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NCCIH Research Blog

NCCIH blogs about research developments related to complementary health practices. Check in regularly to keep up with the latest findings.

May 13, 2022

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Director

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Pain is a complex experience that involves both the body and the brain and often coexists with other health or medical conditions. A whole person health approach to pain management represents a new paradigm in thinking and developing effective treatment strategies. It is central to our understanding of the multiple interconnected factors that influence both pain and its management. 

This year’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium Annual Symposium on Advances in Pain Research will focus on “Pain Management Through the Lens of Whole Person Health,” and it will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2. The symposium features an excellent program with a diverse group of speakers and panelists who will apply a whole person perspective to pain conditions along the spectrum of translational science, from the biological basis to multicomponent interventions and treatment that will ultimately improve patient outcomes. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) are the lead NIH Institute and Center to plan and organize this year’s event on behalf of the NIH Pain Consortium. I have the great honor of serving as a lead chair for the symposium, along with my co-chair Melissa Ghim, Ph.D., at NIDCR. We highly encourage you to register for this symposium and look forward to your participation on June 1 and 2! 

Highlights of the Symposium Agenda

Our keynote speakers for the symposium will be

  • Tracy Gaudet, M.D., who will speak on “Transforming Healthcare to Whole Health: What Can It Mean for Pain Management?” 
  • Ruth Wolever, Ph.D., of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Vanderbilt, who will speak on “The Value of Deconstructing Experience To Discover the Whole Person”

Expert panel sessions will focus on

  • The complexity of pain and the interplay of comorbidities
  • Integration of whole person tools and approaches
  • Implementation of whole person approaches to pain management

The program will also include prerecorded presentations by early career investigators, a patient perspective, and the presentation of the annual Mitchell Max Award for Research Excellence. 

View the full agenda of the symposium. 

Featured NCCIH-Related Speakers at the Symposium 

Helene M. Langevin, M.D., director of NCCIH, will open the second day of the symposium; Lauren Atlas, Ph.D., chief of the Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain in the NCCIH Division of Intramural Research (DIR), and NCCIH grantee Mark Jensen, Ph.D., of the University of Washington will participate in the panel on integration of whole person tools and approaches; Misha Backonja, M.D., acting clinical director in the NCCIH DIR, will facilitate the final panel discussion; I will deliver the introductory presentation for the Mitchell Max award; and two NCCIH early career grantees will make presentations at the junior investigator sessions.  

Register Now!

This event is free and will be held in an all-virtual format. Registration will remain open until the event reaches capacity. You must register in advance. Information on how to join the symposium will be shared with registered participants.

Pain Management Through the Lens of Whole Person Health
June 1 and 2, 2022
11:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. ET
View the agenda and register


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