Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday named members to the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education. The commission, established by executive order as part of the TN Together plan to help end the opioid epidemic, is charged with developing competencies for Tennessee’s medical educational institutions to address proper treatment for pain, safe and effective prescribing practices, and proper diagnoses and treatment for individuals abusing or misusing controlled substances. Once developed, the competencies shall be available for adoption by Tennessee’s medical educational institutions for best-in-class training for Tennessee’s future doctors, nurses, dentists and other prescribers.
“To be clear, this is not us telling medical and health care practitioner schools what their curriculum will be," said Governor Haslam. "This is a group of professionals from that field who will come together and design what competencies should be developed around evidence-based pain and addiction management."
The commission will develop competencies for current and future curricula so that future prescribers receive instruction and training regarding, at a minimum:
Effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, including alternatives to opioids to manage pain;
The potential risks and effects of using opioids to treat pain, including physical dependency and addiction, and effective discontinuation of opioids;
Proper identification of and treatment for patients demonstrating misuse or abuse of opioids; and
Utilization of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.
The commission consists of 19 members, appointed by the governor, which include representation from the state’s public and private medical educational institutions, the Tennessee Department of Health, a broad group of professional associations, and licensed health care practitioners.
Commission members include:
Dr. John E. Blake, III, Medical Director, Specialists in Pain Management
Dr. Christopher R. Edwards, Chief Medical Officer, Maury Regional Health
Dr. Cherae M. Farmer-Dixon, Dean, Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry
Dr. Linda Hill, Professor, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Nursing
Professor Rex Hobbs, Assistant Dean and Program Director, Physician Assistant Studies, Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dr. April Kapu, Nurse Practitioner and Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Advanced Practice, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Brian A. Kessler, Vice President and Dean, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University
Dr. Veronica T. Mallett, Senior Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College
Dr. Robert T. Means, Jr., Dean, Quillen School of Medicine, East Tennessee State University
Dr. Sarah Melton, Professor, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University
Dr. Bonnie Miller, Senior Associate Dean, Health Science Education and Executive Vice President Educational Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Wendy Nehring, Dean, College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University
Professor Bret Reeves, Director, Physician Assistant Program, Trevecca Nazarene University
Dr. David Sain, Director, Tennessee Dental Association Wellness Committee
Dr. Leslie Shepard, Pharmacist owner, Community Pharmacy Care, Inc.
Dr. Terry Stevens, Pharmacist, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. David Stern, Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs for Statewide Initiatives, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Dr. Stephanie G. Vanterpool, Director, Comprehensive Pain Services, Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
Dr. John Dreyzehner, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, Chair of Commission
The commission shall create a report to be delivered to the governor no later than July 31.
More details on the TN Together plan, including help for those suffering from addiction and other resources, can be found at tn.gov/opioids.