Stanford Pain Chief Honored by NIH

Stanford Pain Chief Honored by NIH

Sean Mackey MD PHD

Sean Mackey, MD, PHD

Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, was awarded the highly prestigious National Institutes of Health Director’s Award in recognition of his leadership role on the National Pain Strategy. Dr. Mackey served as Co-Chair of the Oversight Panel for the National Pain Strategy.

“Dr. Mackey’s tireless efforts in developing the National Pain Strategy and his continued support to move it forward have been invaluable,” said Linda Porter, Ph.D. Policy Advisor for Pain for NIH who served as co-chair with Dr. Mackey. “The future success of the strategy is ensured through the commitment and dedication of many participants and especially through Dr. Mackey’s leadership.”

Dr. Mackey is Chief of Stanford Division of Pain and Immediate Past President of American Academy of Pain Medicine, received the award in Washington on Tuesday (November 17).

“I am tremendously honored to accept this award on behalf of the 80 experts who came together with the mission to improve the well-being of those living with pain,” he said. “This award represents a win for everyone who has or will have pain.”

The National Pain Strategy (NPS)—which is expected to be released in final form in early 2016—is something that Dr. Mackey believes can make a different in how pain is treated.

“The NPS represents a comprehensive plan to improve how to: improve our assessment and care for the person in pain, better educate health care providers, change our reimbursements to pay for what works, break down barriers to reduce disparities in care, and collect data to determine what works,” he told the National Pain Report.

Achieving the goals outlined in the NPS will require the many aspects of the pain community to work together, something Dr. Mackey acknowledges.

“We will need to engage the relevant stakeholders with implementation of the strategic goals, establish accountability for progress, and identify and allocate resources to advance the Strategy,” he said.

Dr. Mackey, Dr. Porter and others who helped craft the NPS believe it can be a game changer in pain.

“Our successful implementation of the National Pain Strategy will alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of Americans with acute, chronic and cancer pain. It will also advance President Obama’s call for Precision Medicine in preventing and treating disease, in this case a disease – chronic pain — that affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. It will transform the education of health care providers about pain that will pay dividends decades into the future by helping them prevent or stop pain.  And finally, it will allow for additional research that is desperately needed to better understand the impact and underlying causes of chronic pain and how to stop it,” Mackey wrote.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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I agree that the National Pain Strategy-which should have been released in the fall-a year after it was created-and over 4 years after it followed the IOM report on pain care in America-left out all too many stakeholders-and especially people in pain. They know other stakeholders who are working on the CDC opioid guidlines were left out of the National Pain Strategy. When Dr Porter was asked if there was enough representation of stakeholders she should have acknowledged that only some special interest groups(allegedly representing all people in pain) were allowed to participate in creating the NPS.
I understand the creators of the NPS want everyone to get with their plan/program- but it is unfortnate they have been adverse to hearing from the many stakeholders in pain care and considering their concerns. No doubt when the NPS is released-those thate were excluded from having a voice in the NPS will resist the plan and things will get very messy once they start to implement the NPS.
It takes more then representatives of institutions to create change and it is unfortunate that NIH believes public opinion doesnt matter when it comes to pain care in America.


The effect on pain patients was considered. But, that does not mean that regulations won’t get tighter. It does not mean that chronic pain patients will have any easier time getting care or their meds. You have to read between the lines. It’s not so much what they say as it is what they don’t say.

The ACA hs a provision for research to improve pain care, but nothing about funding. You also can’t make insurance companies cover non medication forms of pain management.

Kristine (Krissy)

Kerry, I’m with you. Who can answer your questions? What do we know about this?


When Dr. Mackey uses the words “relevant stakeholders” do you know if that includes we, the pain patients? I appreciate the comprehensive scope and the direction of the strategy, but has it thus far involved we who hurt? Have they asked for our input and concerns that we have with the current pain treatment and how we would like it to see changed? When he thanked the 80 experts that came together with him to formulate this strategy, were pain patients a part of that formulation? I sure don’t want to be seen as a downer to this concept but trust for we who suffer with pain, with all of our stories related to injustice and prejudgment is at a real low and confidence in any system is just shaken for us.