Expert Available: Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, president of the American Pain Society

Newswise — Funding for pain research remains at disproportionately low levels despite overwhelming evidence that untreated and undertreated chronic pain is the costing the nation more than $600 billion a year in medical costs and lost work time, and is expected to soar even higher as the population continues to age.

Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, is president of the American Pain Society and an outspoken advocate for increased public and private funding support for basic science and clinical pain research.

Currently, pain research accounts for only about 1 percent of research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a huge disparity given the imbalanced proportion of U.S. health care expenditures attributed to pain.

“The best hope for achieving significant advances in pain prevention and treatment is through directing a more appropriate level of funding for pain research grants that will translate advances in pain science into relief for patients,” Fillingim said in remarks at the APS annual scientific conference. “Given the funding cutbacks in Washington, it is time to align and shift biomedical research funding priorities more closely with the most serious unmet medical needs in our society, and improving treatment for chronic pain is at the top of the list.”

Dr. Fillingim is available to speak with journalists interested in the future of pain research, its most promising areas of study, and why investments in biomedical research must be increased to bring new discoveries closer to yielding effective treatments.

Dr. Fillingim is professor, College of Dentistry and director, Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence at the University of Florida. He maintains an active research program investigating ethnic and gender differences in pain and response to medications, examining predictors of risk for development of chronic orofacial pain, and exploring genetic contributions to pain sensitivity, analgesic responses, and chronic pain risk. He has received numerous grants from the NIH, has published more than 150 scientific articles and book chapters, and has edited three books on pain and authored one.

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