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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

Sponsors of the CoEPEs

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health  (NCCIH)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

Pain Education Interactive Modules

To access currently available modules, please visit

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. 

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