About Pain relief center

The UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief leverages the vast expertise of scholars and scientists in medicine, nursing and other health-science disciplines, to discover and deliver the knowledge and tools to effectively help people manage pain and improve their quality of life.

The high cost of pain

It may seem like we live in a world where safe pain relief is a priority – but it is not. A 2011 Institute of Medicine report found that nearly 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain at a cost of $635 billion per year. Yet funding for research to understand and treat pain lags far behind the mounting expenditures from people, providers, health insurers and health systems. More fundamentally, although pain is the most common reason a person seeks help from a clinician, pain is only minimally taught in our schools and training programs for these professionals.

Leaders at the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief are committed to breaking down silos with the bold mission of transforming pain care. The center leverages several converging streams of thought: the high-profile public debate on pain relief, the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, the need for health education reform, the charge to develop balanced policy that supports public health and safety, the power of multifaceted research initiatives and the drive toward value-based clinical care.

Relieving pain through education

Understanding and treating pain intrinsically involves integrating disparate areas of science, humanities, policy, healthcare and more. However our institutions for higher learning and health gravitate to silos and fragmentation. A high priority of work is to reduce the fragmentation that severely impairs academic advances in understanding and treating pain and integrate efforts to reduce pain across all aspects of its diverse academic system.

The center is led by Scott Fishman, a physician and professor of anesthesiology and chief of the UC Davis Division of Pain Medicine, and Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing at UC Davis and founding dean for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Fishman is a recognized leader in pain education and policy. Young is a nurse leader, educator and scientist and a nationally-recognized expert in interprofessional education and partnership building. In 2011, they partnered to develop core competencies for pain that are reforming pain education across all health professions.

2016 promises to be a big year for the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief. An inaugural campus-wide symposium will start the conversation among those across UC Davis working to advance pain relief, facilitated by the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and include other programs, schools and colleges, such as the School of Veterinary Medicine and College of Biological Sciences. Leaders endeavor to begin uniting forces across all of the University of California health campuses to identify UC Health Pain Champions. Through the connection of UC scholars from all walks of health care and those who share the goal of relieving suffering, begins a UC-wide transformation to leverage the country’s largest academic health system to lead the way in the goal of safe and effective pain relief.

Ultimately, the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief will void the notion that pain must either be endured or treated with risks that threaten everyone’s safety and well-being. Although much progress has been made, the teamwork of scholars, clinicians, educators and experts is an absolute requirement for discovering and delivering the knowledge and tools necessary to match health care’s success in expanding quantity of life with a focus on person-centered care that places the individual at the heart of treatment and improves his or her quality of life.