Dr. Robert Kerns Briefs Senators Blumenthal and Murphy Offices on Pain Management Collaboratory

September 4, 2019

The Yale Office of Federal Relations invited NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory (PMC) Steering Committee Chair Robert Kerns, Ph.D., to present on behalf of the Collaboratory in a series of two briefings with staffers from the offices of Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT-D) and Senator Christopher Murphy (CT-D). Dr. Kerns gave an overview of the approximately $81 million initiative designed to conduct pragmatic clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of nonpharmacological approaches to pain management when delivered in VA and DoD health care systems. He spoke of the challenges related to the complexity of such research, and highlighted the importance of the Collaboratory in implementing research in these integrated, learning health systems.

“In the Collaboratory, we are better off than most because we have a lot of experienced investigators who have done this type of work in the DoD and VA so we have a great ability to share best practices, ideas, and innovations for how to make it work,” says Kerns. While partnering across government agencies, and working with multiple sites and multiple trials is complex, the bottom line is that the PMC approach appears to be working, at least in part, due to the unique strengths in the DoD and VA settings that allow for clinical research that isn’t as easy to do elsewhere. Dr. Kerns encouraged more opportunities to foster similar efforts with cross-agency research within the VA and DoD.