RELIEF Podcast — Children’s Pain: Making It Matter, Understood, Visible, and Better

Pediatric pain

Authors of a recent Lancet Commission discuss the problem of pediatric pain and the way forward to improve the lives of children and adolescents with pain. Image credit: majivecka/123RF Stock Photo.

Published February 3, 2021

Editor’s note: This podcast was originally published on the IASP Pain Research Forum and is being republished here to bring the attention of RELIEF readers to the important issue of children’s pain.

Pediatric pain is underrecognized and undertreated throughout the world. Recently, a Lancet Child & Adolescent Commission was formed to address this critical problem. In this podcast, three co-authors on the Commission (read recently published article from the Commission here) meet virtually with Pain Research Forum Correspondent Wendy Gaultney to discuss the origins of the Commission’s work, the problem of pediatric pain, and the way forward to improve the lives of children and adolescents with pain. Podcast participants include (see full bios below):

L-R: Forgeron, Howard, and Palermo.

  • Paula Forgeron, RN, MN, PhD, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Richard Howard, FFPMRCA, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK
  • Tonya Palermo, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, US

Listen to the podcast below. The podcast is also available on Spotify here and on Apple Podcasts here.

Paula Forgeron, RN, MN, PhD, is a full professor, director and associate dean, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa. She has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Anesthesia, Dalhousie University, and is an affiliate investigator, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. She received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Fellowship as well as an Early Career Grant from the Canadian Pain Society. With an extensive clinical background in pediatric pain management, and training in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, her research program addresses social functioning of adolescents with chronically painful conditions as well as improving pain management for hospitalized children and adolescents globally. Her research produced some of the first studies to examine the social functioning of adolescents with chronically painful conditions, reporting that pain influences friendships, and friendships influence an adolescent’s chronic pain experience. Current studies focus on developing a better understanding of these critical social relationships to determine ways for adolescents with painful conditions to gain the social support and social understanding needed to help them cope with and manage their pain. Her research has also explored challenges of pediatric pain management in the acute care setting in low- and middle-income countries and resource-rich countries, suggesting that application of knowledge requires the prioritization of pediatric pain across all levels of healthcare facilities.

Richard Howard, FFPMRCA, is consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK; a founding member of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Paediatric Pain Research Group, and of the NIHR CRN-Children Clinical Studies Group in Pain and Palliative Care, which he chaired from 2012-2020. He is an examiner for the Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the RCA UK. He is a recognized clinical expert on children’s pain management and senior researcher with an academic program of competitively funded clinical and scientific research. He teaches and lectures extensively and is the author of many publications in the field of children’s pain including developmental mechanisms, pharmacology, and clinical practice.

Tonya Palermo, PhD, is a pediatric psychologist and professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at University of Washington, with adjunct appointments in Pediatrics and Psychiatry. She holds the Hughes M. and Katherine Blake Endowed Professorship in Health Psychology. She serves as associate director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She directs the Pediatric Pain & Sleep Innovations Lab, which aims to improve the lives of children with pain and their families. Her long-standing NIH-funded research investigates behavioral, psychosocial, and family factors that affect pain experiences, and development and evaluation of innovative psychological treatments that can be delivered at low cost. Currently, Dr. Palermo serves as associate editor for PAIN, editor-in-chief for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and as chair, Scientific Program Committee for the IASP Pain in Childhood SIG 2022 meeting (International Symposium on Pediatric Pain) in Auckland. Dr. Palermo has developed and evaluated several Internet and mobile applications to deliver cognitive behavioral interventions for chronic pain to children and adolescents, and has published two books on cognitive behavioral therapy. Find out more about her research here.

Wendy Gaultney, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, US.