May 31st, 2023

USASP Panel Discussion on Pragmatic Clinical Trials in Pain Research

Event: 3:00-4:00pm ET
Networking Event: 4:00-5:00pm ET (Gather.Town)

Join us for a educational session on pragmatic trials featuring Dr. Keefe, Dr. Sluka, Dr. Hastings, and Dr. Bayman. This multi-disciplinary panel discussion will be led by Dr. George and we invite members to submit questions in advance with the following article as starting point for conversation. This session is being co-hosted by the Pain, Movement, and Rehabilitation Science SIG and Clinical Trials for Pain Research SIG. 

Prior to the event we ask that audience members to read the following article. Please submit any questions you have to [email protected] or [email protected] ahead of time. 

CitationKeefe, F. J., Jensen, M. P., Williams, A. C. D. C., & George, S. Z. (2022). The yin and yang of pragmatic clinical trials of behavioral interventions for chronic pain: balancing design features to maximize impact. Pain, 163(7), 1215-1219.


Francis (Frank) Keefe, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor in Anesthesiology, and Professor of Medicine at Duke University. Dr. Keefe is Director of the Duke Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program, an active NIH funded clinical research program focused on developing new and more effective ways of assessing and treating patients having acute and persistent pain.  Dr. Keefe played a key role in the development of clinical pain services and pain research programs at Duke Medical Center.  For over 20 years, he directed the Duke Pain Management Program and was a leader in the development of Duke Medical Center's multidisciplinary pain programs (both out-patient and in-patient.)  Dr. Keefe has developed and refined a number of treatment protocols for persistent pain conditions (e.g. pain in patients with advanced cancer; or persistent joint pain due to osteoarthritis) including spouse and partner-assisted pain coping skills training interventions.  He has conducted a number of randomized clinical trials testing the efficacy of these and other behavioral interventions (e.g. aerobic exercise protocols, yoga based interventions, mindfulness-based interventions, forgiveness-based interventions, loving kindness meditation, and emotional disclosure).  Dr. Keefe has published over 490 papers and 4 books on topics ranging from pain coping strategies used by people suffering from persistent pain to the treatment of cancer pain at end of life. Over the past 10 years, he has served Editor in Chief of PAIN, the premier journal for publishing basic and applied pain science.  Dr. Keefe has a longstanding interest in mentoring students and early career professionals who seek to develop, test, and disseminate novel protocols for managing pain, stress, and medical symptoms. 

Kathleen A. Sluka, PT, PhD, FAPTA is a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa. Dr. Sluka’s research focuses on the neurobiology of musculoskeletal pain as well as the mechanisms and effectiveness of non-pharmacological pain treatments. She has published over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts. She is currently leading a pragmatic clinical trial through the PRISM network -Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) by implementing TENS to standard physical therapy treatment in individuals with fibromyalgia. 

S. Nicole (Nicki) Hastings MD is a geriatrician and health services research. She is Professor of Medicine and Professor in Population Health Sciences at Duke University and Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Dr. Hastings also leads the Durham Center of Innovation (COIN) to ADAPT within the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System. Dr. Hastings has a strong record of scientific productivity and research leadership. She served as Director of Durham VA’s geriatrics clinic for 5 years and has been a core investigator with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and the COIN since 2006. Dr. Hastings is a previous VA Career Development Award recipient, and she has been continuously funded by VA Health Services Research & Development for more than 10 years. Her work has focused on improving care for vulnerable older adults in acute care settings and across transitions of care. She leads Durham’s Function and Independence Quality Enhancement Research Initiative Program, where she is Director of STRIDE, an inpatient walking program for hospitalized older adults at the Durham VA, which was named a Gold Status Practice by VA’s Diffusion of Excellence program.

Emine Bayman, PhD is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Anesthesia at the University of Iowa. Dr. Bayman is the Deputy Director of the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center (CTSDMC) and has over 15 years of experience providing statistical design, conduct and analysis expertise to multi-center clinical trials. She has served as a Principal Investigator, a co-investigator, or a primary statistician for multiple NIH and/or industry-funded studies. She has published extensively in the areas of transition from acute to chronic postsurgical pain, Bayesian clinical trials, and multi-center clinical trial design. She is the Assistant Editor of Statistics in Anesthesia & Analgesia and on the editorial boards of the Neurosurgery, Journal of Pain, and European Journal of Pain


Steven Z. George PT, PhD, FAPTA completed his physical therapy training at West Virginia University and worked clinically at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center/Centers for Rehab Services.  He completed his research training at the University of Pittsburgh and continued onto a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida.  Currently, Dr. George is the Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University.  Dr. George’s primary research interest involves using biopsychosocial models for the prediction and prevention of transition to chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders.  

Dr. George has had his research funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and along with his collaborators has authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications in leading physical therapy, medical, orthopaedic, rehabilitation, and pain research journals.  He was a committee member for a workshop on non-pharmacological pain management hosted by the National Academies, has served on the Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is a Deputy Editor for PTJ, and an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Pain.  

Dr. George is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA, a past John HP Maley Lecturer, and has also been recognized by the APTA with prestigious research awards: Michels for New Investigator, Rothstein Golden Pen for Scientific Writing, Hislop for Outstanding Contributions to Professional Literature, and Williams for Research in Physical Therapy.    

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