2016 Pain Consortium Symposium

2016 Pain Consortium Symposium

Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director, NIDA presents the Mitchell Max Award for Best Junior Investigator Presentation Dr. Joseph Ditre of Syracuse UniversityThe 2016 NIH Pain Consortium Symposium was a fantastic meeting, and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this annual gathering. It is one of many ways in which the NIH Pain Consortium works to enhance pain research and promote collaboration among researchers across the many NIH Institutes and Centers that have programs and activities addressing pain. The symposium highlighted the important work being done in the field of pain, with amazing progress demonstrated in the science that was presented. The meeting focused on translational pain research, including lessons learned, best animal models, and a number of interesting discoveries and new technologies. 

Beyond research, these meetings gather people around posters to engage in scientific discussion, and thus serve an important networking function. They enable interactions between new and early stage investigators, and leaders in the field. At the symposium, junior investigators Dr. Matt Sapio from the NIH Clinical Center, Dr. Jenny Wilkerson from Virginia Commonwealth University, and Dr. Joseph Ditre from Syracuse University, the Mitchell Max awardee, delivered strikingly clear presentations of their work. Developing breakthrough therapies for chronic pain is a long, hard route that will unfold as a relay race, with many generations of researchers involved in shared discovery.

The ultimate goal of the research is to alleviate pain and suffering for many millions of affected people worldwide. In order to facilitate the development of new treatments for pain, we need partnerships between NIH, other federal agencies, the community, and teams of scientists. We also need to work with industry, to help move promising new treatments to patients. We at the NIH Institutes and Centers that comprise the Pain Consortium are grateful to the symposium participants who took the time to share their science, especially at this moment when we are entering a planning phase aimed at developing the first ever Federal Pain Research Strategy (FPRS). The FPRS will include recommendations in key pain research areas to advance the field, with the ultimate goal of relieving pain and improving pain care through evidence-based studies. This plan is the work of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, with support from the NIH Office of Pain Policy and in conjunction with members of the NIH Pain Consortium, experts from academia, and NIH’s federal partners involved in pain research. I extend my gratitude to this group for taking on the FPRS.

I am also grateful to Dr. Linda Porter and her Office of Pain Policy, the NIH Pain Consortium Executive Committee, and our NIH intramural pain research community, especially Dr. Catherine Bushnell, the Scientific Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, for being key drivers of these collective efforts. I encourage you to mark your calendars with the date for next year’s annual Pain Consortium Symposium, which will occur May 31- June 1, 2017, in NIH’s Natcher Auditorium.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016