The University of New Mexico recently was named by the NIH Pain Consortium as one of 11 Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPE). UNM College of Nursing's Robin Meize-Grochowski, professor and Ph.D. program director, is the principal investigator and project director who will oversee the evolving curricula.

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. UNM joins a select group of institutions including University of Washington, UC San Francisco, University of Maryland, Harvard and others with the special designation.

"We're excited about the collaborative approach of this initiative, both within UNM's Health Sciences Center and with the other 10 NIH Centers of Excellence in Pain Education," states Meize-Grochowski. "In addition to our interprofessional team from UNM's colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, and School of Medicine, our proposal was competitive because of our expertise with online delivery of courses and our partnering with UNM's Project ECHO Pain Clinic, which has been designated by the American Pain Society as a Clinical Center of Excellence in Pain Management.

"While Project ECHO's Pain Clinic provides practicing clinicians with evidence-based education resources, the NIH-designated CoEPEs will focus on providing such materials to students in the health sciences. We will draw upon our experts in nursing, pharmacy, geriatrics, integrative medicine, curriculum, technology, and teaching in the development of learning modules and case-based scenarios related to pain management in older adults, our proposed focus for UNM's CoEPE."

Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans, costing up to $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity, and producing immeasurable suffering for people of every age. Yet, pain treatment is not taught extensively in many health professional schools, and clinical approaches can be inconsistent.

The curricula developed by the 11 CoEPEs will advance the assessment, diagnosis, and safe treatment of a wide variety of pain conditions while minimizing the abuse of opioid pain relievers. Types of pain of particular interest to the NIH Pain Consortium are rehabilitation pain, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and headache pain.

In addition, the curricula will teach about the pathophysiology and pharmacology of pain and its treatment, the latest research in complementary and integrative pain management, factors that contribute to both under- and over-prescribing of pain medications, and how pain manifests itself differently by gender, in children, in older adults and in diverse populations.

The new Centers of Excellence in Pain Education selected by the NIH Pain Consortium include:

Ø University of New Mexico

Ø University of Washington

Ø University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Ø Southern Illinois University

Ø University of Rochester

Ø Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Ø University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ø Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine

Ø University of California, San Francisco

Ø University of Maryland, and

Ø University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to Meize-Grochowski, other UNM Health Sciences Center personnel named in the application are Geoff Shuster, DNSc, RN, Emily Haozous, Ph.D., RN, Anne Mattarella, BS, and Alejandro Flores, BS, from the College of Nursing; Melanie Dodd, PharmD, from the College of Pharmacy; Jeannie Boyle, MSN, RN from Project ECHO; Carla J. Herman, M.D., MPH, and Arti Prasad, M.D.; from the School of Medicine; and Deana Richter, MA, from Teacher & Educational Development. Additional content experts from the Health Sciences Center will be involved in the development of the curricular materials.

The NIH Pain Consortium was established to enhance pain research and promote collaboration among researchers across the many NIH Institutes and Centers that have programs and activities addressing pain. Its goals include the development of a comprehensive and forward-thinking pain research agenda for the NIH; to identify key opportunities in pain research within NIH and the scientific community; to increase visibility for pain research; and to pursue the pain research agenda through Public-Private partnerships. For more information on the NIH Pain Consortium, visit For more information on UNM's College of Nursing, visit