TN Gov. Haslam establishes Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday named members of 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
  • Utilization of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.

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.

Commission members include:

  • Dr. John E. Blake, III, Medical Director, Specialists in Pain Management
  • Dr. Christopher R. Edwards, Chief Medical Officer, Maury Regional Health
  • Dr. Cherae M. Farmer-Dixon, Dean, Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry
  • Dr. Linda Hill, Professor, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Nursing
  • Professor Rex Hobbs, Assistant Dean and Program Director, Physician Assistant Studies, Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Dr. April Kapu, Nurse Practitioner and Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Advanced Practice, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Dr. Brian A. Kessler, Vice President and Dean, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University
  • Dr. Veronica T. Mallett, Senior Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College
  • Dr. Robert T. Means, Jr., Dean, Quillen School of Medicine, East Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Sarah Melton, Professor, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Bonnie Miller, Senior Associate Dean, Health Science Education and Executive Vice President Educational Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Dr. Wendy Nehring, Dean, College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University Professor Bret Reeves, Director, Physician Assistant Program, Trevecca Nazarene University
  • Dr. David Sain, Director, Tennessee Dental Association Wellness Committee
  • Dr. Leslie Shepard, Pharmacist owner, Community Pharmacy Care, Inc.
  • Dr. Terry Stevens, Pharmacist, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. David Stern, Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs for Statewide Initiatives, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Dr. Stephanie G. Vanterpool, Director, Comprehensive Pain Services, Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
  • Dr. John Dreyzehner, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, Chair of

The commission shall create a report to be delivered to the governor no later than July 31, 2018. More details on the TN Together plan, including help for those suffering from addiction and other resources, can be found at

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