An opportunity to de-stigmatize
St. Joseph’s Health Care London and Western University are the first in Canada to host a newly accredited pain medicine residency program.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Patricia Morley-Forster has been a leader in advancing the clinical practice of pain management. Known as a dedicated coach and mentor, she is passionate about educating young physicians to improve access to care, and led the charge in getting pain medicine accredited as a subspecialty by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. It took seven years of lobbying—a Herculean effort that won Dr. Morley-Forster the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society’s 2013 Gold Medal, its highest honour.
But more rewarding for Dr. Morley-Forster was seeing Canada’s first two residents begin the new pain medicine residency training, in the treatment of and rehabilitation for acute, chronic and cancer pain conditions, on July 1st this year. The first residents are Dr. Michael Pariser, a native of Ingersoll, Ontario, and Dr. Amjad Bader from Saudi Arabia.
The hope for new pain specialists such as Drs. Pariser and Bader is that they not only become experts but also “leaders and ambassadors” for this new discipline, says Dr. Morley-Forster.
Dr. Pariser, a graduate of the Schulich School of Dentistry & Medicine, sees an opportunity to “de-stigmatize pain” and be an advocate for people with chronic pain—which, he says, is often
seen as a failure of character rather than a medical problem.
“The general public doesn’t realize that everyone is one traffic light, one kitchen accident, one cancer problem, one surgery, one work-related accident away from having awful chronic pain.”
Dr. Patricia Morley-Forster, Medical Director of the Pain Management Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London and Professor of Anesthesiology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, was instrumental in creating pain medicine as a new subspecialty in Canada.
Pictured above: Dr. Patricia Morley-Forster with the first residents to begin training, Dr. Amjad Bader, left, and Dr. Michael Pariser.