patients face, found the conference to be helpful because it helped providers to understand how to bill properly in order to have pain management services covered and reimbursed. Diane Robinson, a Neuropsychologist who directs the Cancer Support Community and implementation of integrative care at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, agreed with Cardenas, finding that the conference provided attendees with information related to billing and staffing for non-pharmaceutical options.

AACIPM values this ongoing collaboration with UVM and IM4US to help grow the integrative care workforce by helping to educate and inspire 35 multidisciplinary professionals around integrative pain management. We look forward to more opportunities to grow the integrative health workforce in response to the needs in all our communities.