Past events

Bridging Gaps in Pain and Medical Research Among Marginalized Communities: Reflections on the Past and Future Directions for Better Recruitment and Engagement

2023 Juneteenth Event

Members can watch a recording of this event here.

Event: June 22nd from 3:00-4:00pm ET

Join us for the USASP Juneteenth Seminar to learn and discuss the complex history of clinical research in marginalized communities, including past lessons and future opportunities. This webinar will also foster an open discussion on proactive strategies for greater inclusivity in pain research, particularly pertaining to recruitment, engagement and retention of marginalized individuals in clinical studies.


Anna Hood, PhD is a lecturer in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health and is a member of the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology. She is trained as a clinical psychologist and is licensed in the US and HCPC registered in the UK. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at UCL, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. Her graduate and clinical training were completed in the US at Washington University in St. Louis, Children’s Minnesota, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has been the recipient of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health to fund research focused on the cognitive and psychological challenges faced by children and young adults with sickle cell disease. Specifically, her research aims to 1) promote self-management, patient engagement, and medication adherence, 2) identify interventions and the underlying neural mechanisms to improve cognitive impairments in patients with sickle cell disease, and 3) include an anti-racism framework in research, psychological treatments, and the clinical care of patients experiencing pain.

Jonathan Jackson, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Community Access, Recruitment, and Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. CARE investigates the impact of diversity and inclusion on the quality of human subjects research and leverages deep community entrenchment to build trust and overcome barriers to clinical trial participation. His research focuses on midlife and late-life health disparities in clinical settings that affect underserved populations. Dr. Jackson also works as a cognitive neuroscientist, investigating the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the absence of overt memory problems. He has become a well-known representative to underserved communities and dozens of affiliated organizations, particularly regarding participation in clinical research. Dr. Jackson serves on the leadership team of several organizations focused on community health, and has written guidance for local, statewide, and national groups on research access, engagement, and recruitment.

Cassandra Trimnell is a prominent advocate for individuals living with sickle cell disease,
renowned for her role as the founder and executive director of Sickle Cell 101 (SC101). As the
first child diagnosed with sickle cell disease through the Iowa Newborn Screening Program in
1987, Trimnell has dedicated her life to bridging knowledge gaps and addressing the needs of
the global sickle cell community. Under her leadership, SC101 has flourished, offering
unparalleled digital platforms that generate real-time community insights and patient experience
data. With over 50,000 followers from 115 countries, SC101's social media presence has
become a trusted resource, reaching millions annually. Recognized for her expertise, Trimnell
has received accolades, including the prestigious "Community Champion" award from the Sickle
Cell Disease Association of America. A sought-after speaker and consultant, she contributes
her patient advocacy to influential boards and committees, such as the NIH-NHLBI's Sickle Cell
Disease Advisory Committee and the American Society of Hematology's Sickle Cell Disease
Coalition. Trimnell's significant contributions encompass collaborations on impactful projects,
including the New England Journal of Medicine's "Sickle Cell and Gene Therapy Patient and
Physician Perspectives" video series and the NHLBI's Cure Sickle Cell Initiative. Her tireless
dedication and unwavering commitment have solidified her as a respected leader and advocate
for all stakeholders affected by sickle cell disease, inspiring innovation in education, research,
and awareness to improve the lives of countless individuals and families impacted by sickle cell.


Troy Dildine, PhD, is a T-32 Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine within the Pain Medicine division. Dr. Dildine obtained their PhD, focused on health disparities in pain, through the NIH Graduate Partnership Program between the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Clinical Neuroscience Section at Karolinska Institute. Dr. Dildine’s research aims at tackling health disparities by 1) better understanding social and perceptual biases in medical providers and 2) identifying risk factors (e.g., discrimination and medical mistrust) and targets for intervention for more severe and frequent pain observed in marginalized patient populations. Dr. Dildine sits on several committees related to health equity and DEIA-related initiatives, including their current role as Social Media and Outreach Chair for the USASP Diversity, Inclusion, and Antiracism SIG.




Last Updated on Monday, June 26, 2023 03:37 PM

May 31st, 2023

USASP Panel Discussion on Pragmatic Clinical Trials in Pain Research

Members can watch a recording of this event here

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. . 

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.    

Faculty web page:




Engaging Community Partners Across the Research Spectrum

March 22, 2023
3:00-4:30pm (Zoom)
Who is this webinar relevant for? Pain researchers at all career stages across the translational spectrum; people with lived experience of pain and/or community representatives interested in learning more about community research partners’ roles
Event Description: The goal of this 1.5-hour webinar is to provide background information, practical examples, and tips for community-engaged research in the field of pain. Brief presentations will be followed by a Q & A session, moderated by Staja “Star” Booker. Submission of questions for panelists during registration is encouraged. Panelists are researcher and community research partner pairs who use engagement methods in the areas of preclinical (Manoj Lalu & Laurie Proulx), basic human (Jamie Rhudy & Sohail Khan), and clinical (Mary Janevic & Henry Swift) pain research. Registration fees are waived for people who are interested in attending the webinar to learn more about becoming a community research partner.


Take Aways from this event:
Emphasize the importance of disseminating research findings to the community and engaging with them in the research process.

Be mindful of the unique challenges and considerations when conducting research with Native American populations, including the need for community engagement, respect for tribal sovereignty and data ownership, and the potential harm of misrepresenting research findings.
Consider collaborating with multidisciplinary groups, including patient partners, when conducting research on complex medical conditions like sepsis.
Engage with the community to build trust and form organizations that allow them to learn the benefits of research and how to participate as CAB members.
Include end users of research in the process to gain insights and shape interventions that are feasible to implement.

Members can watch a recording of this event here




Shared Resources from Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Grant Proposals from the Perspective of Grant Makers

HomePatient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

Equity and Inclusion Guiding Engagement Principles

Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award Program



A need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the grant funding process has been increasingly recognized. In response, many grantmaking organizations have expressed their commitment to DEI through enhanced funding priorities, as well as considering a grant proposal’s attention to DEI when making funding decisions (e.g., the makeup of the research team, involvement of community organizations, and consideration of health inequities within the research strategy). While encouraging, many researchers lack clarity on how DEI components are evaluated within review sessions and the best strategies for embedding a DEI focus within a grant application. The purpose of this professional development event will be to hear from grant makers regarding their organizations’ specific priorities related to DEI and how DEI content is being evaluated within the grant review process.

Members can watch a recording of the event here

Shared Resources 


Speaker Bios 

Dr. Cheryse Sankar: As a Program Director in the Office of Global Health and Health Disparities, Dr. Sankar has a diverse research portfolio covering topics related to advancing health equity in pain management and health disparities in neurological disorders and stroke. Prior to her current role, Dr. Sankar was in the NINDS Office of Pain Policy and Planning as a senior science policy analyst where she organized the annual NIH Pain Consortium Symposium, served as a program officer on the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Common Fund Program, initiated and co-led a Disparities and Diversity in pain research workgroup and ongoing efforts related to health equity in pain management through the NIH HEAL Initiative.  Dr. Sankar was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy fellow in 2011-2012 at the National Cancer Institute in the Division of Cancer Control & Population Science's Behavioral Research Program. She first joined NIH as a NINDS IRTA (intramural research training associate) then received a PRAT (Pharmacology Research Associate) fellowship in the NINDS Molecular Pharmacology Section where she published work on functional properties of the D3 dopamine receptor antagonists. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Sankar received her bachelors' degrees in Chemistry and Biology from UC Irvine and her PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Michigan where she focused on mechanisms of the dopamine reward pathway. 


Dr. Vivian L. Towe is a Senior Program Officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and is trained as a social epidemiologist. She has a background in program evaluation, community-partnered research, social determinants of health, and health equity. At PCORI, she oversees a portfolio with a range of studies in topical areas representing Achieve Health Equity, one of PCORI's National Priorities for Health. She is currently leading a health equity-focused funding announcement seeking comparative effectiveness research addressing health systems factors and social determinants of maternal health and conducted through shared leadership between communities and researchers. Prior to coming to PCORI, she was a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where she worked on a range of topic areas, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, disaster recovery, homelessness, and care coordination.  


Dr. Crystal Henderson is a Scientific Program Manager (SPM) for the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office in Washington D.C. She manages the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Rural Health, and Complimentary/Integrative Health portfolios within Health Services Research & Development (HSRD). Dr. Henderson’s research background includes working as a research program manager with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) for nearly two decades. Since 2005, Dr. Henderson has participated in countless federal research studies and program evaluations that cover a myriad of topics within the VHA system. In addition to her passion for research, she has served as a professor at several colleges and universities. Dr. Henderson completed her EdD in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama where her expertise lies in diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, watching movies, listening to music, and watching sports (especially her beloved Alabama Crimson Tide)! Dr. Henderson currently resides in Baton Rouge, LA with her husband and one year old son.






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