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8 Articles in this Series
Interview with AAPM President Daniel B. Carr, MD
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block Effective and Safe for Postdural Puncture Headache
Women Have More Neck Pain Than Men
Intradiscal Biacuplasty Effectively Treats Discogenic Low Back Pain
Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation Provides Pain Relief for Knee Osteoarthritis
Link Between Atherosclerosis and Degenerative Disc Disease
Bleeding Complications Rare in Interventional Pain Procedures
Spinal Cord Compression Following Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Case Report

Interview with AAPM President Daniel B. Carr, MD

Daniel B. Carr, MD, AAPM, was inaugurated as the President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine during this year's annual meeting, held in Palm Springs, February 18-21, 2016. 

Dr. Carr, who is Program Director of Pain, Research, Education & Policy at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Mass, shared his research and outreach goals for the academy this year with Practical Pain Management.

A clinician and investigator, Dr. Carr has published in pain research, evidence-based medicine, and the social and political aspects of pain relief. “Many of the Academy's members are distinguished researchers. As an organization, we offer them opportunities to disseminate their work through our Annual Scientific Meeting, shared interest groups, and publication in our respected journal, Pain Medicine,” Dr. Carr said.

Dr. Carr added that he has high expectations for the partnership between Pain Medicine, led by its Editor-in-Chief, Mac Gallagher, and Oxford University Press, its new publisher. “Showcasing our members' research through the journal and our Annual Scientific Meeting will encourage younger colleagues to realize their own potential as researchers, with the support of AAPM's Committee on Research.”

The President-Elect said the academy’s outreach activities are “stronger than ever, and include more representatives than any other professional organization in drafting the National Pain Strategy under the leadership of Immediate Past-President Sean Mackey.”

Dr. Carr also credits Dr. Mackey with strengthening ties with pain fellowship directors, as well as current and former military physicians. These practitioners include those interested in acute pain, as well as those who treat chronic pain and related disorders like PTSD in the VA health system, he noted.

“AAPM's active participation in the Pain Care Coalition has kept us abreast of legislative developments and allowed our voice to be heard on Capitol Hill,” Dr. Carr said. “My selection of the public health dimensions of pain and its treatment as a core theme of my presidency provides a framework that unifies and promotes many of these activities.” 

This focus also resonates both with the National Pain Strategy as well as its antecedent document, the 2011 Institute of Medicine report on pain in America. Dr. Carr said that impediments to diversity are a major public health problem in pain management. “I hope to address this issue internally by broadening AAPM's leadership candidate pool, and externally by efforts to assure patient access to appropriate pain care,” he said.

PPM asked Dr. Carr how the academy will handle improving opioid prescribing practices under his tenure, especially in light of the growing opioid-overdose epidemic.

“AAPM has long been a leader in promoting the safe and effective use of opioids within a multidisciplinary, integrated model of pain care,” he said. “Our efforts in opioid safety, championed by Past President Lynn Webster, MD, extend to warnings about the unique risks of methadone. In addition to activities within AAPM, we will continue our work to support organized medicine's efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse.”

Healthcare professionals eager for information on the safer, more effective use of opioids for pain will find many opportunities for learning and discussion at the AAPM annual meeting. Dr. Carr touted work led by Jianguo Cheng, MD, PhD, at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, in which stem cells injected into rats reversed opioid-induced tolerance and hyperalgesia. Though clinical trials are years away, this avenue of research and others like it may pave the way to safer pain relief in the future, he said.

Safer medication use will also inform the Opioid and Non-Opioid Medications Management preconference program, taught by Steven P. Stanos Jr., DO, and W. Michael Hooten, MD, which will expose attendees to a variety of medications and modalities to manage pain and minimize risks. The course imparts vital information with clinical relevance, and is designed to have value for trainees, non-specialist healthcare providers and specialists, and as preparation for American Board of Pain Medicine certification.

The incoming Chair of the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Patrice Harris, MD, MA, chairs its Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, and AAPM has been an active participant, Dr. Carr noted. 

Indeed, Dr. Harris will deliver a plenary talk in Palm Springs: What's Trending in Pain Medicine in 2016: Opioids and Education, moderated by Dr. Carr. “AAPM has also provided, and will continue to provide, testimony and suggestions to help guide other important governmental initiatives under way through the CDC, SAMHSA and FDA,” Dr. Carr said. “That’s to name but a few of the venues, including Congress, in which AAPM's voice is being heard.”

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