Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network


The Research Need 

Patients and clinicians need to know which interventions are most effective for pain management. Effective interventions and management strategies for pain can also reduce reliance on opioids, when appropriate. It is important for pain management approaches to address pain across the continuum from acute to chronic pain associated with disease, as well as pain presenting as a disease itself. 

About the Program 

This program evaluates the effectiveness of a broad range of therapies to guide clinical practice in real-world settings. This broad research effort seeks to improve pain care by enhancing understanding about chronic pain as well as by accelerating and improving pain therapeutics development. Dedicated resource centers optimize and coordinate these collaborative activities. 

The program leverages the infrastructure of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Trial Innovation Network to support clinical trials that compare the effectiveness of existing non-addictive pain therapies as well as existing or novel approaches for pain prevention and management. The program is aligned with the high-priority recommendations of the Federal Pain Research Strategy and supports implementation of the recommendations of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force.  

Program Details

Through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, NIH has awarded grants to institutions for clinical trials, and supplemental awards to institutions to support clinical trials and clinical infrastructure. The awards are administered by multiple NIH Institutes and Centers. The National Center for Advancing Translational Science Trial Innovation Network provides various services, such as study design support, recruitment and retention assistance, community and participant engagement, and the trial data management system.

Research Examples

Research examples supported by this program include:  

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of nonpharmacological treatments for pain, including behavioral interventions delivered by trained providers and through telehealth programs and self-management programs 
  • Studying a broad range of pain conditions, including chronic pain, chronic cancer pain, chronic musculoskeletal pain, perioperative pain, post-Cesarean delivery pain, and knee osteoarthritis 
  • Involving understudied populations, including older adults, adolescents, veterans, people in rural areas, and postpartum women 
  • Combining cognitive behavioral and medication-based treatments to improve patient outcomes (pain relief and function) 
  • Establishing resource centers that optimize the coordination of individual clinical trials and facilitate the dissemination of strategies and best practices for conducting pain clinical trials 

Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network Awards to Support Clinical Trials

  • Johns Hopkins University – Maryland
  • Kaiser Foundation Research Institute – California
  • New York University School of Medicine – New York
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital – Washington
  • University of New Mexico – New Mexico
  • Wake Forest – North Carolina 

Pain Management Effective Research Network Supplemental Awards to Support Clinical Trials

  • George Washington University – District of Columbia
  • Wake Forest NCORP Research Base – North Carolina

NCATS Trial Innovation Network Supplemental Awards to Support Clinical Trial Infrastructure, Recruitment, and Community and Participant Engagement

  • Duke University – North Carolina
  • Johns Hopkins University – Maryland
  • Tufts University – Massachusetts 
  • University of Utah – Utah
  • Vanderbilt University – Tennessee

Funded Projects

Wake Forest NCORP Research Base
Oct 11, 2021
Increasing Participant Diversity in a 'Sequenced-Strategy to Improve Outcomes in People with Knee Osteoarthritis Pain (SKOAP)
Sep 25, 2021
Optimizing the use of ketamine to reduce chronic postsurgical pain
Sep 25, 2021
Developing and Implementing a Culturally Appropriate Non-Opioid Pain Coping Skills Training Intervention for Spanish-Speaking Hispanic/Latinx Patients with Cancer Pain
Sep 25, 2021
A sequenced-strategy for improving outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis pain
Sep 25, 2021

Closed Funding Opportunities

HEAL Initiative: Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network: Clinical Trial Planning and Implementation Cooperative Agreement (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Required)
Jan 21, 2020
Emergency Awards: HEAL Initiative-Limited Competition: HEAL Initiative Resource Centers for the Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (ERN) (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jan 19, 2022