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Army’s pain managment initiative a collaborative effort

Published: 03:14PM September 15th, 2011

For the past six years, Madigan has hosted the Major General Jack Gamble Medical Research lecture. Although the lecture’s namesake, a retired fighter pilot and founding member of the nonprofit Madigan Foundation, passed away earlier this year, the annual event held Aug. 19 in Letterman Auditorium carried on his devotion to military medicine education.

The event was supported by the Madigan Foundation. Al Buck, the president of the Madigan Foundation and a former Madigan commander, spoke about the importance of honoring Gamble.

“In all of his dealings Maj. Gen. Gamble always sought the win-win, he was the quintessential example of good will,” Buck said.

This day the win-win was clear, as the lecture brought one of the country’s premier pain management experts to speak to Madigan’s staff.

Doctor Rollin M. Gallagher, the Director of Pain Policy Research and Primary Care at Penn Pain Medicine as well as the clinical professor of psychiatry & anesthesiology at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke to a full auditorium. Gallagher also serves as a pain consultant to the Medical Advisory Panel of the VA Health System.

“Doctor Gallagher’s efforts played a substantial role in the pain management efforts at Madigan,” said Col. Diane Flynn, director of Madigan’s Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center. “Two years ago, he served on the Army Surgeon General’s pain management taskforce, which culminated in the creation of the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center at Madigan and other selected Army medical centers.”

Having such an impressive speaker also was a good gauge of the progress the new Madigan clinic is making.

“As past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and in his leadership roles in pain management at the local (at his home area of Philadelphia) and national levels, his acceptance of our invitation to speak at Madigan is a tremendous endorsement to our efforts to build a comprehensive, collaborative, interdisciplinary pain management system,” Flynn said.

While many in attendance may have been impressed with Gallagher’s credentials, the admiration went both ways.

“Working with the Army’s pain initiative is the most fulfilling experience in my career,” Gallagher said. “You guys are leading the way now. It’s amazing what you’ve pulled together working with the University of Washington and the VA.”

That collaboration is one of the cornerstones of the success of the program. Present for his lecture also was of Dr. Alex Cahana who directs the Center for Pain Relief at the University of Washington and who oversees the pain management service of the Seattle and American Lake VA hospitals.

“He (Dr. Cahana) is widely credited with restoring the University of Washington as an international leader in pain management care and research,” Flynn said.