The inaugural PICH2GO Toronto meeting (November 09-10, 2016) was a wonderful event organized by the Pain in Child Health Institute (PICH) in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, Canada). Four members of the Pain Hub at the University of Ottawa were in attendance, (Dr. Ana Claudia Vieira, Shokoufeh Modanloo, Carolyn Truskoski , and Ahmad Ismail).
The goal of PICH2GO Toronto was to engage, empower, and educate families, trainees, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers to make the world a less painful place for kids. Over the course of two days, we had the opportunity to engage in many inspiring educational and networking sessions. These in
cluded: 1) The Coping Circus, 2) The Researcher Networking Dinner, 3) The Conquering the Hurt Conference, and 4) The Art From The Heart Exhibit.
The Coping Circus was the starting point of the meeting. It was hosted by The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids). On the main floor (Garden Atrium Patio) of Sick Kids, we paired with other healthcare professionals (Nurse, Pharmacist, Physician) to educate children and families about pain and how the health care team can help them to manage their pain. Many children and families from different cultures attended, and asked about pain, the pain management team and their roles. We hope by answering their questions that we raised their awareness about pain, and how a pain management team can partner with them to help manage pain. The Coping Circus gave us the opportunity to directly interact with children and families and gain insight into their concerns regarding what mattered to them about their pain and their questions, concerns and experiences with a pain management team.
The Researcher Networking Dinner was an exceptional event that collected PICH trainees and some of the world’s top pediatric pain researchers and scientists together for some thoughtful activities and conversation over dinner. Through an interactive round table discussion, we had the opportunity to introduce our research projects and then receive constructive feedback from pain experts and from other PICH trainees. While the dinner was proceeding, Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell presented a very powerful workshop on how to deliver an inspiring speech. The Researcher Networking Dinner was an opportunity to meet, interact, and build professional relationships between PICH trainees and pain scientists.
The Conquering the Hurt Conference included many interactive sessions. Each participant had the chance to attend three presentations related to pain and body, mind, or spirit. To start off the conference, Dr. Stefan J. Friedrichsdorf (Medical director of the Department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in Minnesota, Minneapolis) presented on multimodal strategies for pain management with a focus on non-pharmacological strategies. Specifically, how to engage children in effective methods for pain management with less adverse effects compared to pharmacological interventions. The conference also included an interactive panel discussion with an adolescent with chronic pain, her family and some of her pain management team. Hearing the child and her family’s experience about their involvement with the healthcare system and the challenges they overcame to address their concerns and medical needs was inspiring, yet clearly demonstrated how much work there is still to be done in promoting chronic pain awareness in children. The conference was completed with a culturally sensitive session on pain awareness and management of Aboriginal children.
The last session of the PICH2GO Toronto meeting was a beautiful exhibit titled, “Art From the Heart”. Aboriginal Children drew powerful paintings that described the pain they feel. In addition, an Aboriginal singer (using one of the Aboriginal languages) sang aboriginal songs where the lyrics are thanking the creator for everything he gave to the Aboriginal people. Lastly, Dr. Margot Latimer (Dalhousie University) and John R. Sylliboy (Aboriginal Consultant, Policy Analyst and Researcher) gave a presentation to raise awareness and to bridge the gap in our understanding of how Aboriginal children feel and express pain.
In conclusion, the PICH2GO Toronto meeting included different learning modalities. We were able to interact and speak with children and their families about their pain and the pain management team they could see. We had the invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss our research projects with some of the world’s top pediatric pain experts and with other PICH trainees. We all learned a lot from the Conquering the Hurt Conference. We also gained insight about aboriginal pain through the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Exhibit. The PICH2GO Toronto meeting was a successful event that we wish to be run again in the future.
To learn more about Pain in Child Health (PICH) visit their website: