Educating physicians in family medicine residencies about nonpharmacologic approaches to pain: Results of an online integrative course

Ann Marie Chiasson, Audrey J. Brooks, Mari Ricker, Patricia Lebensohn, Mei Kuang Chen, Victoria Maizes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Opioid misuse is at an all-time crisis level, and nationally enhanced resident and clinician education on chronic pain management is in demand. To date, broad-reaching, scalable, integrative pain management educational interventions have not been evaluated for effectiveness on learner knowledge or attitudes toward chronic pain management. METHODS: An 11-hour integrative pain management (IPM) online course was evaluated for effect on resident and faculty attitudes toward and knowledge about chronic pain. Participants were recruited from family medicine residencies participating in the integrative medicine in residency program. Twenty-two residencies participated, with 11 receiving the course and 11 serving as a control group. Evaluation included pre/post medical knowledge and validated measures of attitude toward pain patients, self-efficacy for nondrug therapies, burnout, and compassion. RESULTS: Forty-three participants (34.4%) completed the course. The intervention group (n=50), who received the course, improved significantly (P<.05) in medical knowledge, attitude toward pain patients, and self-efficacy to prescribe nondrug therapies while the control group (n=54) showed no improvement. There was no effect on burnout or compassion for either group. The course was positively evaluated, with 83%-94% rating the course content and delivery very high. All participants responded that they would incorporate course information into practice, and almost all thought what they learned in the course would improve patient care (98%). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of an online IPM course as an effective and scalable intervention for residents and primary care providers in response to the current opioid crisis and need for better management of chronic pain. Future directions include testing scalability in formats that lead to improved completion rates, implementation in nonacademic settings, and evaluation of clinical outcomes such as decreased opioid prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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