UF physicians receive patient safety grant to offer online pain training for emergency care providers

Physicians and researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville are using a state patient-safety grant to develop free training and resources for emergency providers.

The Pain Assessment and Management Initiative (PAMI): A Patient Safety Project is being developed to advance pain recognition and treatment in acute-care settings, with the aim of improving patient safety and reducing risk during emergencies. The project is funded by a $694,000 grant from the Florida Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association.

Statistics show that pain is the most common reason people seek health care and as a presenting complaint, accounts for 78 percent of visits to the emergency department. On top of that, a survey of pain medicine leaders suggests that pain education is needed in key areas such as assessment, communication, prescribing, opioids, pain neurobiology and non-pharmacologic treatments. Fewer than 5 percent of medical schools have a required pain curriculum.

“Providers from all disciplines could benefit from pain recognition and management education, especially since inadequate treatment of acute pain can lead to chronic pain and drug dependence,” said Phyllis Hendry, MD, principal investigator for the PAMI project and professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

The PAMI project and website will provide free continuing education credits, online learning modules, late-breaking pain news, and downloadable resources such as dosing cards, case scenarios, videos and model discharge instructions. This online option removes costs that are often associated with conventional, in-person courses, such as registration fees and travel expenses and will be available for physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners and others.

Modules will include the basics of pain, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of pain, acute and chronic pain management, procedural sedation, prehospital pain management, and pain in special populations such as pediatric and elderly patients. All modules and materials will highlight patient safety and risk management aspects of treating pain in emergency and acute care settings.

The PAMI project includes a multidisciplinary team of experts and stakeholders including the American Pain Society, Florida Hospital Association, Florida College of Emergency Physicians, and the Florida Society for Health Care Risk Management and Patient Safety.

Colleen Kalynych, EdD, director of emergency medicine research and educational development, and assistant professors Sophia Sheikh, MD, and Lisa Jacobson, MD, are among the other emergency medicine faculty involved with PAMI at UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

For more information about the project, contact Megan Curtis, PAMI project manager, at or 904-244-8617. The PAMI website will be launched in May 2015 on the UF College of Medicine website.

Featured Faculty

Phyllis L. Hendry, MD, FAAP, FACEP

Phyllis L. Hendry, MD, FAAP, FACEP

Associate Chair of Research

Colleen J. Kalynych, EdD

Colleen J. Kalynych, EdD

Senior Lecturer
Assistant Dean for Medical Education