UF Pain Assessment and Management Initiative receives funding to continue pain education

The University of Florida Pain Assessment and Management Initiative, or PAMI, has received an Alvin E. Smith Safety of Health Care Services Grant from the Florida Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association. This $999,000 award will continue the PAMI mission of advancing innovation and safety in pain education, patient care and research.

The program is housed in the division of emergency medicine research on the UF Health Jacksonville campus but includes a multidisciplinary team of specialists from the University of Florida Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, as well as the health system itself. The award will allow for the expansion of a first-of-its-kind pain coach education and integrative patient pain management toolkit model in addition to research studies focusing on pain health disparities and pharmacogenomics.

PAMI focuses on patients with acute and chronic pain including special populations such as emergency, geriatric, trauma, and postoperative patients and those with complex pain conditions or at risk for substance abuse. The program works collaboratively with a patient’s health care team and caregivers.

“I am proud of the work our PAMI team has accomplished since its inception in 2014 to inform health care professionals and patients alike about multimodal pain management and alternatives to opioids,” said Phyllis Hendry, M.D., a professor and associate chair for research in the department of emergency medicine and PAMI primary investigator. “Our inaugural pain coach education program is a unique offering that started in January 2021 and has successfully completed more than 1,000 coaching sessions and provided more than 1,700 resource toolkits to give patients additional options to manage pain at home. Utilization and patient follow-up survey feedback has been very positive.”

Untreated pain affects all aspects of health and can reduce overall quality of life. Each patient is different and needs a unique pain management recipe that may include medications but also other beneficial options. There are many barriers to providing integrative pain management options such as time for education and lack of resources. PAMI helps to address barriers by staffing pain coach educators within the hospital setting to provide bedside patient education on low-cost options such as aromatherapy, virtual reality, breathing exercises, pain journaling, hot/cold therapy, over-the-counter medications and other therapies.

“Our emergency medicine physicians and staff are appreciative of PAMI resources to better equip our patients with the knowledge and tools they desperately need to help manage their own pain in a positive manner,” said Steven Godwin, M.D., FACEP, a professor of emergency medicine and chair of the department of emergency medicine. “This program is a great example of multispecialty team work on our campus. We know this program will continue to expand and be an asset to our hospital, community, and providers across the state of Florida.”

Established by Phyllis Hendry, M.D. and Sophia Sheikh, M.D., an associate professor of emergency medicine, medical toxicologist and medical director of the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center – Jacksonville, the PAMI program has grown to include four distinct programs, multiple research studies and numerous free access educational resources related to pain management.

The PAMI project includes a multidisciplinary team of experts and stakeholders including the Florida Hospital Association, Florida College of Emergency Physicians and Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists.