Devised in part as a way enhance cross-campus collaboration, thus promoting innovative approaches to dealing with the array of pains experienced by patients, the first symposium of the Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore held December 14 at the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore drew about 50 participants and was regarded as a success.
The event was a joint venture of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and University of Maryland School of Nursing. It drew participants from both of those schools as well as from the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy.
Though they received no credit for attending in the two-plus-hour presentation, those who participated were afforded an opportunity to hear presentations by three world leaders in pain research:
- Jeffrey Mogil, PhD, of McGill University Montreal, Quebec, delivered a talk entitled “Genetic, Cellular and Social Differences in Pain Processing Between the Sexes”
- William Maixner, DDS, PhD, Director of the Regional Center for Neurosensory Disorders Department of Endodontics School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, whose presentation was entitled "Unraveling the Mystery of Persistent Pain Conditions: Implications for Translational Pain Medicine";
- Claire M. Fraser, PhD, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences School of Medicine University of Maryland Baltimore, who spoke on "The Human Microbiome in Health and Disease."
Those who attended were afforded the opportunity to ask questions, which extended the planned two-hour presentation, and also were able to attend a reception afterward where they could compare notes in an informal setting.
In keeping with a key goal of the Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research, the symposium held December 14 was designed to foster an atmosphere to encourage collaboration among participants from the various component schools of the University of Maryland.
Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research was formed to deal with the complex problems associated with treating chronic pain and the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach to devising effective treatments.
The complicated nature of chronic pain was amplified by Dr. Maixner, who characterized it as having a kaleidoscope of contributing factors.
In addition to fostering collaboration, the symposium also had a more basic goal of presenting to participating students detailed information from world leaders in the field of pain research to help the student better understand the causes of and potential ways of dealing with pain.
As of this week, no further such symposia have been planned, but event organizers say they are hoping to put together more such events in the coming months, possibly as often as quarterly.
The Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research is led by co-directors Dr. Susan G. Dorsey of the School of Nursing and Dr. Joel D. Greenspan of the School of Dentistry.
Pictured, from left, are Joel D. Greenspan, Jeffrey Mogil, Claire M. Fraser, William Maixner, and Susan G. Dorsey.