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VA Connecticut Healthcare System


VA Connecticut-based program receives funding to promote pain management

June 13, 2013

The Pain Research, Informatics, Medical comorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center located at the West Haven Campus has recently been awarded a five-year grant to promote veteran-centered pain managment and transformations in pain care in the primary care setting.

The PRIME Center was also notified of funding for a major new initiative called "Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformational Excellence" (CREATE) titled, "Enhancing PACT (Patient Aligned Care Team) delivered pain management" that will promote veteran-centered pain management and transformations in pain care in the primary care setting.

Robert D. Kerns, PhD, professor of psychiatry, of neurology, and of psychology at Yale University, is director of the PRIME Center.

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine reported that as many as one-third of all Americans experience persistent pain. The report also noted that veterans are an especially vulnerable group, with a particularly high prevalence for pain, and very high rates of other complex, multiple medical and mental health concerns.

The PRIME Center mission and focused area of research is to study the complex interactions between pain and associated chronic conditions and behavioral health factors to develop and implement effective interventions that can reduce pain, its negative impacts on emotional and physical functioning, and overall disease burden. In addition to its defined focus area, PRIME investigators conduct funded research in the areas of women's health, homelessness, patient preferences, advanced care planning and disability compensation.

The COIN builds on the successes of the existing PRIME Center and will substantially strengthen health services research capacity building efforts at VA Connecticut and its primary affiliate, the Yale University School of Medicine. The COIN will accomplish its mission by employing principles of medical informatics, behavioral science, and health services research.

The pain management CREATE incorporates funding for three major projects - two of which are based in Connecticut. The three CREATE projects will test an alternative pain assessment strategy, examine an integrated, sustainable intervention for providing safe and effective opioid therapy and pain self-management, and construct a prospective cohort/database for examining pain and pain management among veterans with painful musculoskeletal conditions, the most common pain condition.

These projects will serve as a core initiative of the PRIME Center and promise to substantially address key knowledge gaps related to the practice of pain management and deliver sustainable improvements in evidence-based and population level pain care.

The strategic goals of the PRIME Center are to enact a strategic research agenda to advance scientific knowledge and to have a significant impact on improving care for veterans and others with pain and associated chronic disease; foster innovative health services research outside the focused area; establish a strong infrastructure that supports mentoring and career development, including partnered, system-oriented research; and, to promote interdisciplinary, cross-institutional collaborations and research networks in priority areas.

For more information regarding PRIME, contact:
VA Connecticut Healthcare System
Pamela Redmond
Public Affairs Office