Dr. Robert Jamison is a Professor at Harvard Medical School with appointments in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Psychiatry, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His professional time is spent teaching and actively engaging in research. His recent research has focused on the examination of predictors of opioid abuse in chronic pain patients, patient engagement and numerous clinical trials funded by the NIH and industry. He has been research mentor to several attending physicians and graduate students at Harvard and other institutions. He also has assisted the coordination of clinical research within the Pain Trials Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Has been principal investigator on several NIH-funded projects. He is currently a member of five scientific journal Editorial Boards. He has authored two books, and over 300 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and abstracts in the areas of behavioral medicine and chronic pain. He has been active and held board positions in many regional, national, and international organizations such as the American Pain Society and the International Association for the Study of Pain. He has been the past president of the New England Pain Association and have served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the American Pain Society. He is committed to the clinician teacher/trainer model and is a very important figure in clinical research.
Contributions to Science
1. Psychological predictors of chronic pain.
His early published work was broadly addressed in the field of pain. His research has spanned many topics but the underlying theme has been the identification of psychological factors and profiles that impact pain and pain treatment. He has demonstrated ability to collaboration with colleagues representing many disciplines and as such have had significant impact in exposing the importance of psychology to many different medical fields. His most recent research has focused on psychological factors in opioid use in pain patients. He published a series of critical studies investigating the effects of opioids on neuropsychological functioning, cognition and memory in pain patients. He investigated psychological factors that predict opioid abuse in chronic pain and developed a score to predict opioid abuse in pain patients. His research on the effects of long-term opioid therapy in chronic pain has been very influential in the raging controversy regarding whether opioids are appropriate treatment for chronic pain. They are highly cited and have advanced the field of pain medicine and medical practice.
2. Risk assessment for misuse of opioids.
His most important work has been accomplished with the creation and validation of tools designed to assess risk of opioid misuse among chronic pain patients prescribed opioids for pain. The first validated tool, Screener and Opioid Assessment for Pain Patients (SOAPP), has been used by thousands of clinicians to determine whether patients need close monitoring because of risk for misuse while prescribed opioids for pain. The SOAPP was revised (SOAPP-R) to incorporate subtle items and he was also involved in creating and validating the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM), which is a questionnaire designed to assess risk of current prescription opioid misuse. Finally, he was also involved in the development and validation of the Opioid Compliance Checklist. There tools have been revised to shortened versions and have been used widely in clinical practice.
3. Role of innovative technology in the assessment and treatment of pain.
Another area of interest has been with innovative technology in assessing and managing chronic pain. He was involved in the first longitudinal validation study of the use of electronic diaries for pain assessment. He helped to validate the electronic visual analogue scale (eVAS) using standard psychophysical techniques for evaluating the psychometric properties of self-reported sensory and verbal ratings. He was also involved in studies with chronic back pain patients who were asked to monitor their pain every day for one year with a handheld computer and results were compared with matched patients who used paper diaries. Those using electronic diaries showed remarkable compliance (89.9%) with daily monitoring throughout the year, (100% for 7 days each month compared with 55.9% for the paper diaries) attributable in part to the 2-way messaging that the patients received every time they entered diary data. The use of eDiaries has now become standard practice in most clinical trials.
Dr. Ross holds the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Harvard Medical School. He is an internationally known clinician with referrals from around the world, treating individuals in Boston or their home country. His experience as the Director of the Pain Management Center at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has stimulated his research into improving ways to engage patients, improve compliance, and track outcomes. Under his leadership the Pain Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been recognized three times as a national center of excellence by the American Pain Society. The center has also been recognized as having one of the leading chronic pain fellowships. He has published many articles, multiple book chapters and either edited or written 5 books on pain management, disease state management and the development of pain management centers of excellence. He has lectured nationally and internationally on many different topics involving pain, opioid risk assessment, disease management, population health, novel treatments and interventional therapies. Dr. Ross’ present projects include treating chronic pain in professional athletes, and the impact retirement has on pain physiology and novel ways to improve therapy. He has been actively involved in studies on pain assessment, prognostic factors that impact outcome, and developing treatment algorithms for pain management in primary care settings. He has consulted for many organizations, including the Harvard School of Public Health, national network television stations, leading pharmaceutical firms, and medical consulting companies. Patient engagement, compliance with treatment and improving outcomes has long been a focus of his research and clinical expertise.
Contributions to Science
1. Developing treatment pathways for chronic pain.
Pain is the most common presenting complaint in patients seeking care. Primary care doctors are often not sufficiently trained to manage pain in patients when they first present themselves. Dr. Ross has been interested in developing approaches that help to reliably screen, diagnose, classify, and treat persons with chronic pain, and to identify best practices when managing patients with chronic pain. Dr. Ross’ research has been focused on coordinating care to connect pain center expertise with front-line providers who initially see challenging patients, with the goals of helping to ultimately reduce costs and improve outcomes.
2. Developing virtual interdisciplinary teams.
The interdisciplinary team approach has long been the paradigm of treatment for chronic pain. Unfortunately, many chronic pain patients that would benefit from this approach do not have access to this resource because of distance, availability or their own disability that might interfere with travel. Connected health or mobile health (mHealth) holds considerable promise to improve availability. Dr. Ross has focused on new ways to connect patients with treatment resources that would fill the void and overcome these barriers that interfere with state of the art care that everyone should have access to.
3. Drug and therapy development for pain.
Chronic pain is one of the most important public health problems worldwide. Chronic pain’s impact leads to inactivity, obesity, psychological distress and perpetuation of the leading causes of disability today, non-communicable diseases. His research includes new ways to treat chronic pain through the development of new targets and in implants that show promise for combating the dual epidemics of unmanaged pain and opioid misuse.