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Dal pain researcher connects with parents over social media

Posted by Allison Gerrard on September 22, 2015 in News
A public forum was held last night in Halifax to launch the It Doesn't have to Hurt campaign. The Globe and Mail's health reporter, André Picard, was one of the panelists.
A public forum was held last night in Halifax to launch the It Doesn't have to Hurt campaign. The Globe and Mail's health reporter, André Picard, was one of the panelists.

In an effort to get up-to-date research findings about children’s pain directly into the hands of parents, Dr. Christine Chambers and her team at the Halifax-based Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, have partnered with YummyMummyClub.ca (YMC) on a year-long social media campaign called It Doesn’t Have to Hurt.

“We know that it generally takes 17 years for research findings to change patient care,” says Dr. Chambers, a professor in Dalhousie’s departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience and a clinical psychologist at the IWK Health Centre. “Through the It Doesn’t Have to Hurt initiative, we want to make a more immediate difference in the area of pediatric pain management – for the sake of parents and their kids.”

Bringing pain research to parents

Over the next twelve months, a range of pain-related topics will be covered on the YMC website, and then shared through social media channels. The It Doesn’t Have to Hurt project will engage parents through Twitter chats, Facebook posts, and videos.

"It makes so much sense," says Erica Ehm, creator and owner of YMC, the largest independently owned online magazine in Canada. "Our writers are great storytellers, and they create easily digestible content. As parents, we don't always know how to take medical information or research results and apply it to our lives, but readers will see the practical application in a real-life environment with this content. “

“Poorly managed pain in children is a serious and on-going health problem; it results in unnecessary suffering and long-term negative effects,” says Dr. Chambers.

“Through this partnership, we’ll be providing parents with cutting-edge information on managing newborn pain, how to deal with stomachaches and headaches, how to reduce vaccination pain, and so much more.”

Dr. Chambers and Ms. Ehm will be documenting the reach of all their content. They’re also surveying and interviewing parents about their awareness and use of evidence-based pain management strategies, both before and after It Doesn’t Have to Hurt, to study the impact of the initiative on children’s pain.

“We think this approach has incredible potential as a way to mobilize research evidence not only for pediatric pain, but in other areas of children’s and women’s health,” says Dr. Chambers.

The work is funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.