The Academy of Integrative Pain Management announced this week that it is closing its doors. The organization, which has existed for 30 years, has been an important voice in promoting an integrated patient-centered approach to dealing with pain including pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.
“This was an incredibly sad and difficult decision,” said Bob Twillman, Ph.D. who served as AIPM’s Executive Director and has been an important voice in advocating for federal and state regulations that impact how chronic pain patients are treated.
Dr. Twillman said there were several factors involved in the decision to shutter the operation, including dramatically reduced support from industry—particularly opioid manufacturers.
In addition, professional associations like AIPM are finding that their legacy members are retiring, and younger professional are not joining organizations or attending big meetings that generally help drive revenue for professional organizations.
Dr. Twillman’s future is unclear but includes a desire to continue to work in the “pain space”, hopes that others will fill the void that the AIPM will leave.
“Our message has never been more relevant than now, especially in light of the opioid crisis,” he said.
As an example of his leadership, Twillman has been a critic of the Oregon Chronic Pain Task Force proposal to force taper Oregon’s Medicaid patients off opioids.
“There is neither little high-quality evidence that patients receiving long-term opioid therapy experience a net benefit if their therapy is tapered involuntarily,” Dr. Twillman told the National Pain Report last year. “I completely support expanding coverage for non-pharmacological treatments for people with chronic pain, but this is not a “both or neither” situation—it is possible to increase that coverage without mandating an opioid taper.”
Many in the pain community were saddened to hear of the decision to close AIRP.
“We are deeply saddened to hear that AIPM is ceasing operations. Over the last 30 years, AIPM and its staff have done so much to support people with pain. Integrative, multidisciplinary care is essential to effectively and safely treating pain. It is truly a loss for the pain community,” said Nicole Hemmenway Interim CEO, U.S. Pain Foundation.
Follow on Twitter: