Supporting Research in Pain Management for Veterans and Military Service Members
Supporting Research in Pain Management for Veterans and Military Service Members


This second paper in a 3-part series on antiracism in pain research across the translational spectrum focuses on study design factors.

The COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us and people with pain may feel particularly anxious. Managing physical and emotional aspects of pain is difficult under normal circumstances, and veterans and military service members and their families may feel particularly vulnerable due to the many new physical and emotional challenges brought on, or heightened, by the pandemic.

Discussing Whole Health Team vs. Primary Care Group Education to Promote Non-Pharmacological Strategies to Improve Pain, Functioning and Quality of Life in Veterans

An overview of considerations for covariate-related methodological, statistical and analytical issues, and some additional considerations to studying pain management options…

Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink, VHA National Program Director for Pain Management discusses the need to assure access and quality of pain care services, and the research that is going into it.  Drs. Lauren Hollrah, PsyD and Aram Mardian, MD aim to clear up the confusion around the criteria for DSM-5 diagnosis of Opioid User Disorder with an Education Corner piece.  While the VA offers many programs to foster human connections and support, Dr. Heidi Klingbeil, talks about how happier people feel better, and while that sounds easy enough, she encourages physicians to assess the patient as a whole person and develop evaluation skills that are not simply a check off item on a template.  Other topics in the newsletter address studies and papers tackling pain management.

As part of it’s Whole Health model, the VA has established the following six points for safe and effective pain care.

Building on extensive, well-established NIH research, the initiative is a trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

In this trial, we will determine the effect of a novel, nonpharmacologic analgesic technique—percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS)—on postoperative analgesia and opioid requirements, as well as physical and emotional functioning, the development of chronic pain, and ongoing quality of life.

Principal Investigator:
Brian Ilfeld, MD, MS

The core objective of our Stakeholder Engagement Work Group is to develop respectful and productive partnerships that will maximize our ability to generate trustworthy, internally valid findings directly relevant to veterans and military service members with pain, front-line primary care clinicians and health care teams, and health system leaders. The Work Group will provide the forum within which these stakeholders can bring their different perspectives and expertise to develop and enact a comprehensive, evidence-based, and stakeholder-informed approach to address previously identified organizational, clinician, and patient-level barriers to access, engagement and participation in pragmatic clinical trials of non-pharmacological approaches for the management of chronic pain and to optimize the VA and DoD as learning health care systems.