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  • Writer's pictureFuture Shakers Events

Pain Futures Summit

Unfortunately, I've had to make the difficult decision to cancel Pain Futures Summit.

While the event had a strong in principle interest, early registrations didn't reach needed goals to make the required revenue to make the event financially viable, especially with a heavily discounted attendance price to promote accessibility, the event sponsorship drive was not hugely fruitful, and cross promotion wasn't widespread, although I am very grateful to a number of supporters who made a concerted effort to promote the event to their networks. Cost of living challenges in Australia's inflationary environment no doubt had their part to play as well. 

All event registrations have been cancelled and refunded.

I'm taking time to regroup and find other ways to raise awareness of the needed changes to pain related practice and policy in Australia. I'm in discussion with Chronic Pain Australia around how we might repurpose some of the Pain Futures program as part of National Pain Week which would be a wonderful outcome.

This isn't a topic to be addressed only at fundraiser dinners for the rich and powerful centred largely on tax deduction dollars, for government policy reps to throw brief glances at, without appropriate ICD status level funding for this $8 billion dollar annual burden, or for pain related practitioners to discuss in their narrow circles with a sense of self congratulation and top-down only consumer engagement, or for academics setting out to announce how this one great new app will finally fix the pain problem by teaching us all how to "be more mindful" in their search for ongoing research recognition and funding.

The views and lived experiences of those of us who live in acute, chronic, or constant pain, sometimes life long experiences like mine, they matter. Regardless of how much less energy and money is invested in amplifying our own voices, they matter. We must not stay relatively sidelined, disempowered, silent and small. We need to take practical agency in determining our own better futures.

I congratulate any of you working on elevating consumer voices in your own practice.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this vision might change form in collaboration with CPA and other pain advocacy bodies, quite possibly for the better.

Thursday 22 February 2024 107 Projects South Eveleigh, Sydney

Centering lived experience and emerging evidence in pain management Registration and more event info now available at Earlybird 1 registration is now open with a $60 discount off the final fee.

Set of neon signs saying "No Pain Like This Body" and "No Body Like This Pain"

As someone who lives with lifelong chronic pain from serious birth related injuries, pain is a topic that is always pretty close to home. Access to pain related therapies and services has been challenging for me, even as a fairly empowered person living in a central metropolitan area, and the level of Medicare or state Government health funding for pain related services really doesn’t reasonably meet my needs, or those of many others in a similar or worse condition.

While innovations in pain management science and technologies, excellent coordinated work in developing national strategic approaches to pain, and a growing focus on highly scalable best practice multi-disciplinary team approaches to pain care have been driving real reform, pain is still a growing national challenge with massive negative health, quality of life and productivity implications. According to Painaustralia, 1 in 5 people live in pain every day, impacting around 3.6 million Australians. 68% of people living with chronic pain are of working age, and 40% of early retirement in Australia is due to chronic pain. Chronic Pain Australia’s 2023 annual Australian Pain Survey took around 3000 responses from people with a lived experience of chronic pain, and disturbingly exposed that over 76% have mental health issues, over 74% are unable to work normally, 45% of respondents are self-medicating with harmful substances, and 50% of respondents had even thought of taking ther own lives.

In 2023, only $2.5 million dollars of Federal health funding was devoted to addressing the service gaps in National Pain Strategy implementation. Painaustralia and Deloitte’s 2018 study into the annual national economic burden of pain valued it at around $80 billion dollars a year. As Nicolette Ellis, President of Chronic Pain Australia recently observed, this is greater than the annual costs of heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. Globally, pain is being increasingly recognised as a serious disease in its own right amongst the medical community under ICD-11, but it’s not currently being broadly treated with the same health economics lens as other major diseases in terms of local funding.

I’ve been moved to launch a one-day national summit deeply considering both human dignity and experience and the latest cutting-edge pain research, bringing together a diverse and balanced nationwide discussion around the future of pain related policy and pain management practice, and actively amplifying the reach of the voices of people living with chronic pain.

The inaugural Pain Futures Summit will be held on Thursday February 22nd 2024 at 107 Projects South Eveleigh, Sydney. This innovative hybrid summit will bring together health practitioners, pharmacists, researchers, pain therapists, policy makers, therapeutic industry regulators, care workers, evidence-led advocates, and most importantly, every day people living with acute and chronic pain from across Australia, sharing their challenges, ideas and real world experiences. Pricing will be tiered to promote a high level of participation from people with a lived experience of pain, to ensure their voices are prioritised in discussion and debate.

Pain Futures will explore key developments in pain related policy and pain management practice including:

  • An update on the important multidisciplinary work towards the National Pain Strategy and National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management, strategic changes over time and progress in implementing them, major gaps and challenges, and the path forward

  • Sharing outcomes of Chronic Pain Australia’s 2023 National Pain Survey and the Chronic Pain AAA framework of Awareness, Availability and Affordability and why that should guide policy decision making around pain management

  • Cost pressures affecting people experiencing acute and chronic pain including the significant impacts of ongoing pain on income

  • Centering lived experiences and quality of life in pain care - Informing better pain management practice through shared decision making and learning from people in pain

  • Improving safety without stigma - Balancing critical harm minimisation considerations with dignity, privacy and best practice pain relief in opioid reduction and real time prescription monitoring programs

  • Creating health economics and evidence informed funding models for pain care in primary care and beyond - Funding pain care in a manner recognising the ICD status of chronic pain as a disease and acknowledging it’s significant economic and productivity cost to Australian society

  • Examining the critical role of appropriately funded social support in the biopsychosocial model of pain care - the importance of social support in helping people to find pathways to effective pain treatment and rehabilitation

  • Expanding the availability and accessibility of high quality patient centred pain care through health workforce education

  • Informing policy with the latest evidence-led and patient centred research around pain management

  • Advancing and investing appropriately into best practice evidence-led research into patient-centred pain management practices

  • Multidisciplinary approaches treating the physical, psychosocial, medical, vocational and social aspects of pain

  • Creating a sense of safety and taking a trauma-informed whole person approach to distress in pain related care

  • Best practice persistent pain care - How do we ensure quality of life for people with chronic pain that takes a long time to dissipate, or will never go away?

Our event goals in this inaugural year are:

  • Elevating the voices of people with a lived experience of pain and their contribution to pain management practice and related policy in a positive, supportive and constructive setting

  • Amplifying the reach of important reforms and innovations in pain management practice and policy

  • Continuing a multi-stakeholder approach to implementation of the National Pain Strategy and National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management, assessing progress to date, key gaps, emergent new priorities, and ideal frameworks for clearly measuring and monitoring progress

  • Catalysing meaningful and mutually respectful collaboration towards better outcomes for people living with acute or ongoing chronic pain in Australia

Pain Futures Summit will be convened with strong facilitation support, onsite counselling, and a clear code of conduct to ensure a respectful, constructive and progressive setting for this important discussion. I'm in the final stages of developing the event and extending invitations to a diverse range of stakeholders focused on consumer advocacy, latest pain related research, pain related therapies, relevant policy makers, and of course, crucially, other people with a lived experience of acute and or chronic pain.

I’ve had strong interest so far and am delighted to have confirmed the following presenters and event partners to date: - Tara Moss, Pain Champion, Painaustralia and Canadian Pain Society and Bestselling Author - Delivering a keynote opening address centred on the importance of creating a mental and cultural shift in society around how we view pain and pain sufferers, as 3.6 million Australians live with chronic pain, 53.8% are whom are women (1.81 million) and 46.2% men (1.56 million). According to Tara, “We need better funding, better pain treatment and solutions, and the stigma and issues around pain and invisible disabilities needs to shift. There is an urgent need for a mental and cultural shift around pain and pain sufferers.” - Giulia Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Painaustralia Monika Boogs, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Painaustralia - Providing an update on the important multidisciplinary work towards the National Pain Strategy and National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management, strategic changes over time and progress in implementing them, major gaps and challenges, and the path forward. - Fiona Hodson, Vice President, Chronic Pain Australia, Co-Chair, Pain Management Network, Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW Health, Pain Management Clinical Nurse Consultant, Hunter Integrated Pain Service and immediate Past President of the Australian Pain Society (APS) - Sharing outcomes of Chronic Pain Australia’s 2023 National Pain Survey and the Chronic Pain AAA framework of Awareness, Availability and Affordability and why that should guide policy decision making around pain management. - Renee Rankin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Pain Management Association Limited - Simon Ashton, Pain Advisory Council Member, Australian Pain Management Association Limited, Clinical Trial Coordinator, Health104 - Dr Emma Karran, Research Fellow, Innovation IMPlementation And Clinical Translation (IIMPACT) in Health, University of South Australia, Project Lead, The ISSHOOs Project'. Identifying Social Factors that Stratify Health Opportunities & Outcomes (ISSHOOs) in Pain Research - Joyce McSwan, Clinical Director of the Gold Coast Primary Health Network ‘Turning Pain into Gain’ program, Managing Director of PainWISE, President, Australian Pain Society - Dr Andrew Watson, Director of Anaesthesia, Pain and Perioperative Medicine, Calvary Hospital, Senior Staff Specialist, Pain Management Unit, Canberra Hospital, Lecturer, Australian National University Medical School - Alice Fung, Pain Advisory Council Chair, Australian Pain Management Association Limited, Occupational Therapist, AF Occupational Therapy - Dr Katherine Brain, Accredited Practising Dietician and Research Academic (Nutrition and Dietetics), University of Newcastle and Hunter Integrated Pain Service, Secretary, Chronic Pain Australia - Kay Orchison, Disabled Artist, Musician, Writer and Activist - Professor Michael Nicholas, Director, Pain Education Unit, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Director, Pain Management Programs, Pain Management and Research Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital Associate Professor Elizabeth Devonshire, Senior Lecturer, Pain Management Research Institute, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney - Dr Duncan Sanders, Senior Lecturer, Pain Management Research Institute, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney - Dr Simone de Morgan, Senior Research Officer, The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics, School of Public Health, University of Sydney - Dr Ian Thong, Pain Specialist Physician and Neuroscientist, Medical Director, Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital Suzanne Nielsen, Deputy Director, Monash Addiction Research Centre - Carly Findlay OAM, Writer, Speaker, Disability and Appearance Activist Kim Allgood, Founder, CPRS Awareness, The Purple Bucket Foundation Inc - Dr Johanna Lynch, Senior Lecturer, General Practice Clinical Unit, Medical School, University of Queensland, Australian general practitioner with 15+ years of experience working as a psychotherapist and clinical researcher focussed on adult survivors of childhood trauma and neglect

If you're interested in collaborating or want to find out more about speaking, attendance, sponsorship and partnership opportunities, send me a message or email me at

Register now for the best available rate - Earlybird 1 tickets available at

Pricing for people with a lived experience of chronic and/or acute pain has been discounted to ensure their voices are prioritised in discussion and debate.

Alicia Boyd profile image, curator of the Future Shakers series

Alicia Boyd is the producer of Future Shakers, a series of timely and meaningful events and insights focussed on disruptive positive change. Convened by her events and media production business Stronger Ground, the series will set out to shake up the current trajectory of humanity for the better.

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