Editor's Corner

Primer in Creating an Effective Pediatric Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain Treatment Program

Yuan-Chi Lin, MD, MPH, FAAP
Francis Kraemer, MD
T. Anthony Anderson, MD, PhD
Amy B. Beethe, MD
Jason Brown, MD
Eugene Kim, MD
Galaxy Li, MD
Chang Amber Liu, MD, MSc, FAAP
Diana Liu, MD
Rebecca L. Wu, MD

Welcome to our winter issue of the 2021 SPPM Newsletter. Growing more rapidly than ever, SPPM is the premier national pediatric pain medicine organization. Under Dr. Rita Agarwal’s governance, we have made considerable advancements in our specialty. This April, Dr. Robert Wilder will serve as our fourth SPPM President; we thank them both for their dedication and SPPM leadership. 

In this newsletter, former president, Dr. Anjana Kundu, will announce the newly elected Board of Directors. We would like to thank the following members of the Board of Directors, who will be completing their terms, for their enthusiasm and leadership: Drs. Harshad Gurnaney, Benjamin Lee, Sophie Pestieau, and Kristen Spisak,

The incidence of children with chronic pain has increased over the years. Whether this is a result of heightened awareness leading to more frequent diagnosis is unclear; however, chronic pain continues to be a growing problem in the general pediatric population resulting in negative effects in their daily lives, including in family and peer-to-peer interactions.

Children with chronic pain more commonly have anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disruptions, and developmental challenges in comparison to their peers.1 A significant amount of research supports the comprehensive and interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation approach. Patients of pediatric Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain Treatment (IIPT) services have significantly fewer emergency department visits, fewer inpatient stays, and lower associated billing2. These programs may also be helpful in decreasing symptoms of disability, depression, and pain catastrophizing, while facilitating the discontinuation of opioids.3 Furthermore, long term studies indicate that it is also cost effective. The SPPM has established a special interest group in IIPT, with an initial goal of promoting collaboration between IIPT programs both nationally and internationally.

In this issue of the SPPM Newsletter, we are fortunate to have excellent specialists in pediatric pain medicine share their knowledge and experience in IIPT for children with chronic pain. Drs. Eugene Kim and Sara Williams succinctly outline the IIPT agenda, with Drs. Alvina Rosales and Alyson Herme presenting the behavioral medicine and psychotherapy components. Dr. Anya Griffin addresses risk and resilience in pediatric IIPT, and Ms. Mikayla Culpo eloquently summarizes the role of a nurse practitioner in this model. Drs. Roxanne DeFabio and Julie Shulman fluently illustrate the importance of physical therapy, and Ms. Gabrielle Bryant offers vital insight into occupational therapy. It is our goal that SPPM members who already incorporate a pediatric IIPT strategy into their practices consider using these valuable instructions and expert recommendations to assess and improve their programs, while others may choose to establish one. Through an interdisciplinary integrative approach, we can collaborate to effectively fight this pediatric pain battle.

Our Eighth Annual SPPM Meeting is fast approaching. This virtual conference will be held from April 23-25, 2021, and will focus on “Outstanding Women in Pediatric Pain.” Dr. Marisa Wiktor provides a brief overview of the meeting in this newsletter.

We greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve as the editors of the SPPM Newsletter. We always love to hear from you and invite you to contribute to our newsletter. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, suggestions, or comments: Yuan-Chi Lin, MD, MPH, FAAP, at [email protected].


  1. Huguet A, Miro J. The severity of chronic pediatric pain: an epidemiological study. J Pain 2008;9(3):226-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2007.10.015.
  2. Mahrer NE, Gold JI, Luu M, Herman PM. A Cost-Analysis of an Interdisciplinary Pediatric Chronic Pain Clinic. J Pain 2018;19(2):158-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.09.008.
  3. Bruce BK, Weiss KE, Ale CM, Harrison TE, Fischer PR. Development of an Interdisciplinary Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program: The First 1000 Consecutive Patients. Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes 2017;1(2):141-149. DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2017.05.006.

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