Message from the Chair: Join Us at #ASRAFall23, an Exploration of Precision Pain Medicine

Aug 1, 2023, 05:30 AM by Alexios Carayannopoulos, DO, MPH, DABPMR, FAAOE, FFSMB

Cite as: Carayannopoulos A. Message from the chair: Join us at #ASRAFall23, an exploration of precision pain medicine. ASRA Pain Medicine News 2023;48.

On behalf of the ASRA Pain Medicine 2023 Fall Meeting Program Committee, I am excited to welcome you to New Orleans. The theme of #ASRAFall23 is “Precision Pain Medicine,” which will explore opportunities to predict, prevent, and more consistently and successfully treat pain given the variability of individual responses to even the most-efficacious pain treatments. ASRA Pain Medicine is leading the way in focusing our community on a more individualized approach to pain management to relieve the global burden of pain.

An aspirational goal of precision pain medicine would include incorporation of empirically based algorithms that determine the optimal treatments, or treatment combinations, for specific patients (ie, targeting the right treatment, in the right dose, to the right patient, at the right time). Answering this question of "what works for whom and when" will certainly improve the clinical care of patients with pain. It may also support the success of novel drug developments for pain.

#ASRAFall23 will explore opportunities and medical advancements that we can no longer shy away from, including the role of artificial intelligence and virtual reality using computational modeling, EEG, interoceptive processing, and other data analysis techniques. We will examine how the interplay of these technical advancements may enhance the precision of our current pain treatment options and will demonstrate how pain providers working collaboratively with scientists, engineers, rehabilitation specialists, innovators, and industry will improve outcomes and the way we deliver care.

As our community learns from our past and looks towards the time ahead, I cannot think of a better place to hold our meeting than New Orleans, Louisiana, a city trying to find balance by preserving its rich history while securing its future. We will hold our 22nd ASRA Pain Medicine Annual Pain Medicine Meeting in New Orleans, November 10-11, 2023.

New Orleans is world-renowned for its distinctive music, Creole cuisine, and unique dialects as well as its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city has been described as the "most unique" in the United States due in large part to its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. Our meeting site will be the New Orleans Marriott located on NOLA's Canal Street between the French Quarter, the historic heart of the city, and the Warehouse District.

Our Core Values are Integrity, Innovation, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Service, Compassion, and Wellness. Our vision is to relieve the global burden of pain.

The meeting will bring together more than 1,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, device developers, and healthcare providers from around the globe to share evidence-based knowledge about basic, translational, and clinical research; emerging technologies; and global health care trends to improve skills, outcomes, and access to patient care. We have planned a dynamic selection of plenary sessions that include oral presentations, panel discussions, oral abstract presentations, and poster sessions, covering the basic science, mechanisms of action, and clinical effectiveness of pain diagnostics and therapeutics.

We know that you are busy and need education and networking time in a concise format. This is particularly true for those of us giving up valuable patient care time to attend our annual meetings. For this reason, we’re kicking off this year’s meeting on Friday with a focus on key topics and hands-on learning while still allowing plenty of time for networking and partnering with industry sponsors in the exhibit hall. We are committed to giving everyone a practical and education-packed extended weekend that will leave you inspired and excited to return to your patients back home.

Interactive sessions will cover practice management and technical advancements in interventional pain as well as the latest in regenerative medicine. Two days of workshops will be led by esteemed international faculty, featuring our highly rated hands-on ultrasound and fluoroscopy sessions that use live models and cadavers and cover a range of pain topics.

We appreciate that it takes a multidisciplinary team to care for our patients, so as always, we welcome PAs, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurses with a full-day track of sessions on Friday. Plus, don’t miss our Problem-Based Learning Discussion lunch offerings where you can select from a variety of hot topics and join discussions moderated by leading experts. This year’s program includes topics ranging from collaborating with lawyers and consulting with industry to using cannabis, treating cancer pain, and much more.

We especially value the participation and contributions of our next generation of practitioners as well. Residents and fellows will find plenty of opportunities for networking with seasoned pros.

Meeting Outline

The main meeting starts on Friday when we will offer refresher courses to highlight the theme of our meeting. Each session will be led and moderated by an internationally known plenary speaker. The first course entitled “Precision Pain Medicine: Imaging, Biomarkers, Cognition” will be led by Frederike Petzschner, PhD, from the Brown University Carney Institute of Brain Science, who will speak on “Predicting Pain.” Our second course entitled “Advancements in Spine Care” will be led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, from University of California, Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education, who will speak on “Digital Technology and Virtual Reality for Lower Back Pain.” Our third course entitled “New Science in Neuromodulation” will be led by Vania Apkarian, PhD, from the Northwestern University Center for Translational Research, who will speak on “Brain Mechanisms of Chronic Pain and the Critical Role of the Translational Approach.” These courses will be followed by a good old-fashioned debate, featuring some of the stars of our pain community collegially sparring over hot topics in pain medicine.

On Saturday, we will offer two clinical tracts in the main meeting to appeal to a broad audience. We are honored to bring in Mike Joyner, MD, from the Mayo Clinic, whose research focuses on the human response to various forms of physical and mental stress experienced during activities such as exercise, hypoxia, standing, and blood loss. He will lead the morning by speaking on “Optimizing Human Performance” to kick off a session entitled “Health and Vitality in Chronic Pain.” We hope this session will not only lend insight into optimizing pain management by addressing the lifestyle habits of your patients but will also provide the care team with ideas on how to optimize their own health to enhance their daily performance at work and at home. This session will be followed by sessions focusing on the precision use of radiofrequency ablation as well as advances in the treatment of chronic cancer pain. 

Our second track includes topics on management of transitional and chronic musculoskeletal pain, which will be rounded out with a neuromodulation symposium focusing on the latest advances in engineering and the use of electricity as a therapeutic.

Next will be a special event entitled, “Excellence in ASRA Pain Medicine Awards and Recognition,” which will feature ASRA’s best research, including the Presidential Scholar Award, the FASRA recipient, and finally the John J. Bonica Award. Our 2023 John J. Bonica Award recipient is David Julius, PhD, from University of California, San Francisco, who was the joint recipient with Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. These laureates discovered receptors for temperature and touch by identifying critical missing links in understanding the complex interplay between our senses and the environment.These breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities, which have led to a rapid increase in our understanding of how the nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli. 

On Thursday, prior to the main meeting, we are very proud to sponsor a select group of pain medicine fellows to the full day, internally funded “ASRA Pain Medicine Fellow’s Course.” This course will coincide with the half day “Medical Educator Master Class,” which was designed in close collaboration with leaders of the Association of Pain Program Directors. This course will include sessions entitled, “Successful Fellows and Harmonious Work-Life Balance” and “Teaching Techniques for the Educator.'' We will bring together pain educators to update their knowledge, ensuring our society and pain community will be led by the brightest minds.

As always, we welcome a diverse and inclusive array of scientific abstracts and ePosters, which give all attendees an opportunity to get involved and share the latest research findings.

We promise incredible networking opportunities to convey knowledge from multiple disciplines about current practice, future developments, and solutions for advanced pain management, and we can’t wait to share this exciting program with you. 

Alexios Carayannopoulos, DO, MPH, DABPMR, FAAOE, FFSMB, is the department chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rhode Island Hospital, Newport Hospital, and Lifespan Physician Group. He is also the medical director of rehabilitation services at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, as well as a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School.
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