EPM: August 2020 Newsletter

By chris@csa.co.za August 7, 2020 17:14

EPM: August 2020 Newsletter

EPM: August 2020 Newsletter 9

Welcome to the second EPM newsletter of 2020. We hope you and your families are remaining safe and healthy during this challenging time. In this newsletter we explore some next steps for virtual EPM in this new world and update you on some of the other EPM happenings around the world.


Virtual EPM

With the dramatic spread of coronavirus around the world our education program has ceased in most parts of the world. This has however allowed many of us to explore alternative ways of teaching.

For some time (i.e. pre COVID-19) we have been exploring ways to improve access to EPM and several groups are now developing online or electronic versions of EPM. 

The first online program was developed for EPM Lite by Dr Linda Huggins at the University of Auckland back in 2014. Feel free to check it out at: http://www.flexiblelearning.auckland.ac.nz/pain-management

We are hopeful that some further e-learning resources specific to EPM will be available in the next 12 months.

With regards to running a new EPM program, our initial thoughts were that much of the “didactic” PowerPoint style teaching might be possible either with pre-reading and the use of an online module. However you will see that our South American colleagues can run a whole EPM Lite vitually! (See further down this newsletter.)

We know that when we ask for feedback from EPM groups that the most positive comments come from the interactive case discussions.

This leads us to ask how do we meet this need in our current COVID era? We have been exploring the use of Zoom meetings and believe that we can facilitate interactive case discussions using a facilitator or moderator in much the same was as we did face to face. 

To explore Zoom technology with our EPM friends, colleagues and instructors we plan to hold a series of EPM update sessions. The exact format is to be decided but we would like to encourage discussion in either English or local country language, have a local facilitator and perhaps one or two external facilitators, be of short duration (30 – 40 mins)and be primarily focussed on case discussions.


To take this concept further we would like to invite anyone interested to contact us by email at epm@anzca.edu.au. Please send us your name, country, preferred language and any other comments on this idea. We will then plan to email you a Zoom link at a specified time and date when you can connect to the session.

Zoom is relatively easy to use once you have explored the software a couple of times. 

We look forward to connecting virtually with as many EPMers as possible!

EPM around the world

World EPM Map BW D5 61 countries

EPM has been delivered in 61 countries. If you would like a copy of the above map for presentations or promotion please email us.

Delayed programs

We have had to cancel a number of programs that were in advanced planning stage for the first 6 months of 2020, including Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Sudan and Tunisia. We are sorry that we couldn’t make these commitments but we will be ready to go again when everyone thinks it’s safe to travel again.

United Kingdom – Helen Makins

EPM in the UK has taken a digital turn, in keeping with many areas of life recently.

The UK Faculty of Pain Medicine have been making progress towards incorporating EPM teaching into the undergraduate and postgraduate programs for doctors over a number of years. In the latter part of 2019 and early 2020, we agreed with the Medical Schools Council and the Foundation Programme Directors that we will produce an EPM learning resource specific to each curriculum. Feedback from our presentations to these groups was very positive, with appreciation that the understanding of pain could be improved amongst medical staff. This will mean that all medical students and newly qualified doctors in the UK will have access to an online EPM-based learning resource, to be housed within the e-Pain section of our wide-reaching e-Learning for Health platform.

Whilst this work has been slightly delayed by COVID-19, several of our regional EPM leads have been busy developing and delivering virtual EPM courses to medical students, using teleconferencing software. The feedback from these early courses has been excellent, with participants appreciating the ability to teach and be taught despite the disruption of social distancing.

 Alongside this, we continue to encourage the use of the Recognise, Assess, Treat structure when considering the management of even the most complex pain presentations. We have written a number of EPM-based case studies on topics such as complex regional pain syndrome and fibromyalgia, catering for our anaesthetic trainees and encouraging them to use the RAT framework.

We are continually looking for and finding new opportunities to promote EPM, raising the profile nationally.

Latin America – Carolina Haylock-Loor

On May 30, we facilitated a successful Latin America Virtual EPM Lite for 24 medical students via zoom. Seven Latin American EPM instructors participated. We used tools such as polling and breakout rooms to run smaller discussion sessions and swap between instructors. The workshop lasted five and half hours (but this can be optimized). The program included several brief breaks for coffee/tea and dynamics (stretching, dancing, native music, brain gym, etc.) to keep concentration levels high.

To register, students must have taken the Pathology class, which means they were more or less half way through their degree and had starting experience with patients.

 This was our first virtual EPM Lite experience and working (teaching and learning) with 24 millennials was amazing and challenging. Thank you all for the support WFSA, ANZCA, EPM, it was teamwork. The team of Latin American instructors worked very hard for this. EPM: August 2020 Newsletter 10


ANZCA been working with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to deliver Essential Pain Management to local Aboriginal health services in a pilot project. In 2019 workshops were facilitated in Townsville, Darwin and Bunbury. Further workshops scheduled in Tasmania have been postponed due to COVID-19.

EPM: August 2020 Newsletter 11


In February 2020, we were invited to upskill the Faculty at the two Medical Universities in Yangon and managed to complete the visit with no adverse effects from the early rise of COVID-19

Multiple EPM workshops were provided at the Universities of Medicine 1 and 2 in order to engage and train the lecturers for Medicine, Surgery, Paediatrics, Nursing, Pharmacology and Pharmacy. This was to promote pain management as an interdisciplinary educational model which will be progressed throughout the professional schools in Yangon.

EPM: August 2020 Newsletter 12

Papua New Guinea

EPM started in Papua New Guinea in late 2009 and we thought it would be a good time to review how EPM has travelled over the last 10 years.

To this end we undertook a very simple qualitative survey and reviewed the teaching activity. We put this together and have been able to publish this in the journal Anaesthesia and Analgesia. The editors also arranged for an Editorial on Pain Education.

Addressing the Challenge of Pain Education in Low-Resource Countries: Essential Pain Management in Papua New Guinea – Abstract

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a low-resource country in the South-West Pacific with considerable health care challenges, including a high burden of painful disease. The Essential Pain Management (EPM) educational program was developed to address the challenge of inadequate pain education in PNG and the first workshop was held in 2010. The aims of EPM are to improve pain knowledge, teach a simple system for managing pain, and address local pain management barriers. It is usually delivered as an interactive, multidisciplinary 1-day workshop with an emphasis on developing local solutions to local problems. The program includes an instructor workshop to encourage early handover to local health care workers. Between 2010 and 2018, a total of 42 one-day workshops and 6 instructor workshops were held throughout PNG, and 783 health care workers were trained, as well as 60 instructors. Over two-thirds of the 1-day workshops were taught entirely by local instructors. A shorter version of the workshop, called EPM Lite, was used to train 109 medical and nursing students. Program evaluation has included participant feedback (reaction) and preworkshop and postworkshop tests (knowledge) since inception. Evaluation of behavioral and organizational change has proved more challenging; however, a survey of past participants suggests some important behavioral changes and points to areas for formal research. The uptake of the EPM program in PNG is encouraging and suggests that there is a need for a pain management education program that is simple and easily adopted by local health care workers. There are still significant challenges, including a lack of funding, limited uptake at undergraduate level, the need for more formal evaluation of clinical impact, and the requirement for an all-of-system approach to improve pain management in PNG. Worldwide, EPM has now been taught in more than 60 countries. Our priorities for coming years include support for embedding EPM into health care systems and teaching programs, increased mentorship for instructors, assistance with overcoming local pain management barriers, and development of specific projects that will assess the impact of EPM education on patient outcomes.

This article can be accessed for free here, and the editorial on pain education (One Step Closer to Effective Pain Management Around the World?) can be accessed for free here

EPM resources


The EPM Mobile Application (“EPM App”) is available on both Android and iOS stores.


Updated ANZCA website

ANZCA has recently updated their website. Please check out the EPM page for EPM information and links to resources such as participant manuals and the online reporting tool.


EPM logo

As you know, the EPM logo has now been trademarked. If you would like a high resolution copy of the trademarked logo for your website or EPM materials please email us.

ANZCA: The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) is the professional medical body in Australia and New Zealand that conducts the education, training, and continuing professional development of anaesthetists and specialist pain medicine physicians.


Copyright Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists All rights reserved.

630 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004 Australia

By chris@csa.co.za August 7, 2020 17:14

Log In