UConn Health, UConn Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and The Jackson Laboratory Announce New Statewide Pain Consortium

UConn Health, UConn Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) have announced the creation of the Connecticut Pain Consortium, a translational pain research and education collaboration which is the first of its kind in the Connecticut medical community.

The Connecticut Pain Consortium will focus on a problem of national importance: the need for fundamental and translational research on the causes and manifestations of pain, pain management, and education about pain and its ramifications.

The Connecticut Pain Consortium will examine this critical medical issue through several specific initiatives:

  • Establishing a portal for pain-related health care data in Connecticut
  • Providing a platform for basic and translational pain research collaborations that helps leverage state and national resources
  • Leveraging research to provide cutting-edge pain management solutions in clinical and population health settings
  • Raising awareness about the many facets of pain, its management, and the many possible related ramifications, such as opioid addiction
  • Developing a curriculum around pain research and management for health care providers

The consortium will be led by Professor Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher, a joint faculty member at UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory, who also serves as Director of the Center for Quantitative Medicine at UConn Health.

“There is a clear need for more basic and translational research on human pain and pain management,” said Laubenbacher. “And, there is a critical unmet need for education and training of providers and patients.  This is a great opportunity to deploy our capabilities in addiction and pain research together with our Connecticut partners in an exciting and much needed state-wide initiative.”

The importance of better understanding and managing pain is not unique to Connecticut. In fact, according to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, approximately 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain, which is more than those affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.

There is also a clear relationship between pain and the national opioid addiction epidemic. In a single year, health care providers write enough opioid prescriptions to give a bottle of these pills to every adult in the United States.

“UConn’s School of Nursing is on the cutting edge of the study and practice of pain management, as the home of the Center for Advancement in Managing Pain,” said Dean Deborah A. Chyun. “This translational collaboration will result in even more opportunities for our nursing students, ensuring they are well prepared to do their part in managing this national crisis.”

The Mayday Fund, which supports innovative projects developed to close the gap between knowledge and practice in the care and treatment of pain, is providing a $55,000 planning grant to the UConn Foundation to launch the consortium.

“This new consortium builds upon strengths already existing in the School of Medicine, with an existing core of faculty focused on pain research,” said Dr. Bruce T. Liang, Dean, UConn School of Medicine. “Thanks to this grant, we believe there will be numerous opportunities for advancement in the study and treatment of pain management.”

Given the broad range of research interests and funding opportunities related to pain, the founders envision selected centers across the University and nearly every UConn school and college — particularly the schools of Dental Medicine and Pharmacy — will join the consortium to build mutually beneficial collaborations.

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