New research network aims to bolster pain research in British Columbia

April 16, 2018

Researchers from around British Columbia are coming together to expand pain research in the province. Today, Pain BC announced the launch of the BC Pain Research Network, which brings together researchers from across the province to connect and collaborate with the aim of improving the lives of the one-in-five British Columbians living with pain.

The network will be a catalyst for new pain research by hosting a series of educational and networking events, creating interdisciplinary research teams, and supporting researchers to successfully compete for larger grants. The network comprises nearly 90 investigators from a range of disciplines, including molecular biology, pharmaceutical sciences, clinical investigations, behavioural and social sciences, humanities, public health and health services delivery.

This network grows out of a partnership between Pain BC and the University of British Columbia, based on a memorandum of understanding signed in February of this year. The initial funding to develop the network was provided through support from UBC’s Research Excellence Clusters initiative and a Planning and Dissemination Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“Pain is far too often unrecognized, ignored, underestimated and inadequately managed,” said Dr. Kenneth Craig, clinical psychologist and professor emeritus in the UBC department of psychology. “There are major personal, family, community and societal costs. We do not understand pain well enough to provide effective control and access to proven strategies is limited. Research will provide the basis for a better understanding and pain control.”

Pain BC, a provincial non-profit aimed at improving the lives of people with chronic pain, will bring the perspectives of people in pain, health care providers and policy makers into the network, to ensure these realities of pain are reflected in research.

“Research is a priority for Pain BC,” said Maria Hudspith, executive director of Pain BC. “We rely on research to address important gaps in our understanding of pain. It helps inform policy and practice and creates hope through the development of new approaches to managing pain. In developing the Network, Pain BC will play a critical role in bringing together people in pain, health care providers, and policy makers with researchers to make a concrete difference in the lives of people in pain.”

“There are excellent pain researchers at UBC and throughout the rest of the province,” said Dr. Brian Cairns, professor in the UBC faculty of pharmaceutical sciences. “However, there has not previously been a coordinated effort to harness their combined expertise to tackle some of the most concerning issues related to pain treatment in BC. The hope is that by facilitating interactions amongst pain researchers in the network and broader engagement of people living with pain, health care providers and policy makers through Pain BC, novel and unique solutions to deal with the epidemic of chronic pain in BC will be generated.”