Academy of Integrative Pain Management ceases operations

After thirty years as a leading voice for integrative pain management, the Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM) ceased operations last week.

AIPM’s board of directors voted unanimously on January 26 to take this action. The last day of active business operations for AIPM was Thursday, January 31.

 “This is an incredibly difficult and sad decision,” said Bob Twillman, PhD, executive director of AIPM. “Our message has never been more relevant than now, amid the nation’s opioid crisis, yet we have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the resources needed to sustain our efforts. We are proud of our message and of what we have accomplished, especially over the last several years. We hope that others will step into the void we will leave in the pain field and carry on this vital work.”

The AIMP board of directors wrestled with this decision, ultimately deciding that the logical and ethical course of action at this time is to cease operations, according to W. Clay Jackson, MD, president of the board of directors.

“Multiple factors have contributed to AIPM’s challenges, many of which were unforeseeable and uncontrollable” he said. “Like many other professional associations, AIPM has been challenged in responding to the changing demographics and information consumption patterns of the healthcare work force. Joining associations like ours just is not a high priority for younger healthcare providers, and decreased interest in attending in-person educational events has contributed to significantly decreased conference revenues for AIPM.”

AIPM has always promoted an integrative model of pain management, supporting an interdisciplinary, patient-centered approach to care that uses all the available tools, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, to care for people with pain. Since its inception in 1988, AIPM has led efforts to educate healthcare providers, policy makers, and people with pain about this model of care.

Since hiring a full-time director of policy and advocacy eight years ago, AIPM also has been active in advocating for federal and state legislation, regulations, and other policies that support the ability of people with pain and their healthcare providers to access this type of care.

In October 2017, AIPM hosted the inaugural meeting of the Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress, a collection of pain management stakeholders advocating for improved access to comprehensive, integrative pain management. At its second meeting in November 2018, approximately 100 healthcare leaders came together, including representatives of more than 70 professional associations, patient advocacy organizations, government agencies, public and private payers, and policy researchers.

Discussions are underway regarding ongoing leadership of the Policy Congress.

“There is so much important work that remains to be done as we exit the scene as an organization,” said Twillman. “We are comforted by knowing that we have contributed greatly to the field over the past three decades, and I know that, individually, we will all find ways to carry on this vital effort.”