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Pharmacy faculty member selected for new national pain management task force

Contributed • May 4, 2018 at 11:35 PM

Dr. Nick Hagemeier, an associate professor in the East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, is among just 28 individuals – and one of only two pharmacists – across the country appointed to a national task force charged with looking at best practices related to pain management.

Hagemeier was appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who established the task force as called for by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016.

The group is charged with determining whether there are gaps or inconsistencies in pain management best practices among federal agencies; proposing recommendations on addressing those gaps or inconsistencies; providing the public with an opportunity to comment on any proposed recommendations; and developing a strategy for disseminating information about best practices.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to serve on the task force. It’s certainly an honor – one I share with my team in the Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment and with my colleagues in the Gatton College of Pharmacy” said Hagemeier, who also serves as the research director of ETSU’s Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment.

“I was nominated for the task force by the American Pharmacists Association. I’m grateful for the faith APhA puts in me and look forward to representing APhA, ETSU and our part of the Appalachian region.

“It’ll undoubtedly be a challenging and rewarding experience. It’s one of those times that I feel both outrageously excited and overwhelmingly inadequate at the same time.

“Being appointed is a good reminder that the work we’re doing here is impactful. When working amidst the opioid epidemic, those reminders can sometimes be few and far between. I’m truly humbled and elated.”

The task force includes representatives of federal agencies including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy and non-federal individuals representing diverse disciplines and views.

Members include experts in areas related to pain management, opioid use disorders, mental health, minority health and more.

The group will meet at least twice a year, with the first meeting expected to take place at the end of this month.

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