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The Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs) act as hubs for the development, evaluation, and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and other schools to enhance and improve how health care professionals are taught about pain and its treatment.

The new CoEPEs were selected by the NIH Pain Consortium after a contract solicitation process and review. The awardees are: 

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Harvard University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Iowa
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rochester
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • University of Washington

Pain Education Interactive Modules

Some of the interactive modules are currently unavailable. To access currently available modules, please visit



Sharee is a 19-year-old girl coping with pain crises related to sickle cell disease (SCD). The case provides a history of the disease onset and progression from infancy through high school as seen from her perspective, and explained by case principals. View 508-compliant text version  (PDF, 4MB)


Margaret Andersen

Margaret Andersen is a 85-year-old woman with limited communication who demonstrates changes in behavior two weeks after entering a nursing care facility. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 738KB)

CoEPES_Betty Miller Avatar

Betty Miller

Betty Miller is a 77-year-old woman with right shoulder pain for the past 4 weeks. The case follows her visits to her primary care provider and pharmacist; home health services for nursing, social services, and physical therapy; and primary care follow-up. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 604KB)


Donald Williams

Donald Williams is a 77-year-old man with a total knee arthroplasty 5 days ago. The case follows his interactions following his hospital stay to his skilled care facility. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 642 KB).

opioid pill

Opioid Mgmt for Acute Pain

This module includes 3 short case studies for patients admitted to the Emergency Department. Mr. Jones needs an opioid regimen for acute severe pain. Mrs. Hubbard is on chronic opioid therapy and requires additional opioids. Finally, Mrs. Miller’s opioid dose is being decreased and she worries about her pain relief. View 508-compliant Text Version (PDF, 365 KB).

Middle aged woman leaning her head on her hand


Through the case study, you follow Edna, a 70-year-old woman with chronic low back pain. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 741 KB)

Woman in her 40s, smiling slightly


Follow Beverly, a forty-six year-old woman with chronic burning pain in her mouth. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 600 KB)

Man with long beard

Peter James

Follow Peter James, whose convoy hit an IED in Afghanistan. He is now dealing with PTSD, insomnia, and phantom limb pain. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 523 KB)

CoEPES - Ava


Ava is a 28-year old woman who is seven months pregnant. She’s in overall good health, but experienced pain in her pelvis over the last month that refuses to go away. She visits her nurse midwife to learn about options to address her pain. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 614 KB).

Older man with mustache wearing a hospital gown

Mr. Frank

Mr. Frank is a 80-year-old nursing home resident. Recent years have been marked by progressive cognitive decline attributed to Alzheimer's disease. View 508-compliant text version (PDF, 545 KB)

teenage girl


Morgan is a 14-year-old girl with worsening headaches. The case covers four months, beginning with entries into her video diary (“vlog” or “video blog”). She explores several approaches to headache management in a series of encounters with health professionals. View 508-compliant text version (1,276 KB)

CoEPE photo of Eric


Eric is a 23-year-old man actively using IV heroin who presents with right leg pain and swelling after injecting heroin into the muscle. The case study follows his pain management after a diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis. View 508-compliant text version. (PDF, 757 KB)

woman smiling


Pam is a 41-year-old Caucasian female diagnosed with breast cancer approximately one year ago. She underwent treatment including a bilateral mastectomy and subsequent breast reconstruction. Now she’s experiencing pain in her chest, arm, and shoulder she feels should be improving. The case reviews Pam’s experiences with and potential treatments for Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome (PMPS). View 508-Compliant text version. (PDF, 495 KB)



Owen is a 47-year-old Caucasian male suffering from low back pain for several years. His pain has been relatively well controlled up until recently when he’s had some problems with his pain and his treatments. The case reviews Owen’s pain history, his risk for opioid overdose, and whether he should be prescribed naloxone. View 508-compliant Text Version (PDF, 634 KB).

Mr. Lane

Mr. Lane

This case presentation follows a 43-year-old farmer named Mr. Lane who injured his right arm after it got stuck in a combine. He was then air lifted to a tertiary care center. The case includes Mr. Lane's initial injury, acute pain, and the development of chronic pain and acute on chronic pain. View 508-compliant Text Version (PDF, 1.1 MB).

Mr. Gateway

Mr. Gateway

Mr. Gateway is a 52-year-old male smoker with a history of substance abuse with recurrent laryngeal cancer who presents with increased throat and neck pain, dysphagia (pain with swallowing), and dehydration.  You are asked to come evaluate the patient who will be admitted to the surgical service and help advise on how to manage his pain. View 508-compliant Text Version (PDF, 3.8 KB).

Pain and Opioid Prescribing Risks

Learn more about pain and opioid prescribing risks from these modules created by NIDA/ONDCP

Young woman with long hair


Joelle is a 25-year-old woman who sustained a third-degree ankle sprain in a motor vehicle accident. She was transported to a local hospital emergency department (ED) where she was treated, her ankle was placed in a boot, and she was given crutches.
Middle aged man


Edward is a 52-year-old warehouse employee, injured his back at home getting ready for a move out of state. It is now 2 months later and he is in your office as a new patient.

Also from our Federal Partners:

The Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion released an interactive training tool, Pathways to Safer Opioid Use, which teaches health care providers how to communicate the safe use of opioids to manage chronic pain, and implementation strategies for meeting the opioid-related recommendations from the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention (ADE Action Plan). The goal of this simulation is to demonstrate best practices in safe opioid use and prevent adverse drug events. You will play as four individuals (Pharmacist, Nurse, Primary Care Physician, and Patient), make decisions for them, and see how those decisions play out.

Joint Pain Education Program (JPEP): The JPEP is a collaboration effort between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop a standardized pain management curriculum to improve complex patient and provider education and training.  Click here to go to the JPEP website. 

From NIDAMED: New videos model how to help patients get addiction treatment starting in the emergency department. The videos are part of a new set of resources for emergency medicine clinicians. Click here. 

NIDA grantee, Dr. Stephen Henry (University of California at Davis), has created an online education video on tapering from opioids. This video highlights real stories from patients about their experience with tapering down or off opioids.   This online video was developed and is being tested through a NIDA-funded grant (5K23DA043052A; clinician training intervention to improve pain-related communication, pain management and opioid prescribing in primary care).  To view this video, click here.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation (in collaboration with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Integrative Health Program) has developed “The Whole Health Virtual Library,” a valuable asset for health providers looking at specific strategies to help patients manage their health and well-being using complementary and integrative methods. Included in this resource is a curriculum on “Whole Health for Pain & Suffering: An Integrative Approach.”  Click here to access these resources. 

Contact us:
Feel free to contact the NIH CoEPE project with ideas and suggestions at  We plan on expanding the CoEPE page and are especially interested in hearing about peer reviewed manuscripts and upcoming events related to pain education.