New Project Will Test Interventions for Chronic Pain in Older Adults

Karl Pillemer

Cary Reid, Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Karl Pillemer, Professor of Human Development and Director of Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA) were awarded a grant of $450,000 from the National Institute for Nursing Research. The project, entitled “Taking Community Action against Pain," will conduct a trial of non-pharmaceutical interventions for chronic pain in older persons.

Over the past several years, CITRA has been developing a program of applied research and extension/outreach on the problem of chronic pain in older adults. Chronic pain is a common and costly disorder. Effective, evidence-based treatments in the form of self-management programs have been developed for use in the community, but have been underutilized. Numerous barriers to program use likely exist at the individual, program, and cultural levels. The project will use a community based participatory research approach to identify these barriers, develop and pilot test methods to successfully address the barriers, and then disseminate tools and resources.

Partnering with three senior centers in New York City (each serving a distinct race/ethnicity group), the interdisciplinary team will seek to answer the following key questions: 1) What are the major barriers to adoption of and adherence to an evidence-based pain-reduction protocol by seniors with chronic pain? 2) How can the pain protocol be adapted using a community based participatory research approach to better meet the needs of seniors from three distinct race/ethnicity groups: African American, Hispanic American, and non-Hispanic White Americans? 3) What is the effectiveness of this approach on pain management compared to a conventional chronic pain program?

A number of other activities relating to translational research on chronic pain are underway in CITRA. In addition to Reid and Pillemer, leadership in this area comes from Elaine Wethington, Associate Professor of Human Development and Co-Director of CITRA, and Anthony Ong, Assistant Professor of Human Development.

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Cary Reid,

Karl Pillemer,

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