New Certificate Program Recognizes Expertise in Interventional Pain and MSK Ultrasound

Feb 17, 2016

ASRA will offer a new certificate in Interventional Pain and MSK Ultrasound to qualified physicians beginning in 2017.

The ASRA Board recently approved the development of the certificate, which will enable physicians to document skills and training in this highly specialized field of pain management. A committee will convene to develop the certificate program, which will require candidates to complete a written and practical exam as well as provide evidence of prior training and experience. 


“The certificate helps ensure that a practitioner is properly trained not only in the technical skills but the also in the judgment and communication skills that are essential to these procedures.” — Philip Peng, MBBS, FRCPC, Founder (Pain Medicine)


Ultrasound-guided pain procedures and musculoskeletal (MSK) injections require a high level of skill and experience in order to be safely administered. Sonography images are subject to individual interpretation depending on one’s experiences and training, and there is no formal training on Interventional Pain and MSK ultrasound during residency and fellowship. As a result, most physicians learn the techniques through hands-on workshops and online educational activities. There is increasing pressure from payers, employers, and the public to ensure physicians are competent and well trained.

"As a leader in providing high-quality, scientifically based training in these areas, it was natural for ASRA to move in this direction," said Board member Samer Narouze, MD, PhD, who has championed the program's development.

Philip Peng, MBBS, FRCPC, Founder (Pain Medicine), co-developer and ASRA faculty member, said the certificate reflects more than just technical proficiency.

“ASRA educational programs are well-respected, and the quality is well known in the field,” Peng said. “The certificate helps ensure that a practitioner is properly trained not only in the technical skills but the also in the judgment and communication skills that are essential to these procedures.”

Planners intend to unveil the certificate to the first class of potential candidates in spring 2017, with the first examination administration coinciding with the Pain and MSK Ultrasound Cadaver Course offered annually at the Northwestern Center for Advanced Surgical Education in Chicago. 

A volunteer committee will establish a set of requirements to identify qualifying CME courses to fulfill that portion of the eligibility requirements. The committee is working closely with the planning team for the 2016 Pain and MSK Ultrasound Cadaver Course to ensure that it qualifies for those interested in pursuing the certificate in 2017. The 2016 course is scheduled for June 25-26, 2016, in Chicago.