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Pain is one of the most common reasons patients present to clinics, yet pediatricians receive little to no pain education in medical training, said Elisha E. Peterson, M.D., M.Ed., FASA, FAAP.
“Chronic pain in children is increasing, and the health care expenditure of chronic pain is more than asthma and obesity combined,” said Dr. Peterson, director of chronic pain at Children’s National Hospital and assistant professor of anesthesiology, pain and perioperative medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
She divides her time between care of children in the operating room and those who present to the clinic with acute and/or chronic pain.
With few pediatric pain specialists in the country, Dr. Peterson said it is critical that health care providers know how to approach and characterize pain.
Pediatricians can improve their knowledge by attending “Taking the Pain out of Pain Management.” The session will be held from 9-10 a.m. PDT Sunday Oct. 9 (S3222) in room 161 of the convention center and from 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT Monday, Oct. 10 (S4515) in rooms 255-257.5.
Attendees will learn what pain is, how chronic pain differs from acute pain, vulnerabilities to develop chronic pain, how to discuss chronic pain with families and five ways to treat chronic pain.
Dr. Peterson, a member of the AAP Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, first became interested in chronic pain while taking care of children in the operating room.
“I wanted to have a longitudinal relationship that continued out of the perioperative setting,” she said.
Dr. Peterson also speaks and writes on the importance of improving the quality of care of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) populations in the U.S. and educating the public about pain.