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About this IHI Virtual Expedition

In 2017 an estimated 49,068 deaths in the US involved opioids. Even with significant attention and resources devoted to curbing the crisis, opioid misuse has only led to more deaths across the country.

While the causes of the opioid crisis are numerous, a lack of capacity to provide comprehensive pain assessments and multifaceted ways to manage pain are both significant drivers in health care systems. Health care professionals and organizations must simultaneously address overreliance on prescribing opioids while providing patients with safe and appropriate options to manage their pain. Additionally, patients with opioid use disorders need effective, evidence-based treatment to help move towards recovery.

This Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Virtual Expedition aims to give health care leaders and providers the information and skills they need to impact multiple drivers of the opioid crisis in their own communities. Including:

  • Understanding the components of a comprehensive pain assessment
  • Limiting the supply of excess prescription opioids for acute and chronic pain
  • Decreasing the demand for prescription opioids through the promotion of alternative pain management strategies
  • Managing patient expectations when it comes to pain and the risks of opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose
  • Identifying, assessing, and managing patients at risk for harmful opioid misuse
  • Caring for patients with opioid use disorders in office-based settings

Given the complexity and severity of the crisis, work on each of these drivers needs to be implements in a coordinated, collaborative approach. Health systems, primary care teams, and clinicians in particular play a critical role in impacting each of these drivers.

What you'll learn

At the end of the Expedition each participant will:

  • Be able to highlight pain management as a patient safety issue
  • Identify the multiple roles health care organizations and care team members play in addressing the opioid crisis
  • Be able to describe strategies to impact multiple drivers of the opioid crisis in their patients and health care systems, including:
    • Improving opioid prescribing practices
    • Supporting the education of prescribers and care team members about the risks of opioids and guideline-based risk mitigating strategies
    • Educating the multi-disciplinary care team and patients about chronic pain, opioids, comprehensive pain assessments, and multimodal pain management strategies
    • Identifying and managing patients with chronic pain on chronic opioids therapy who are not benefiting and/or suffering harm
  • Identify specific change ideas to test at their organization

This IHI Virtual Expedition is approved for a total of 5 continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and CPPS recertification.


Session 1: Understanding and Assessing Pain
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM ET

Session 2: All about Opioids: Safe and Competent Prescribing and Education for patients and Providers
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM ET

Session 3: Multimodal Approaches to Managing Pain
Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM ET

Session 4: Assessing and Managing Pain in Acute Care Settings
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM ET

Session 5: Identification and Management of Patients with Opioid Use Disorders
Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM ET   

Learn more about course Materials and Technology.​​


Dan Alford Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, is Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education and Director of the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program at Boston University School of Medicine. He is on staff in the Section of General Internal Medicine and director of the Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Alford is past-president of the Association for Multi-disciplinary Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction (AMERSA), and is course director of the BUSM Immersion Training Programs in Addiction Medicine funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2011 he was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House. He has also received the American Medical Association “Award for Health Education”, the Educator of the Year Award by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Behavioral Medicine by the American College of Physicians. His clinical, educational and research interests focus on opioid use disorders and safer and more competent opioid prescribing for pain.

Mara Laderman Mara Laderman, MSPH, is a Director at the IHI. She is the content lead for IHI’s work in behavioral health, directing research initiatives and developing programming focused on better meeting individuals’ behavioral health needs across the health care system. Ms. Laderman also leads innovation projects on population health improvement, including recent work on the opioid crisis, health equity, and clinical-community linkages. Prior to IHI, she served as an external program evaluator for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and managed a large psychiatric epidemiology study at the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research. Ms. Laderman received a Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Smith College.

Deborah Gordon Deborah Gordon, RN, DNP, FAAN is the Co-Director for the Harborview Medical Center Integrated Pain Care Program and Teaching Associate with the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. She works in conjunction with the inpatient and outpatient Pain Relief Services, and is a co-investigator for the UW’s NIH designated Center of Excellence in Pain Education. Deb has been involved in a number of projects focused on improving pain management and is active in many professional pain management societies. Her work includes the American Pain Society's (APS) Quality Improvement Guidelines, the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) funded Postoperative Pain Management Quality Improvement Project (POP), and the International acute postoperative “Pain-Out” Registry. She has served as a member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) content-expert panel on pain management, as co-chair for the APS acute postoperative pain guideline, and as a Board member for the American Pain Society (APS). She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Ellie Grossman Ellie Grossman, MD, MPH, is a general internist and an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is board-certified in Addiction Medicine and is the Primary Care Lead for Behavioral Health Integration at Cambridge Health Alliance (an academic safety-net network of 13 practices in the greater Boston area). In her current role, she is responsible for expanding addiction treatment in the CHA primary care system and mentoring providers and staff as they gain skills and expertise in this area; she has been buprenorphine-waivered since 2006 and has been treating patients with opioid use disorder in primary care settings since then.

Mark Rosenberg Dr. Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, FAAHPM, is Chairman of Emergency Medicine and Chief Innovation Officer at St Joseph's Health in Paterson, New Jersey, The Emergency Department is one of the nation’s busiest seeing more than 170,000 adult and child visits annually. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Currently, Dr. Rosenberg is a Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer for American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer of Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF). In January of 2016, Dr. Rosenburg opened the nation’s first Alternatives to Opioids Program (ALTO). This is a multidisciplinary, multimodal acute pain management program that not only helps patients with painful conditions without using opioids, but also helps those patients with drug dependency and addiction. He serves on several national taskforces for Opioids including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center of Disease Control, and the IHI.