Advancing clinical research on pain management is a core goal of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®. The NIH HEAL Initiative will support both new clinical trial programs and the expansion of existing programs to evaluate the safety and efficacy of innovative therapies for pain management. These clinical trials will help establish evidence-based guidelines for treating pain with non-opioid therapies to reduce use of prescription opioid medications.

Research Programs

In conjunction with the Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net), the Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program will conduct studies to better understand common pain conditions, such as chronic low back pain; improve methods to characterize pain; and develop improved diagnostic and treatment tools for pain. NIH will also support research to identify, prioritize, and test therapies based on a detailed analysis of the nature and cause of back pain in individual patients.  

HEAL is providing awards granting experienced researchers more time to mentor junior investigators in clinical pain research, to help prepare them for an independent research career and enhance the pipeline of researchers equipped to provide novel pain management solutions into the future.

The Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN) will provide infrastructure to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials designed to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies for a broad array of acute and chronic pain conditions. The ERN will help provide critical information for optimal pain management in clinical settings.

The Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) program supports clinical research to integrate evidence-based interventions for pain into the health care system. Studies will take place in real-world settings to determine the effectiveness of multiple therapies to address pain conditions.  

The Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) seeks to enhance the treatment of acute and chronic pain and reduce reliance on opioids by establishing a network for early-phase clinical trials of non-addictive treatments for pain. EPPIC-Net is made up of more than 12 specialized clinical centers, each of which has multiple sites, and two centers to support infrastructure.

Research in the IMPOWR network will develop and test combined interventions such as psychotherapy, medications for opioid use disorder, exercise, and pain self-management in specific healthcare system settings.

The Hemodialysis Opioid Prescription Effort consortium will support an integrated approach to pain and opioid use in hemodialysis patients. Large amounts of opioids for pain are typically prescribed for the hemodialysis patient population. This consortium will support studies to develop and test the combination of various non-opioid treatment approaches with this population.

Research from the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program will form a comprehensive data set that can be used to help predict which patients will recover from acute pain associated with surgery or injury and which ones will develop long-lasting chronic pain. This information will help guide approaches to pain management.

Funded Projects

2021
EPPIC-NET DCC
Oct 11, 2021
2021
Improving Diversity, Inclusion, and Retention in BackinAction/AcuOA
Oct 11, 2021
2021
REACH Participant Diversity Program
Oct 11, 2021
2021
Wake Forest NCORP Research Base
Oct 11, 2021
2021
Improving representation of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic study participants in a trial of virtual reality for chronic lower back pain
Oct 11, 2021

Open Funding Opportunities

2021
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for HEAL Initiative: Advancing Health Equity in Pain and Comorbidities (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Required) [SUBMISSION AND EXPIRATION DATE ARE ESTIMATED]
Dec 14, 2021
2021
HEAL Initiative: Developing Quantitative Imaging and Other Relevant Biomarkers of Myofascial Tissues for Clinical Pain Management (R61/R33, Clinical Trial Required)
Nov 16, 2021
2022
HEAL Initiative: Coordinating Center for National Pain Scientists Career Development (R24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jan 10, 2022
2022
HEAL Initiative: National K12 Clinical Pain Career Development Program (K12 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jan 10, 2022
2021
NIH HEAL Initiative: Preventing Opioid Misuse and Co-Occurring Conditions by Intervening on Social Determinants (R01 Clinical Trials Optional)
Nov 16, 2021

Closed Funding Opportunities

2019
HEAL Initiative: Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network - Specialized Clinical Centers (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Sep 25, 2019

Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

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National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. Grants & Funding. NIH's central resource for grants and funding information.

Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

This highly collaborative research program will be composed of mechanistic research centers and technology sites that will conduct translational research and phase 2 clinical trials to deliver an integrated model of back pain and patient-based algorithms to facilitate the identification of treatments tailored to the individual patient.

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NIH. National Institutes of Health

NIH research program to explore the transition from acute to chronic pain

The National Institutes of Health has launched the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures (A2CPS) program to investigate the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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