Senate To Hold Valentine’s Day Hearing on Chronic Pain

Since the release of the June 2011 landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on chronic pain, the Solve ME/CFS Initiative  has been working diligently with other patient advocacy and medical professional groups to encourage the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) to convene the first hearing on this major public health epidemic that affects one-third of American adults at an annual cost of $635 billion. We know at least one million people in the U.S. suffer from CFS, costing more than $51 billion a year.

The HELP Committee hearing, Pain in America: Exploring Challenges to Relief, has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.  Testimony will be provided by:

  • Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC.  Dr. Tabak was the former Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
  • Phillip Pizzo, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA. Dr. Pizzo chaired the IOM Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care and Education.
  • John Sarno, M.D., Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
  • William Maixner, D.D.S., Ph.D., Director, Center for Neurosensory Disorders, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.  Dr. Maixner is a member of the TMJA’s  Scientific Advisory Board and also serves on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Chronic Pain Research Alliance (CPRA).
  • Christin Veasley, Executive Director, National Vulvodynia Association (NVA), North Kingstown, RI.  Christin will speak on behalf of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance, of which the Solve ME/CFS Initiative is a member.

Other written testimony will be submitted for the record by organizations and individuals. There are press outreach efforts under way now to attract media attention to the hearing. The hearing will be simulcast live online at:  The event recording will also be archived for viewing later.

Contrary to what you see on television and in movies, Congressional hearings are sparsely attended by members of Congress unless it’s a “hot” topic (like the baseball doping hearing) or there is a celebrity witness (like Lance Armstrong for cancer).

Please take action today to encourage all of the HELP Committee members to attend. The names (and associated states) of the Committee members are listed below.  If you live in one of these states, please send a brief note to your U.S. Senator by clicking on his/her name below and completing the online contact form. A template that you can copy/paste into the contact form and personalize is below.

We look forward to providing you with additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you in advance for your time and effort!

Members of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee

Arizona – Senator John McCain
Alaska – Senator Lisa Murkowski
Colorado – Senator Michael Bennet
Connecticut – Senator Richard Blumenthal
Georgia – Senator Johnny Isakson
Illinois – Senator Mark Kirk
Kansas – Senator Pat Roberts
Kentucky – Senator Rand Paul
Maryland – Senator Barbara Mikulski
Minnesota – Senator Al Franken
New Mexico – Senator Jeff Bingaman
North Carolina – Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr
Oregon – Senator Jeff Merkley
Pennsylvania – Senator Robert Casey, Jr.
Rhode Island – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Tennessee – Senator Lamar Alexander
Vermont – Senator Bernard Sanders
Washington – Senator Patty Murray

If you live in Iowa or Wyoming, please thank Senators Harkin and Enzi for calling this important hearing.

Iowa – Senator Tom Harkin (Chairman)
Wyoming – Senator Michael Enzi (Ranking Minority Member)

Comment Template to Copy/Paste into Contact Form and Personalize:

Dear Senator [Last Name],

I am writing to thank you as a member of the HELP Committee for passing a bipartisan amendment calling upon the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to study our nation’s epidemic of chronic pain, and to urge you to attend the HELP Committee Hearing, Pain in America: Exploring Challenges to Relief, on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

According to the June 2011 IOM study, 116 million adult Americans suffer from chronic pain at an annual cost of $635 billion. I am one of them. Since 2012, I have suffered from… [In a few sentences, summarize your experiences here, focusing on quality of life, medical care, lost productivity and associated costs.]

It is of utmost importance that our nation address this growing and costly public health concern.


[Your First and Last Name] February 9, 2012