The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium has selected Southern Illinois University Edwardsville among 11 institutions as designated Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs).  SIUE School of Pharmacy Associate professor Chris Herndon, PharmD., led the grant application.

"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity.” Herndon said. “The subsequent impact on patient care for those in pain, regionally, will be immeasurable."

The CoEPEs will act as hubs for the development, evaluation and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy schools to enhance and improve how health care professionals are taught about pain and its treatment. Twenty institutes, centers and offices at NIH are involved in the consortium.

A number of SIUE faculty members will serve as co-investigators, including Dr. Keith Hecht, Dr. Erin Timpe and Dr. McKenzie Ferguson from the School of Pharmacy; Dr. Kevin Rowland from the SIU School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Carol Wesley from the Department of Social Work in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Michael Neumeister from the SIU School of Medicine. Saint Louis University also is collaborating with SIUE, with Dr. Mary Ann Lavin representing the SLU School of Nursing, and Dr. Ray Tait serving as the co-manager of the CoEPE. He will provide direction on the curriculum development for psychology.

The new Centers of Excellence in Pain Education were selected by the NIH Pain Consortium after a contract solicitation process and review. Other awardees are the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; the University of Rochester, N.Y.; the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston; the University of Alabama at Birmingham; the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine, Philadelphia; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and the University of Pittsburgh.

Chronic pain affects about 100 million Americans, costing up to $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity, and producing immeasurable suffering for people of all ages. Yet, pain treatment is not taught extensively in many health professional schools, and clinical approaches can be inconsistent. Types of pain of particular interest to the NIH Pain Consortium are rehabilitation pain, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain and headache pain.

NIH institutes and centers funding the CoEPEs include the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is coordinating the project; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; the National Institute on Aging; the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research; the Office of Research on Women's Health; and NINDS. Other NIH institutes and centers that are part of the consortium will act as technical advisors to the project. The full list of the consortium members can be found at: