BOX 1-1
Committee Charge

The Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, has requested that the IOM convene the ad hoc committee to address the current state of the science with respect to pain research, care, and education; and explore approaches to advance the field.

Specifically, the committee will

  • Review and quantify the public health significance of pain, including the adequacy of assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and chronic pain in the United States. This effort will take a comprehensive view of chronic pain as a biological, biobehavioral, and societal condition.
  • Identify barriers to appropriate pain care and strategies to reduce such barriers, including exploring the importance of individualized approaches to diagnosis and treatment of pain.
  • Identify demographic groups and special populations, including older adults, individuals with co-morbidities, and cognitive impairment, that may be disparately undertreated for pain, and discuss related research needs, barriers particularly associated with these demographic groups, and opportunities to reduce such barriers.
  • Identify and discuss what scientific tools and technologies are available, what strategies can be employed to enhance training of pain researchers, and what interdisciplinary research approaches will be necessary in the short and long term to advance basic, translational, and clinical pain research and improve the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of pain.
  • Discuss opportunities for public–private partnerships in the support and conduct of pain research, care, and education.

to help focus research and policy directives on a variety of dimensions of pain. The report does not present a clinical algorithm for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with pain. Rather, it describes the scope of the problem of pain and provides an overview of needs for care, education, and research. The committee strongly believes that an adequate understanding of pain and its effects on people’s lives must take into account the testimony of those who have experienced chronic pain. Therefore, it solicited advice and information from people with pain and their advocates both in person and through an active web portal, which received more than 2,000 submissions. The committee’s recommendations are based on scientific evidence, on this wealth of direct testimony, and on the expert judgment of its members (see Appendix A for a discussion of the data sources and methods for this study). Underlying principles that guided the committee in preparing this report and its recommendations are presented in Box 1-2.

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