Preview of PAINWeek 2015 – The National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners

An Interview with Debra Weiner

Debra Weiner is the Director of Program Development at PAINWeek, where her primary role is developing and managing the live national, regional, and PAINWeek at Sea conferences. She also serves as Editorial Director for the PWJ—PAINWeek Journal publication.

PAINWeek 2015 takes place September 8-12, 2015 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. There will be 140+ 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 9th year, we remain the largest US pain conference. Last year we welcomed over 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. Especially mirth.

While PAINWeek began as a conference, it is now a full communications platform with PWJ—PAINWeek Journal and our content-rich website. We think of ourselves as PAINWeek 365—covering the live, digital, and print spectrum of pain education and information.

I say this every year, and every year it becomes more pronounced: 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, our onsite conference staff has observed that we seem to communicate telepathically. We have also cultivated extraordinary relationships with our faculty. They are so receptive and interested in presenting topics that are unusual and forward-looking. Ultimately, I think they enjoy the creative freedom that PAINWeek provides—which gives them an opportunity to stretch beyond typical conference parameters. There’s an implicit understanding that we have to transgress a little bit every year in order to stay ahead of the pack.


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. Our attendees say that PAINWeek is more than a conference—it is an experience—and that’s what we hope it will continue to be. It has become akin to an annual class reunion since so many of the same people return every year. And because the meeting is in September, everyone shares the momentum that comes with the beginning of a new semester, and it’s contagious!

Most impressive is the list of organizations who have contributed so much over the years. This year, full-day tracks will be presented by:

  • American Academy of Pain Medicine
  • American Headache Society
  • American Pain Society
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • American Society of Pain Educators
  • National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators

Demographically, our HCPs are 60% prescribers, 72% are PCPs, and 30% are specialists.

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 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 2015 will present over 16 course concentrations (tracks). Among them are: behavioral pain management, complementary/alternative pain management, health coaching, interventional pain management, medical/legal issues, neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain conditions, pain and chemical dependency, pharmacotherapy, and regional pain syndromes. New this year are tracks on podiatric pain syndromes and palliative care. There is also a full-day curriculum designed especially for nurse practitioners. We have Master Classes and 30+ Special Interest Sessions, among them are:

  • The Groundhog Day Phenomenon
  • The Bulletproof Prescriber
  • A Tyranny of “Shoulds”
  • Stem Cell Therapy: The Way to the Future of Pain Management
  • Suspicion: What Should I Do If I Suspect My Patient is Diverting, Abusing, or Both?
  • Medical Cannabinoids: An Update on What You Need to Know for Your Practice
  • Rhapsody on a Windy Night: When Pain and Sleep Share the Same Bed
  • Virtual Reality: Does it Have a Role in Pain Management?

The American Society of Pain Educators (ASPE) will present the annual Pain Educators Forum (PEF) which consists of 3 days and 16 hours of clinical and educational courses! Additionally, the ASPE will again present 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 3 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 2015?

DW: There are 80+ faculty this year, among them:

    • Donna Alderman, DO
    • Charles E. Argoff, MD, CPE
    • Sheena K. Aurora, MD
    • Jennifer Bolen, JD
    • Michael M. Bottros, MD
    • Gregory Carter, MD
    • Martin Cheatle, PhD
    • Michael R. Clark, MD
    • Roger Fillingim, PhD
    • Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD
    • Douglas Gourlay, MD
    • David M. Glick, DC, CPE
    • Jeffrey A. Gudin, MD
    • Howard W. Heit, MD
    • Christopher M. Herndon, PharmD, BCPS, CPE
    • Holly Holmes, MD
    • Gary E. Kaplan, DO, ABFP, DABPM, FAAMA
    • Georgine Lamvu, MD
    • Richard B. Lipton, MD
    • Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE, FASPE
    • Sri Nalamachu, MD
    • Steven D. Passik, PhD
    • Joseph Pergolizzi, MD
    • Steven Richeimer, MD
    • Michael Schatman, PhD
    • Brett B. Snodgrass, MSN, APRN, FNP-C
    • Natalie Strand, MD
    • Forest Tennant, MD
    • Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD, FACPE
    • Stephen J. Ziegler, PhD, JD

and many more!


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 $449 that will be extended until July 31 (current registration fee is $499 and will increase to $669). To register for PAINWeek 2015 please visit and use source code: PWPEDU.