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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:

  • Understand pain management as a patient safety issue
  • Understand the multiple roles health care organizations and care team members play in addressing the opioid crisis
  • 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

Continuing education credits for this Expedition are still being finalized.


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, 2018, 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.​​


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.

Additional faculty coming soon.