UC Davis Train-the-Trainer Primary Care Pain Management Fellowship: Addressing the Pain Management Education Gap

Scott M. Fishman, David Copenhaver, Kathryn Lorenzen, Ellery Schlingmann, Christy Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PROBLEM: Primary care providers are responsible for the majority of pain care and opioid prescribing, but they are often inadequately trained. Training current providers to address the crisis of excessive opioid prescribing and inadequate pain management is a substantial workforce problem that requires urgent action. This educational need is vast and requires a staged solution to amplify its effect. APPROACH: The University of California, Davis Train-the-Trainer (T3) Primary Care Pain Management Fellowship targets the most pressing topics related to pain management, including prescription drug abuse, responsible opioid prescribing, and substance abuse, as well as broad coverage of comprehensive pain management. It offers an innovative, scalable solution to address the education gap in pain management that, in part, fuels the opioid epidemic in the United States. The T3 Fellowship incorporates a competency-based curriculum and a hybrid educational model of in-person and distance-based learning and direct faculty-fellow mentoring to comprehensively train primary care providers in pain care and prepare them to train others. Since it was established in 2017, 2 cohorts (of 17 and 26 fellows) have completed the 10-month fellowship and a third cohort of 38 fellows started the program in September 2019. OUTCOMES: Pre- and postprogram surveys for the first 2 cohorts, and a 6-month postprogram survey for the first cohort, demonstrated fellows' improvement and sustained performance in pain competencies as well as increased recognition and understanding of pain and related topics. NEXT STEPS: If adopted by other institutions and expanded across the country, the T3 Fellowship holds potential for developing an ever-growing legion of trained professionals who will locally fill the need for effective pain management, including appropriate opioid prescribing. Advancing this model will require further economic and feasibility studies to assess costs, resources, and other variables, as well as a robust comprehensive outcomes program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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