Haslam names addiction commission

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday named members to the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education.

The commission, established by executive order as part of the TN Together plan to help end the opioid epidemic, is charged with developing competencies for Tennessee’s medical educational institutions to address proper treatment for pain, safe and effective prescribing practices, and proper diagnoses and treatment for individuals abusing or misusing controlled substances.

Once developed, the competencies shall be available for adoption by Tennessee’s medical educational institutions for best-in-class training for Tennessee’s future doctors, nurses, dentists and other prescribers.

“To be clear, this is not us telling medical and health care practitioner schools what their curriculum will be. This is a group of professionals from that field who will come together and design what competencies should be developed around evidence-based pain and addiction management,” Haslam said.

The commission will develop competencies for current and future curricula so that future prescribers receive instruction and training regarding, at a minimum:

• Effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, including alternatives to opioids to manage pain;

• The potential risks and effects of using opioids to treat pain, including physical dependency and addiction, and effective discontinuation of opioids;

• Proper identification of and treatment for patients demonstrating misuse or abuse of opioids; and

The commission consists of 19 members, appointed by the governor, which include representation from the state’s public and private medical educational institutions, the Tennessee Department of Health, a broad group of professional associations, and licensed health care practitioners.

• Professor Rex Hobbs, Assistant Dean and Program Director, Physician Assistant Studies, Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

• Dr. Brian A. Kessler, Vice President and Dean, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University

• Dr. Robert T. Means, Jr., Dean, Quillen School of Medicine, East Tennessee State University

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