McMaster University


McMaster University


Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada


Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada



Four Medical Students

About the Pain Medicine Residency Program

The September 25, 2014 issue of the Canadian Medical Association’s CMAJ, "New Residency Program for Pain Specialists" highlights the launch of the University of Western Ontario’s residency program in pain management, the first in Canada. In an interview with the CMAJ, Dr Patricia Morley-Forster, Chair, Special Committee on Pain Management at the RCPSC, noted "we were able to demonstrate that there was a wealth of knowledge out there about how to treat pain that was not being taught to doctors. This unmet need would take two full years of doctor training."

In 2010, Pain Medicine was formally recognized as a subspecialty in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The application for specialty status was initiated in 2007 with the understanding that while Anesthesiology would be the parent specialty, the curriculum would train clinicians in a multidisciplinary setting.

The new Pain Medicine training program in Canada will train leaders in education, research and clinical practice pertaining to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of the spectrum of acute pain, cancer pain and non-cancer pain problems .Accurate diagnosis, essential to the development of a rational treatment plan, requires training in neurological and musculoskeletal exam techniques. Administration of nerve blocks, if recommended, must be incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan which also draws on pharmacotherapeutic knowledge of opioids, anti-convulsants, and anti-depressants and comprehensive treatment aimed at rehabilitation and behavioral management. In many cases the physician practicing in this subspecialty will be the medical director of a multidisciplinary team, and hence must be versed in pain management/relief methods employed by team members who are physician or allied health professionals.

The creation of Pain Medicine as a new subspecialty should not only improve patient access to appropriate pain management by increasing the number of well-trained physicians, but also improve patient outcomes by promoting and disseminating best practice guidelines for the treatment of acute pain, chronic non-cancer pain and cancer pain in both community and academic settings. In addition, interdisciplinary research collaboration will promote new areas of enquiry, and funding bodies will identify pain as a higher research priority.



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Support of the Pain Medicine Residency web portal by the Earl Russell Endowed Chair is gratefully acknowledged at Western University

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