Advancing Health Equity in Pain Management
The Research Need
The experience of pain, and the consequences of inadequate pain management, varies widely among individuals and is often affected by sociocultural factors such as systemic bias and discrimination, financial inequality, stigma, and lack of access to healthcare.
About the Program
This program supports research to develop and test evidence-based interventions that target health disparities in pain management as well as social factors affecting substance use and mental health. The research includes multi-level interventions that are scalable, can be sustained long-term, and can be rapidly implemented into healthcare systems.
This research aims to improve patient outcomes in populations that experience health disparities, such as racial/ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities. The research will develop, test, and implement evidence-based interventions that enhance access to pain care as well as address issues such as stigma, bias, and discrimination at the levels of individuals, providers, communities, and systems.
The program will develop culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches, as well as use electronic health records and data analytic approaches to identify systemic disparities and develop appropriate interventions. The program will also develop evidence-based interventions for populations experiencing health disparities who experience pain and other conditions, such as opioid use disorder or other substance use disorders, mental illness, and other chronic health conditions. This research incorporates the lived experience of research participants, focusing on patient-centered, interpersonal approaches that can improve pain outcomes and treatment satisfaction.
Through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, NIH has awarded research grants and administrative supplements for research to identify and validate interventions that help reduce health disparities in pain treatment. These awards are funded by HEAL and administered through multiple NIH Institutes and Centers.
Research examples supported by this program may include:
- Developing and testing interventions for overcoming provider bias in pain management for children from ethnic minorities treated in emergency departments
- Developing and testing a trilingual mobile app combined with a telehealth pain coach and primary care coordination to improve pain management for Black, Chinese, and Hispanic/Latino populations
- Developing and testing a digitally enabled, collaborative, team-based management approach to pain treatment for rural and Hispanic/Latino cancer survivors
- Testing the feasibility and effectiveness of a sustainable, community-supported complementary and integrative health self-management approach for treating back pain in patients from populations that experience health disparities
- Developing and testing an integrative pain management program to reduce pain interference and social isolation in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations with chronic pain
- Children's Research Institute – Washington, D.C.
- Massachusetts General Hospital – Massachusetts
- Mayo Clinic – Minnesota
- University of California, Irvine – California
- University of California, San Francisco – California
- University of Minnesota – Minnesota
Participating NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
- National Eye Institute (NEI)
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
- National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
- National Institute on Aging (NIA)
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Cheryse Sankar, Ph.D.
View Other Research Programs in This Focus Area
- Back Pain Consortium Research Program (BACPAC)
- Discovery and Validation of Biomarkers, Endpoints, and Signatures for Pain Conditions
- Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC Net)
- Integrated Approach to Pain and Opioid Use in Hemodialysis Patients (HOPE)
- Integrative Management of Chronic Pain and OUD for Whole Recovery (IMPOWR)
- Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN)
- PRagmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM)