Medical Schools Failing at Pain Education

Medical Schools Failing at Pain Education

Pain education in the United States and Canada is “lackluster” and unaddressed by the vast majority of medical schools, according to aJournal of Pain study. And unless steps are taken to improve the training of physicians who treat pain, researchers warn “the crisis in pain care and resultant deaths from opioid abuse will only spiral upwards.”

The study of 117 U.S. and Canadian medical schools found that less than 4% had a required course in pain and only one in six schools offered a pain elective. A large number of U.S. medical schools do not have any pain courses and many of those that do have less than five hours of classes. What’s more, many topics in the International Association for the Study of Pain’s core curriculum receive little or no coverage.

“Pain takes a very backseat course,” says Dr. Daniel Bennett, a Denver pain physician who is the Chief Medical Officer of American News Report. “Most discussions in medical school are about internal medicine or surgery or some other structural component with very little attention paid to pain. Universities don’t have the funds to fund it. Outside sources have not come in to say we’re willing to fund this. It’s a very short term view from both industry and universities.”

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