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Endowed Chair in Pain

One in five children and adults suffer from pain; it is the most common reason why people seek health care and it costs the Canadian economy about $60 billion annually. It doesn’t have to be that way. And we believe that at Dalhousie, we can be the catalyst to change, with your help.

Dalhousie University has the strongest clinical and research pain program in Canada. We are uniquely positioned to transform pain care through research and education, and the next step is to establish an Endowed Chair in Pain.

With the added credibility, sustainability and leadership of an Endowed Chair in Pain, we will work with colleagues across the country and around the world, all levels of government, advocacy groups and those living with pain to cure chronic pain and prevent acute pain. It is possible.

An Endowed Chair in Pain will result in the best pain care for people in the Maritime provinces and beyond because of…

  • Sustainable funding for world-leading, patient-focused pain research
  • More opportunities for students, scientists and health professionals to conduct pain research
  • Expedited development of pain treatment and management options
  • Better pain education for current and future health professionals

You can help make this work possible.

Endowed Chair in Pain Roles & Responsibilities

An Endowed Chair in Pain will attract a well-recognized, well-respected, leader in pain care, research and education, who has an established research program and team. The Endowed Chair in Pain will:

Conduct and lead research into more effective pain treatments and management strategies.

Many pain medications and other treatments do not work well enough, cause unwanted side effects or have the potential for addiction. The development of new treatments is critical. As an established, top researcher, the Endowed Chair in Pain will expand our current research foci in and beyond chronic pain management strategies, topical pain medications, and understanding children’s pain and help ensure this research results in better care in the Maritimes and beyond.

Connect Dalhousie’s existing talent and work in pain to create synergy and a shared vision for pain care, research and education.

We have a strong group with diverse interests and expertise in pain. A visionary who can synergize our strengths will help ensure we recognize and realize opportunities that we, and thus patients, may otherwise miss – opportunities such as new developments in patient care; new research methods, funding and collaborators; and prospects for medical and public education about pain. The Endowed Chair in Pain will act as our CEO, maximizing the value of our contributions to patient care.

Attract trailblazers in pain care, research and education with established or emerging programs and funding.

There is stiff competition in Canada and around the world for new talent and new ideas, and the economic boost realized through successful research programs and teams. The Endowed Chair in Pain will cement Dalhousie’s position as the leader in pain care, research and education in Canada, providing the greatest competitive advantage and potential for a significant economic boost to Nova Scotia. 

An Endowed Chair in Pain is the most important investment we can make to cure chronic pain and prevent acute pain. 

See the Endowed Chair in Pain roles and responsibilities come together [PDF - 429KB].

About Pain

Pain is robbing people of a fulfilling life, hurting our economy and giving us all a reason to do more.

Pain is a chronic, devastating disease that knows no boundaries. More Canadians of all ages suffer from chronic pain than do those with heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. At any given time, seven million Canadians are taking pain medications without finding relief.

  • Pain early in life affects brain development, learning and behaviour, and puts children at greater risk of pain as they grow up.
  • Pain is the most common cause of disability among working-age adults in Canada. In fact, pain substantially increases the risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, addiction and suicide.  
  • Persistent pain affects up to 80% of those in long-term care facilities.
  • More than 50% of people are left in moderate to severe acute pain following surgery.

On the economic front, pain costs the Canadian economy about $60 billion annually, more than the cost of heart disease, cancer and HIV combined.

And yet, in Canada, pain is under-recognized and under-treated.

We can have a better future.

Dalhousie Pain Research and Care

We are world leaders in pain research and our groundbreaking work to prevent, treat and manage pain is having an impact. We are leaders in the Canadian Pain Trials Network, the Canadian Pain Society, and the Centres for Pain Management.  In the past two years alone, we have attracted more than $15 million in research funds for studies into new pain treatments and our xpertise and advice on pain research and care is sought after in Canada and around the world.

Examples of our work:

Better ways to treat and prevent children’s pain

For up to one in ten children who have major surgery in Canada, their pain persists long after their bodies have healed. Many of these children are also more susceptible to pain in their lifetime.  Dr. Jill Chorney leads a cross-Canada study to better understand the consequences of children’s pain after surgery and the factors that put children at risk of pain persisting. Dr. Chorney’s work will lead to better ways to treat and prevent acute and chronic postoperative pain in children.

Enabling the body to naturally reduce arthritis pain

Current pain treatments for arthritis are only partially effective and cause some major side-effects. Dr. Jason McDougall has discovered that our joints produce their own type of cannabis (called endocannabinoids) that can alleviate the pain and inflammation of arthritis. The problem is these naturally-occurring chemicals are broken down too quickly by our bodies. Dr. McDougall’s work now focuses on slowing down digestion of the endocannabinoids to enable our bodies to naturally, effectively reduce arthritis pain.

Taking control of fibromyalgia pain

When conventional medical treatments fail many people turn to complimentary and alternative forms of healing. Researchers at the pain management unit have a longstanding interest in clinical trials examining new treatments for incurable pain spearheaded by Dr. Mary Lynch. Most recently, we have demonstrated that regular practice of qigong, a self practice of meditative movement, is effective in decreasing pain and improving sleep and function in people who are suffering from widespread pain caused by fibromyalgia. 

Community based chronic pain management

Specialized pain services and primary care providers across Canada are struggling to meet the need for appropriate pain care and management. A mentor/mentee network, founded and directed by Dr. Peter MacDougall, connects primary care providers in communities across Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador (mentees) with each other and experts in chronic pain (mentors) to build capacity for chronic pain and addiction management. The network, which includes research into the impact of networks on pain management, is on its way to becoming a best practice for delivery of chronic pain treatment and management in Atlantic Canada and beyond, improving the care of patients with chronic pain and addictions in their home communities.

"Endowed Chair in Pain" Team

A steering committee of Dalhousie Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine researchers and clinicians has been working to establish an Endowed Chair in Pain. The steering committee members and their colleagues in the Dalhousie Pain Group are world leaders in pain, uniquely positioned to transform pain care through research and education.

Steering committee: