NEWS | April 12, 2010

UC Davis Pain Medicine Program recognized with national Clinical Centers of Excellence Award


UC Davis Health System’s Division of Pain Medicine has been designated as a Clinical Center of Excellence by the American Pain Society.  The award, which provides a three-year designation, recognizes quality pain-care programs that offer outstanding treatments and therapies for patients suffering from chronic pain disorders and acute pain after surgery or trauma, as well for people in palliative care settings who face pain from cancer and other terminal conditions.

The Division of Pain Medicine offers comprehensive and collaborative patient care, extensive education, innovative research and a strong commitment to patient advocacy and to improving public policy. Known for taking on the most difficult cases of acute, cancer-related and chronic pain in adults and children, the UC Davis pain-treatment specialists work with patients and their primary-care clinicians and referring physicians to provide vital continuity of care for individuals coping with chronic pain. They also emphasize education and training for health-care providers at all levels to increase awareness about the variety of pain treatment options.

“Being designated as a center of excellence is the highest recognition that a pain center can receive nationally, and it is a particularly special achievement because our program was one of the earliest academic centers to incorporate clinicians from all disciplines and clinical services to fully address the pain-care needs of patients,” said Scott Fishman, professor and chief of the UC Davis Division of Pain Medicine. “We’ve achieved successful outcomes for patients because our clinical pain-relief team approaches each case from a very diverse and experienced perspective.”

The division’s specialists encompass clinical disciplines ranging from internal medicine, anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation to psychiatry, addiction medicine, pediatric pain, and hospice and palliative care. The UC Davis pain management team also includes specialists in radiology, psychology, pharmacology, bioethics and meditation- based stress reduction.

“Our view is that most effective pain management is treatment and care that increases function, decreases pain and ultimately enables our patients to regain control of their lives,” added Fishman. “That is our definition of success, and it is something we strive for in every case.”

Established in 2006, the American Pain Society’s Clinical Centers of Excellence program showcases progressive teams of health professionals who address critical, and sometimes unmet, needs in pain management within their communities. A hallmark of excellence among pain programs is success in helping patients to improve function and quality of life, according to Charles Inturrisi, a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and president of the American Pain Society.  
“The awards honor pain care teams for delivering optimal and exemplary care for those with myriad chronic-pain disorders, post-surgical pain, trauma-induced pain and pain from cancer and other life-threatening conditions,” said Inturrisi. “By treating the whole person, not just the pain, award recipients like the UC Davis Division of Pain Medicine prove every day that integrated, multidisciplinary pain care yields the best long-term outcomes, medically, psychologically and socially.”

UC Davis Health System is an integrated, academic health system encompassing UC Davis School of Medicine, the 613-bed acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center, the 800-member physician group known as UC Davis Medical Group, and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.