Preview of PAINWeek 2014 – The National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners

An Interview with Debra Weiner

Debra Weiner is a managing partner of Aventine Co., a medical communications company focused on pain education. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Pain Educators. Her primary role at Aventine is developing and managing the national and regional conferences along with the new PWJ—PAINWeek Journal.

PAINWeek 2014 takes place September 2-6, 2014 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. There will be 120+ hours of continuing medical education courses and master classes, special interest sessions, and satellite symposia.

Elsbeth McSorley: 

Please provide a brief history of PAINWeek conferences.

Debra Weiner: Going into our 8th year, we remain the largest US pain conference. Last year we welcomed approximately 2,000 attendees, and this year we expect even more. What means the most to me about PAINWeek is its pulse—there’s such a palpable surge of vitality and animation with which everyone seems to resonate. We believe that we learn best when we are having fun, i.e., when there is mirth, illumination, and a digestible amount of gravitas.

While PAINWeek began as a conference, it is now a full communications platform. We launched PWJ—PAINWeek Journal last September, along with our new website. We now like to think of ourselves as PAINWeek 365—covering the live, digital, and print spectrum of pain education and information.

The success of PAINWeek is an absolute team effort. I feel very privileged to spend my days with such a talented and eclectic group of people. We have worked so closely for so long, that our onsite conference staff has observed that we seem to communicate telepathically.

EM: Describe how the conference has grown over the years, how many people have attended, and what is the variety of professionals who attend?

DW: PAINWeek launched in 2007, and has grown exponentially since then. It has become so large, that we had to add another day! So this year, we will begin things on Tuesday, September 2 and end on Saturday, September 6. Most impressive is the list of participating/collaborative organizations who have contributed so much over the years. This year, full day tracks will be presented by:

  • The American Pain Society
  • The American Academy of Pain Medicine
  • The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians
  • National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators
  • Veterans Health Administration

Demographically, 59% of HCPs are prescribers, 69% of HCPs are PCPs, and 32% are specialists. The conference is managed by Aventine, and it is sponsored by Global Education Group. Based on surveys that we have conducted, we have uncovered some very interesting information:

Faculty feedback on PAINWeek:

“If I were in an elevator and had the opportunity to tell someone about PAINWeek, I don’t think it would be a very long sentence, but it would emphasize to them that there is no place else in the world that they could get access to as many experts and as much important cutting-edge information as we have here in Las Vegas every year.” -Michael R. Clark, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice-Chair, Clinical Affairs, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

“I get asked this question a lot by people I work with – what pain meeting should I go to? I tell people, if you want to go to the meeting where there’s the most content and you can get the broadest snapshot of what’s going on both clinically and in research related to pain, PAINWeek is your meeting. The breadth of content is tremendous. The quality of the presentations is outstanding, and it provides clinically useful information for the frontline practitioner, but there is also an abundance of strong evidence-based information that will satisfy researchers and clinicians alike.” -Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, Professor and Director, University of Florida Pain Research and Intervention Center

“PAINWeek is a comprehensive multidisciplinary conference, and I think what is excellent about it is you’ll get evidence-based presentations and research but you’ll get the practical part. You’ll actually be able to take tools with you, tools to your clinic next week that will help you take care of your patients.” -Colleen M. Fitzgerald, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago Medical Center

“PAINWeek is the place to come for understanding about chronic pain, which many pain conditions turn into. Even if you’re not in a chronic pain center, you’re going to be treating chronic pain or dealing with chronic pain as a medical practitioner or healthcare practitioner. This is clearly the biggest conference, the best conference.” -Ted W. Jones, PhD, CPE, Clinical Psychologist, Behavioral Medicine Institute

“This one meeting that truly understands that good pain care starts in primary care. This conference understands that better than any other pain conference I have ever been to.” -Ilene Robeck, MD, Co-chair, National VA Primary Care Pain Task Force


EM: What are some of the program highlights this year?

DW: PAINWeek 2014 will present courses on behavioral pain management, health coaching, interventional pain management, medical/legal issues, neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain conditions, pain and chemical dependency, pharmacotherapy, and physical therapy. New this year are tracks on stress, medical marijuana, and a 2-day curriculum designed especially for nurse practitioners. We have Master Classes and over 18 new Special Interest Sessions, among them are:

  • Crime and Punishment: Is the Drug Abusing the Patient, or is the Patient
  • Abusing the Drug?
  • The State of Pain Education
  • The Iceberg Cometh
  • The Undead Dead Nerve: Neuropathic Pain
  • ICD-10 for Pain Management
  • Sailing to Byzantium: Geriatric Pain Management

The annual Pain Educators Forum (PEF) will now consist of 3 days and 16 hours of clinical and educational courses! This year, the ASPE is presenting a pre-PEF activity, “Neuropathica Galactica: A Highly Interactive Journey in Pain Management and Education.” It is limited to only 60 participants and is a hands-on, boot camp type workshop that will allow participants to hone their abilities on developing treatment plans for three unique case scenarios, along with presenting a diverse representation of pain syndromes (persistent post-surgical pain, rheumatoid arthritis, post-herpetic neuralgia, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and others).


EM: Can you tell us about the faculty who will be participating in PAINWeek 2014?

DW: PAINWeek faculty includes:

Charles Argoff, MD, CPE

Jennifer Bolen, JD

Gregory Carter, MD

Martin Cheatle, PhD

Michael R. Clark, MD

Roger Fillingim, PhD

Douglas Gourlay, MD

Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD

David M. Glick, DC, CPE

Jeffrey A. Gudin, MD

R. Norman Harden, MD

Howard W. Heit, MD

Georgine Lamvu, MD

Sri Nalamachu, MD

Steven D. Passik, PhD

James Ray, PharmD, BCPS, CPE

Seddon Savage, MD

Michael Schatman, PhD

Natalie Strand, MD

Forest Tennant, MD

Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE

Joseph Pergolizzi, MD

Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD, FACPE

Debra K. Weiner, MD

Stephen J. Ziegler, PhD, JD

and more!


EM: Will attendees be able to sit for the ASPE’s Certified Pain Educator (CPE) credentialing exam at PAINWeek this year?

DW: Yes, PAINWeek 2014 will have this available. Interested clinicians should refer to for more information on submitting applications for review.

EM: Are there any special registration discounts for PainEDU members? If so, how can people learn more about this conference and register?

DW: We are offering a special discounted registration to PainEDU members for $429 that will be extended until July 31 (current registration fee is $529 and will increase to $649).

To register for PAINWeek 2014 please visit and use source code: PWPEDU.