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VA Joins NIH and DoD to Announce Pain Management Research Partnership

November 8, 2017


Through an interagency partnership, the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs announce a research collaboration focusing on non-drug approaches for pain management addressing the needs of service members and military Veterans.

Twelve research projects totaling approximately $81 million over six years will focus on developing, implementing, and testing cost-effective, large-scale, real-world research on non-drug approaches for pain management and related conditions in military and Veteran health care organizations. An emphasis of this NIH-led initiative will be on non-drug approaches including mindfulness/meditation interventions, movement interventions (e.g., structured exercise, tai chi, yoga), manual therapies (e.g., spinal manipulation, massage, acupuncture), psychological and behavioral interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy), and integrative approaches involving more than one intervention. Specific projects conducted at multiple VA medical centers will focus on low back pain treatment, non-drug self-management for chronic pain, and chiropractic care.

Activities will be coordinated by the Pain Management Collaboratory Coordinating Center and led by Drs. Robert Kerns, Cynthia Brandt, and Peter Peduzzi from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University, who will contribute their considerable experience and expertise in pain research, informatics, and pragmatic clinical trials, respectively. Funding is provided by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health with additional funding for individual projects coming from the VA, the Department of Defense and other NIH institutes.

The VA, through its Health Services Research and Development Service is funding a phased pragmatic trial led by Dr. Stephanie Taylor of the HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy at the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical center and Dr. Steven Zeliadt of the HSR&D Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. The study in partnership with the VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation (OPCC&CT) aims to improve the health and satisfaction of Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain at a number of VA Medical Centers by better understanding the effectiveness of five types of evidence-based complementary and integrative health approaches to pain (acupuncture, chiropractic, Tai Chi, mindfulness, and yoga).