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The Three-headed Monster: Chronic Pain, Opioid Use and Mental Health | Pain Management Conference
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The Three-headed Monster: Chronic Pain, Opioid Use and Mental Health

Faculty: Bob Twillman, PhD

Bob Twillman, Executive Director of AIPM and one of the country’s foremost experts on pain policy, will kick off our Town Hall by describing the overlap between chronic pain, opioid use disorders, and mental health disorders, and how it directly contributes to the epidemic of the misuse of opioids. He’ll explain why there’s no simple answer to this problem, and how simplistic policy solutions can inadvertently exacerbate the others.

Learning Objectives
After completing this educational activity, participants will be better able to:

  1. Outline the extent of the overlap of chronic pain, opioid use disorders, and mental health disorders.
  2. List three key strategies healthcare providers should use to address all three issues with patients in their practices.
  3. Describe how simplistic policy solutions focused on one issue can exacerbate other issues

Town Hall: Tackling the Three-headed Monster: Chronic Pain, Opioid Use and Mental Health
Faculty: Bob Twillman, PhD, Daniel Carr, MD, Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, Vanila Singh, MD, MACM

How can practitioners push toward effective solutions to solve the ongoing opioid crisis? We’re bringing together key pain policy influencers to debate this subject and discuss the challenges of addressing patients’ pain care, substance use disorder treatment, and mental health needs and steps to take to change your practice.

Learning Objectives
After completing this educational activity, participants will be better able to:

  1. Discuss the challenges associated with pain, substance use disorders and mental health disorders
  2. Determine practice change steps and factors

These sessions took place on November 9, 2018 as part of the Global Pain Clinician Summit 2018.

Bob Twillman, PhD,is the executive director for the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. In that capacity, Dr. Twillman is responsible for overseeing federal and state pain policy developments and advocating for those supporting an integrative approach to managing pain. He also serves as chair of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee for the Kansas Board of Pharmacy.  Dr. Twillman received his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles, and maintains a volunteer faculty appointment as clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas. Prior to taking his current position, Dr. Twillman was a full-time faculty member at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he founded and directed the inpatient pain management program and was a co-founder of the hospital’s Palliative Care Team.  He has been actively involved in pain policy through his work with the Alliance of State Pain Initiatives and the American Pain Society for many years.

Dr. Twillman reports that he is a consultant for Millennium Health.


Daniel B. Carr, MD, MA,has a primary appointment in Public Health and secondary appointments in Anesthesiology and Medicine at Tufts Medical School, where he is Founding Director of its program on pain research, education and policy. He has published widely on pain research, evidence-based medicine, and the social and political aspects of pain relief. A past president of the American Pain Society, he has served on multiple advisory and editorial boards including Governor Baker’s Medical Education Working Group on Prescription Drug Misuse, Mass DPH’s Drug Formulary Commission, the US federal National Pain Strategy, and NIH’s Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee. He has participated in the Massachusetts Medical Society’s educational videos on pain and naloxone. Dr. Carr reports that he has nothing to disclose.


Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, is a social entrepreneur and practicing physician. He is the CEO of Concerted Care Group (CCG), a comprehensive opioid treatment program based in Maryland. Prior to CCG, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) where he advocated to protect and improve the Medicaid program and led improvement efforts to streamline Medicaid and make it more customer-centric. Prior to working for Medicaid, he co-founded and sold his software company, Care at Hand, an award-winning predictive analytics platform that used insights of non-medical staff to prevent aging people from being hospitalized. Under his leadership, Care at Hand published several peer-reviewed studies, enabled home and community based service providers to sustain their care transition programs, and saved Medicare and Medicaid over $10 million by preventing hospitalizations. Prior to Care at Hand, he led teams at the World Health Organization, United States Senate, and San Francisco Health Department toward health system strengthening through technology. Dr. Ostrovsky has served on several boards and committees dedicated to interoperability standards, quality improvement and measurement, and innovation including the National Quality Forum, Office of the National Coordinator, and the Commonwealth Fund. Andrey holds a Medical Doctorate and undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Psychology Magna cum Laude from Boston University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Andrey completed his pediatrics residency training in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children's Hospital where he was a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is currently teaching faculty and attending physician at Children's National Medical Center.

Dr. Ostrovsky reports that he has nothing to disclose.


Vanila M. Singh, M.D., MACM, is the Chief Medical Officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Chief Medical Officer serves as the primary medical advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health on the development and implementation of HHS-wide public health policy recommendations. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health includes 11 core public health offices, including the Office of the Surgeon General, 12 advisory committees, and 10 regional offices. Dr. Singh’s portfolio includes issues related to pain medicine, including opioid use and misuse; medical ethics; and public health. For the past 13 years, Dr. Singh has been a clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Board-certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, she specializes in treating patients with complex chronic pain issues. Her practice focuses on regional anesthesia with a specialty in advanced ultrasound- guided procedures for pain management and anesthesia medicine. Dr. Singh has also been active in national medical organizations, serving as the Vice Chair of the National Physicians Council on Health Policy; an editorial board member of the Pain Physician Journal for the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; and a member of the California Medical Association’s (CMA) House of Delegates. She also served on the CMA’s Council on Ethical, Legal and Judicial Affairs, and more recently, as a member of its Subcommittee on Health Information Technology. Dr. Singh was an invited faculty speaker and member of the Scientific Planning Committee for the 2017 national meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia. She is involved in the Santa Clara County Medical Association as Vice President of Professional Conduct.

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About the Global Pain Clinician Summit 2018