Welcome to the Society of Pediatric Pain Medicine (SPPM) 9th Annual Meeting! It is my honour to be program chair for a fantastic meeting devoted to Better Care For Children in Pain. At the time of writing this message, the pandemic continues to be a part of our lives, but we are at the point that we can have some return to normalcy and return to an in person meeting for 2022! The pandemic forced us to quickly integrate virtual environments for connecting with each other and our patients, a setting that will most likely remain even when the pandemic is a distant memory. Given the success of our virtual meeting in 2021, we have integrated virtual options for some aspects of our meeting, while also meeting together again in Tampa, Florida at the lovely Marriott Tampa Water Street/JW Marriott Tampa. The virtual setting’s biggest success for our society was record level attendance including participants from around the globe, which we hope to replicate this year as well.
In addition to global participation, our society strives to expand the makeup of our audience. As our society grows, we would like to increase our membership particularly among our non-physician colleagues including psychologists, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, to truly include all professionals who help to treat pain in the pediatric population. Our planning committee has worked hard to create a program that we hope will be of interest to a variety of practitioners and topics that cover acute pain, regional anesthesia, and chronic pain. We hope you enjoy our 1.5-day meeting that is full of interesting topics, 3 fantastic round table discussions, PBLD’s, 2 days of workshops and talks by unique speakers.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of our parent society, Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA). In keeping with this reflective theme, our keynote speaker, also known as founding member (and member #1) of SPA itself, is Dr. Myron Yaster. Our one and a half day meeting will commence on the afternoon of March 30 with our keynote. Dr. Yaster is a well-known anesthesiologist and pediatric pain physician who will reflect on the evolution of pediatric pain medicine as seen through his own practice that has extended through the past 4 decades in anesthesia and pain medicine. To think, when he first began his clinical practice, the assumption was that infants could not feel pain! Thankfully, we have evolved greatly since then and I know I look forward to hearing Dr. Yaster’s talk on this subject.
Session II fills up the rest of our first day and is focused on The Gut Brain Connection, focusing on pain topics related to the abdomen. Dr. Karen Boretsky commences with It isn’t that complicated; Demystifying the nomenclature of regional anesthesia to review the many novel regional blocks that are all the rage, and finally have agreed upon names. Given the feasibility of these new truncal blocks, understanding imaging and nomenclature will be a great addition for the those who perform regional anesthesia. Next, we have Dr. Ellise Cappuccio presenting When Your Guts Hurt, Surgery Doesn't Have To, on the peri-operative management of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The session then moves onto When Eating is a Pain: Identification and Treatment of Eating Disturbance in Pediatric Chronic Pain by psychologist Dr. Leslie Sim. Eating disorders have unfortunately seen an unprecedented rise in incidence during the pandemic and has a known overlap with chronic pain. Dr. Sim’s will review pertinent issues that are of interest for pain professionals. The final talk of the day will be Prehab Prevents Persistent Post-Surgical Pancreatectomy Pain in Pediatric Patients presented by Dr. Matthew Armfield to enlighten us with his experience with novel surgical techniques that are being used to treat chronic pancreatic pain
Day 2 of our meeting starts bright and early with a combination of PBLDs and round table discussions, in a virtual format. We hope this will allow more participation for those who are unable to come to Tampa, while allowing meeting attendees to join from the comfort of their hotel rooms! This year we are offering 3 round table discussions including proven strategies for psychological interventions in chronic pain, research related tools and a chance to meet our keynote speaker and other giants of the pediatric pain world! After enjoying breakfast and time with our exhibitors, we will then start off day 2 with a session devoted to Pain Syndromes. Dr. Galaxy Li and Anita Davis, DPT will each present on CRPS from medical and physiotherapy perspectives respectively. We will then have a chance to hear from Dr. Andrew Collin, a PMR doctor working in the pain field who will review myofascial pain syndrome. Dr. Christine Lamontagne will then present on ACNES, an abdominal pain syndrome, and the controversies around its diagnosis and treatment! To finish off our pain syndrome session, will be our lovely patient partner, 11-year-old Lyric and her mother Jade, who will share their journey with CRPS. This session is presented in collaboration with US Pain Foundation and will provide us with the lived experience of chronic pain from a child and her parent.
After a coffee break, we will jump into Hot Topics in pain, where we will hear short talks from a variety of speakers. The talks include speakers from various backgrounds discussing topics such as Gender identity/LGBTQ issues in chronic pain, Racial inequities in pain management, the new IASP Classification of Chronic Pain and the use of Dexmedetomidine for analgesia. Don’t be fooled by the format, despite being on the shorter end, we know that they will be quite impactful!
Following lunch with our exhibitors, we will be pushed out of a postprandial slumber with the much-loved Pro/Con debate, this year on liposomal bupivacaine for management of acute pain. We have a great team of speakers and moderators, with Dr. Veronica Carullo ready to present the PRO side and Dr. Harshad Gurnaney eager to battle from the CON end. Veteran debater Dr. Stephen Hays will be moderating along with Dr. Sophie Pestieau. I know I’m very excited for this debate, especially since it will be back to a live, in-person format!
We then move on to Session VII focusing on Compassionate Care for the Pediatric Cancer Patient. Dr. Zvonimir Bebic will discuss interventional techniques to treat end of life pain, a heart-breaking situation when no amount of medications seems to help. Dr. Anjali Koka will then wrap up the session with Acute Pain in a Pediatric Cancer Patient: A Holistic Approach and her experiences with multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
The day will then wrap up with Poster Awards and Presentations, where we will hear from the award winners and their fantastic research contributions. Following the awards, will be a chance for all of us to attend the moderated poster sessions and hear what is hot in pain research.
Both days of our meeting days are followed by workshops in the early evening and this year we are pleased to offer 5 fantastic workshops. We hope there is something for everyone and we ask you to step outside your box to learn from our experts. For the first time this year, we have a workshop run by a psychologist, Dr. Sara Williams, on the topic of interdisciplinary pain treatment program, which should be of interest for those who manage chronic pain. We will also have hands on ultrasound-based workshops on fascial plane blocks and interventional pain techniques as well as workshops on acupuncture and palliative symptom management.
I am so proud to present this meeting to all of you as Program Chair. The pandemic and so many unknowns with this ongoing pandemic have presented many challenges, but we are so excited to meet all of you in person again. I was not alone in planning, and I want to thank the planning committee for all their hard work! Thanks for Dr. Sophie Pestieau (program co-chair), Dr. Michelle Kars (program shadow), Dr. Robert Wilder (president), Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin (vice-president) and Dr. Rachel Zoffness (psychology liaison). A special thank you to Dr. Rita Agarwal, immediate past president, for her collaborative effort with US Pain Foundation to integrate patient experience into our meeting. Last but not least, to the Ruggles team Kim Battle, Stewart Hinckley and Jenny Patterson, thank you for all the support in my role as program chair including countless emails and answering so many of my questions.
I hope to see all of you in beautiful Tampa, Florida with maybe the pandemic behind us, enjoying 2 great days of learning, meeting old friends, and making new ones at our exciting annual meeting.
All Program & Schedule Times are Eastern Time (EST).