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May 1, 2018
Contact: HHS Press Office
[email protected]

Members Appointed to New Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the appointment of 28 members to the new Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force).

The Task Force will hold its inaugural public meeting on May 30, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, and on May 31, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET, in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

The Task Force was established to propose updates to best practices and issue recommendations that address gaps or inconsistencies for managing chronic and acute pain. HHS is overseeing this effort with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense.

The Task Force, which was authorized by section 101 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, is assigned the following responsibilities:

  • Determining whether there are gaps or inconsistencies in pain management best practices among federal agencies;
  • Proposing updates to best practices and recommendations on addressing gaps or inconsistencies;
  • Providing the public with an opportunity to comment on any proposed updates and recommendations; and
  • Developing a strategy for disseminating information about best practices. 

“In order to defeat America’s crisis of opioid addiction, one of our top four priorities at HHS, we need to understand and address how we got here,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Part of the story is the need for greater access to effective pain management options. We are proud to be part of this unprecedented inter-agency task force, which will examine and recommend updates to best practices that help address the real problem of pain in America.”

The Task Force, which will be chaired by Vanila M. Singh, M.D., chief medical officer, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, consists of representatives from relevant HHS agencies, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Non-federal representatives include individuals representing diverse disciplines and views, including experts in areas related to pain management, pain advocacy, addiction, recovery, substance use disorders, mental health, minority health and more. Members will also include patients, representatives from veteran service organizations, the addiction treatment community and groups with expertise in overdose reversal, including first responders, medical boards and hospitals.

Members of the public may attend the meeting in person or via webcast. For more information, visit the Task Force’s web page.

The Task Force members are:


Sondra M. Adkinson, Pharm.D., C.P.E.: Clinical Pharmacist, Bay Pines Veterans Administration Healthcare System, Bay Pines, Florida.

Amanda Brandow, D.O., M.S.: Associate Professor of Pediatrics in Hematology/Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jianguo Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.: Professor of Anesthesiology, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine Fellowship Program, Cleveland, Ohio.

Daniel Clauw, M.D.: Director, Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center; Professor of Anesthesiology, Medicine (Rheumatology) and Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Jonathan C. Fellers, M.D.: Medical Director, Integrated Medication-Assisted Therapy, Maine Medical Center; Medical Director, Maine Tobacco Help Line, MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence, Portland, Maine.

Howard L. Fields, M.D., Ph.D.: Professor Emeritus, Departments of Neurology and Physiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Rollin M. Gallagher, M.D., M.P.H.: Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Director for Pain Policy Research and Primary Care, Penn Pain Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Halena M. Gazelka, M.D.: Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Sciences; Chair, Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program; and Director of Inpatient Pain Services, Division of Pain Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Nicholas E. Hagemeier, Pharm.D., Ph.D.: Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University (ETSU); Research Director, ETSU Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Johnson City, Tennessee.

Michael J. Lynch, M.D.: Medical Director, Pittsburgh Poison Center; Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

John J. McGraw, Sr., M.D.: Medical Director, OrthoTennessee; and County Commissioner, Jefferson County, Tennessee. 

Mary W. Meagher, Ph.D.: Professor and Coordinator of the Clinical Health Psychology Program at Texas A&M, College Station, Texas. 

John V. Prunskis, M.D.: Founder, co-Medical Director, Illinois Pain Institute, Elgin, Illinois.

Mark Rosenberg, D.O., M.B.A.: Chairman, Emergency Medicine, and Chief Innovations Officer, St. Joseph’s Health; and Board of Directors, American College Emergency Physicians, Paterson, New Jersey.

Molly Rutherford, M.D., M.P.H.: Certified Addiction Specialist, Founder, Bluegrass Family Wellness, PLLC, Crestwood, Kentucky.

Bruce A. Schoneboom, Ph.D.: Chief Learning Officer, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Park Ridge, Illinois.

Cindy Steinberg: National Director, Policy and Advocacy, U.S. Pain Foundation; Policy Council Chair, Massachusetts Pain Initiative, Lexington, Massachusetts.

Andrea Trescot, M.D.: Interventional Pain Physician; Director, Pain and Headache Center, Eagle River, Alaska.

Harold K. Tu, M.D., D.M.D.: Associate Professor and Director, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota; Chairman, Department of Dentistry, Fairview Hospital, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sherif Zaafran, M.D.: President, Texas Medical Board, Austin, Texas.


Steven Daviss, M.D.: Senior Medical Officer, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Scott Griffith, M.D.: Director, National Capital Region Pain Initiative and Program Director, National Capital Consortium Pain Medicine Fellowship, U.S. Department of Defense.

Sharon Hertz, M.D.: Director, Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration.

Jan L. Losby, Ph.D., M.S.W.: Lead, Opioid Overdose Health Systems Team, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Linda L. Porter, Ph.D.: Director, Office of Pain Policy, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health.

Friedhelm Sandbrink, M.D.: Acting National Program Director, Pain Management Specialty Care Services, Veterans Administration Health System; and Director, Pain Management Program, Department of Neurology, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Vanila M. Singh, M.D., MACM: Chief Medical Officer, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

Cecelia Spitznas, Ph.D.: Senior Science Policy Advisor, Office of the Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: May 1, 2018

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