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NCCIH Research Blog

Welcoming New Projects and Partners To Address Pain in the Military Population

September 21, 2017


Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Director Emeritus

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

I am proud to announce NIH’s newest interagency research initiative on pain management in military service members and veterans.

NCCIH, lead for this multi-agency initiative called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory, is contributing more than half the funding for these 12 projects to develop, implement, and test nondrug approaches for managing pain and its related conditions in the military and veteran population—including opioid misuse, abuse, and disorder. The total funding for this project will be $81 million over 6 years.

Our co-funders are seven other NIH components, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are excited to collaborate for the first time on this topic with the DoD, and to continue our earlier, fruitful partnerships with the VA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse and several other NIH Institutes and Centers.

The new initiative is modeled on the successful NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory program, which supports pragmatic trials—that is, trials that are “primarily designed to determine the effects of an intervention under the usual conditions in which it will be applied,” in contrast to explanatory trials, which are “primarily designed to determine the effects of an intervention under ideal circumstances” (

The Collaboratory, supported by the NIH Common Fund, has been pioneering a new approach to these trials that involves questions of major public health importance, rapid execution, cross-cutting programs, and research partnerships with health care delivery systems. The ultimate goal is for patients and their health care providers to be able to make decisions based on the best available clinical evidence.

We foresee that knowledge gained from these new projects will extend beyond the military community to millions in the U.S. who are struggling to manage their pain.

I will close with deep thanks to program director Dr. Eve Reider, who effectively led the development of this multi-agency initiative. We are grateful for her persistence and hard work and wish her the best as she takes on a new position later this month as Associate Director of Prevention at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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