News Releases

UMSON Collaborating in NIH Designated Center of Excellence in Pain Education

July 10, 2012

Baltimore, Md. –The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is among 11 universities in the nation designated as Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium. The School of Nursing is one of four UMB schools collaborating in the UMB CoEPE, along with the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy, with the goal of developing an interprofessional pain management curriculum resource for health care professionals to advance the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of pain.

According to an NIH statement, “The 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.”

“This prestigious designation is important to our campus because it helps to further solidify and advance interprofessional education and research initiatives related to pain,” says Deborah McGuire, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and School of Nursing faculty leader in the UMB CoEPE. “No one takes care of people with pain alone, so it is imperative that we solve the problem from the interdisciplinary, clinical perspective that is offered by our Center.” 

According to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, each of the 11 CoEPEs is charged with translating current research findings about pain management to fill what have been recognized as gaps in curricula so that clinicians in all fields can work with their patients to make better and safer choices about pain management.

UMB collaborators plan to develop an online integrative foundational curriculum, Interprofessional Foundations and Applications in Pain Management. This resource will provide a shared learning experience for dental, medical, nursing, and pharmacy students in early professional training, although it can also be used for continuing education. Web-based integrative case scenarios will illustrate and reinforce the foundational curriculum which has content common to students from all four disciplines. Patient case histories, representing scenarios that might be encountered by any of these health professionals, will be included.

Other School of Nursing faculty members involved in this initiative are Karen Kaiser, PhD, RN, adjunct associate professor, and Anita Tarzian, PhD, RN, associate professor. Other primary UMB collaborators include co-principal investigator Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE, professor, School of Pharmacy; co-principal investigator Sharon Gordon, DDS, PhD, MPH, director of graduate education, School of Dentistry; and faculty leaders Douglas Ross, MD, PhD, professor, School of  Medicine, and Richard Traub, PhD, professor, School of Pharmacy.

The new CoEPEs were selected by the NIH Pain Consortium after a contract solicitation process and review. UMB was one of more than 50 universities vying for this important designation. The combination of four professional schools was a strong point of the UMB application.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largestnursing schools, and is ranked eleventh nationally. Enrolling more than 1,600 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.