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Virtual pain care skills training features 28 workshops, Simon Sinek

Image of Dr. Christopher Spevak, an anesthesiologist and pain physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland will lead their Annual Virtual Pain Care Skills Training. Dr. Christopher Spevak, an anesthesiologist and pain physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland will lead their Annual Virtual Pain Care Skills Training. (U.S. Army photo by Harvey Duze)

The National Capital Region (NCR) Pain Initiative at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Maryland will host the 11th Annual Pain Care Skills Training from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2.

“This is the largest pain military training in the country,” said Dr. Christopher Spevak, an anesthesiologist and pain physician who leads the NCR’s Capital Region Pain Initiative and Tele-Pain Program. “We attract physicians, social workers, pharmacists and others involved in pain management from throughout the Military Health System. We’ve also received requests from other domestic and international military physicians to attend.”

Spevak and Amy Osik, senior program manager for the NCR Pain Initiative and Tele-Pain Program, explained how attendees from all over the world will be able to attend the event virtually. The goal is for providers and members of the health care team to learn more about optimizing care and integrative approaches to pain management.

Spevak noted the training occurs at the beginning Pain Awareness Month, observed during September when organizations worldwide work to raise awareness of how pain affects individuals, families, communities and the nation. This training supports this goal.

“We really give attendees what they need in terms of practical information and useable skills,” Spevak explained. In addition to plenary sessions, the training includes interactive, case-based workshops focused on pain and pain management. He added a highlight of the event is a plenary session during which patients share their stories.

Virtual plenary sessions kick off the training Aug. 31.

British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek will be the guest speaker for the Dr. Anita Hickey Memorial Lecture. Sinek will discuss ‘The Infinite Game, Finding Fulfillment Everyday’.

Hickey, namesake for the event’s keynote presentation, was a retired Navy captain who served 28 years in uniform as a pain physician. After her retirement, Hickey continued to serve as a pain management/anesthesia physician at Naval Medical Center San Diego in California. Prior to her death in 2019, Hickey authored numerous articles and book chapters on topics including pain management, post-traumatic stress disorder and acupuncture.

She also authored the book, “Pain Is Not What It Seems: The Guide to Understanding and Healing from Chronic Pain and Suffering.”

Spevak explained how Sinek was chosen as guest speaker for the Hickey lecture because he is well-known by military leadership. His books are quoted by senior military leaders from all services, and he’s known for addressing issues regarding wellness and fulfillment.

“This is something we’re focusing on – the wellness of our health-care teams to better serve our patients,” said Spevak.

Other speakers for the event’s plenary sessions include Ruth Clark, a dietitian from the Defense Health Agency’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland, who will discuss “Optimizing Nutrition to Maximize Health Potential.”

Dr. Ilene Robeck, a pain physician who worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs, is slated to address “COVID and Pain,” and Dr. Wayne Jonas, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and practicing family physician in integrative health and health-care delivery, will discuss “Healing in the Time of COVID.”

Patients who had COVID-19 discuss their experiences, capping off the plenary sessions, which will be followed by virtual workshops.

“There will be 28 different workshops,” Osik said. Some of the workshop topics include: Train the Trainer battlefield acupuncture; nursing for pain; occupational therapy for pain; culture, ethnicity, race and pain; diet and chronic pain and headaches; pain pharmacology; art therapy for pain; therapeutic movement; functional medicine for pain; regenerative medicine; gender, sex and pain; and COVID-19 and pain.

Osik said the aim each year in selecting workshops is to include the biopsychosocial model related to pain and pain management modalities. The biopsychosocial model is an inter-disciplinary model that looks at the interconnection between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors in care, in relations to pain and pain management regarding the training.

“We really try to cover workshops topics that pertain to behavioral, physical, integrative, medication related modalities, as well as workshops that include procedural modalities for pain,” Spevak said.

The sessions will be available on Aug. 31, by visiting:

http://www.youreventinfo.org/2021PainCareSkillsTraining/Index.html, and scrolling down to ‘Plenary Sessions’.

Participants in the 11th Annual Pain Care Skills Training can earn four CME/CNE credits, upon completion. Participants will need to submit a CME sign-in sheet and questionnaire to DHA NSA Bethesda WRNMMC Mailbox Pain Skills Training: dha.bethesda.wrnmmc.mbx.pain-skills-training@mail.mil

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