“To be a global leader in comprehensive pain management solutions by undertaking cutting-edge research and delivering education and training to clinicians caring for people with chronic pain.”
An estimated 1 in 5 Australians experiences chronic pain, a condition which not only burdens the individual with reduced quality of life but can also compromise their ability to work and increase their risk of poorer mental health. In 2018, the total estimated cost to Australia of chronic pain was more than $139 billion.
In treating patients with chronic pain, health care providers often lack the knowledge, skills, and confidence to manage them. Frequently, there is an over-reliance on medications to address this complex problem.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this approach has proven limited, and it carries the risk of multiple unwanted side-effects over the long term. It is now recognised that chronic pain and its impact are driven by a complex interaction of psychological, social, and biological factors.
Accordingly, people with disabling chronic pain usually need management that addresses all these factors.
The Pain Management Research Institute’s ADAPT Program is an intensive multi-disciplinary, cognitive-behavioural treatment that helps patients learn ways of taking control of their pain and becoming self-reliant. The world class program has been led by Professor Michael Nicholas since 1994. He also led the development of the similar INPUT program at St Thomas’ Hospital London in the late 1980s. ADAPT is very close to TDM’s heart, with Tom, one of the founders of TDM, being a successful graduate. He describes it as a life changing experience.
While the program is life changing for many participants, there can be long wait times to participate in it and it alone cannot address the burden of chronic pain nationally. This initiative has been endorsed by the Federal Department of Health with their awarding of a four-year grant to a consortium of academics and clinicians from three states, led by Professor Nicholas, to develop a national pain management training program for health professionals. This program will now be enhanced by a grant from TDM.
With TDM’s support, the consortium led by PMRI is creating a leading-edge online education platform to facilitate the rollout of this training package. The end result will be a national health workforce with access to training in the core skills needed to manage pain patients using the same self-management approach promoted by ADAPT.
This means chronic pain patients will be able to access the “right training, at the right time, by the right team, in the right place” and not be dependent on a few specialist centres.
Our donation to this organisation is made possible through our relationship with Hearts and Minds Investments. Hearts and Minds Investments (HM1:ASX) is a unique listed investment company striving to deliver attractive equity investment returns for shareholders, while providing funding for Australian medical research. The HM1 portfolio is a mix of the highest conviction ideas pitched by invitation at the SOHN Hearts and Minds annual conference, as well as via the six core managers, of which TDM is proud to be included. HM1’s charitable goal is made possible by waiving typical investment fees and instead, making a donation to the suite of HM1 medical research beneficiaries. As such, TDM donates its proportion of the allocated 1.5% management fee via the TDM Foundation each year. We approached the donation opportunity as we would any of our potential investments, spending considerable time learning about the medical research industry, what challenges researchers are facing and what the most pressing health issues are on Australia’s horizon and what funding is available. We reviewed more than 70 medical research institutes with an aim to support institutes which are solving the most challenging problems with scalable benefits to the community. At the end of this exhaustive process, we feel privileged to support four projects, the researchers leading them and the institutes backing them.