Debilitating — it’s a word commonly used to characterize the signs and symptoms of individuals struggling with acute or chronic pain.
More people suffer from pain than all other diseases combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 50 million adults suffer from chronic pain in the United States. This can significantly impact quality of life.
It’s important for patients discharged from emergency departments to have adequate education and instructions on appropriate pain management options, especially on nonopioid and nonpharmacologic methods. The University of Florida Pain Assessment and Management Initiative, or PAMI, acts as a resource for individuals who need assistance at a vulnerable time in their health. PAMI has made significant contributions to pain management research and treatment, with a mission to advance innovation and safety in pain education, patient care and research.
“The patient’s first pain experience often starts in an ED. This experience will shape how they handle pain in the future,” said Phyllis Hendry, MD, a professor of emergency medicine and associate chair for emergency medicine research at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Hendry founded the PAMI program along with co-founder Sophia Sheikh, MD, an associate professor in the department of emergency medicine. Sheikh is also the medical director of the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center – Jacksonville at UF Health Jacksonville.
Established in 2014, PAMI is housed under the research division of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. What makes this program work effectively is its multidisciplinary approach, with various collaborating departments, programs and colleges.
- UF College of Pharmacy
- Department of Anesthesiology (UF COMJ)
- Department of Surgery, Acute Care Surgery (UF COMJ)
- UF Health Jacksonville Information Technology
- Quality Management, Pharmacy, Nursing, Rehabilitative Services, Palliative Care and others.
“As an institution, our collective goal is stopping the transition of acute to chronic pain if possible and to give patients multidisciplinary tools and options,” said Hendry. “We still have a lot of work to do but it has been a great team collaboration across the campus and the state.”
Throughout the life of the program, PAMI investigators have acquired more than $6 million in funding from federal grants, university seed grants and private foundations.
The program has captured the attention of health care professionals worldwide, who seek its invaluable resources for patient and clinical education in addition to research. To date, PAMI has produced 37 publications and nearly 100 invited national and international presentations and posters to educate other health care professionals and leaders.
Currently, PAMI has seven ongoing pain-related research studies, with more than 1,200 participants enrolled. These studies are led by Dr. Sheikh.
“All of these studies, whether basic research-, patient safety- or education-focused, will improve the future of pain management for our patients and our health care professionals by improving our understanding of pain and decreasing dependence on opioids and unhealthy life choices,” Sheikh said.