As the founder and past chairman of the National Pain Foundation (NPF), I can say that the demise of the American Pain Foundation (APF) is sad news for people living with pain. Although the NPF focused on education and empowerment of those affected by pain, APF had a complementary focus on legislative action — both are sorely needed in the United States.
The number one reason a person seeks medical care is for a pain related problem. It is amazing to me that to this date absolutely no one with financial means has stepped forward to create a formal training program for pain.
If you go to a board-certified internal medicine physician, you pretty much know what the training your health care provider has had to go through; the same could be said if you walked into any board certified neurosurgeon. Not with pain – there are no unified training programs that culminate in a board certification in pain medicine. Yes, there are one-year fellowships. Yes, there are weekend courses to “enhance” a provider’s qualifications, but NOTHING that, over the period of several years, guides men and women to become true practitioners in pain medicine. This is unconscionable in one of the wealthiest of nations.
Both the NPF and APF advocated for these changes – all became enmeshed in the politics that so often dilutes and undermines progressive and essential change. Both were dependent on outside funding to reach their audiences … neither completed the task.
It is definitely a sad day ….