The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training – Our meeting in Pittsburgh

“The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training”

Physicians, Researchers and Chronic Pain Patients coming together to learn from one another.

Location: David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



David L. Lawrence Convention Center



The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity Training”

for Patient Centered Outcomes Researchers (PCORI)

On May 16th, 2017, Lisa Davis-Budzinski traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on behalf of the Central Pain Nerve Center to attend a meeting called “The Patient Voice in Cultural Diversity”. This was a training event for Patient Centered Outcomes Researchers (PCORI) from the University of Maryland. This experience was put together specifically for healthcare professionals to meet with and learn from chronic pain patients.

After weeks of correspondence & planning, it was such a joy to finally meet Dr. Olivia, John, Myra and everyone who took the time to make sure all the logistics were properly in place for this event to occur and to make us patients feel welcome and our knowledge respected. As I sat with dozens of patients, doctors and researchers, I thought to myself, “I know that if I have 30 years experience in the healthcare world, I cannot imagine the total number of collective health care hours that are in this meeting room among all of us!”

meeting room.jpg

It was truly wonderful to speak with and listen to the doctors and researchers and to learn more about how they think. This helped us, as patients, to know exactly what feedback was helpful for them, especially when dealing with cultural diversity and patients who are non-fluent in medical terminology, or have limited education or intellect.

After a full day of talking and listening to one another, we were all pleased with the outcome. A few of the finer points that we learned together were:

  • Doctors and researchers are taught to think along the lines of strategic thinking. Just like anyone of us working at our careers, they are thinking about the job at hand, not acting like they are at a personal cookout, sitting back and visiting with friends and family.
  • On the other hand, pain patients are with the doctors/researchers on some of their very worst days, perhaps the absolute worst times of their lives and they deserve a fair amount of emotional depth and adequate support from their healthcare providers.
  • Healthcare is entering a transformation stage of the next generation of health graduates that have already worked their first 5 years. That is the perfect time for this generation of healthcare workers to make a shift into new training. Taking the step of collaborating with chronic patients is a huge leap forward.
  • The physicians and researchers were genuinely enlightened with the information and knowledge that we chronic pain patients provided them. They learned that being able to take a step back to look at disparities provides a whole new perspective.
  • Since the majority of doctors/researchers are in the infancy stage of their life long career, it can be almost impossible for many of them to understand what it’s like to lose their career after many years or decades. Physicians must try to comprehend how deeply this affects their patient. Also, that some chronic pain patients may have put in 25+ years and were at the height of their profession when a disease ripped their career right out from under them and the life they once knew is forever gone.
  • It is of the utmost importance to respect those patients for they are very intelligent, and to not postulate that all patients have no training, degrees or years of experience or expertise.
  • Efforts should be put forth on both sides. Along with doctors learning about their patients, Chronic pain patients need to learn every aspect of their condition, disease, syndrome, etc. Learn the medical terminology and understand it. This will make conversations during visits less stressful for both doctor/researcher and patient.

This meeting of the minds put patients, physicians and researchers on a level playing field. Along with discussing methods of successful treatment modalities, we found important new partnerships and lasting friendships with like minded people. We were thrilled to take part in this event and look forward to more collaboration between healthcare providers, researchers and patients.



*Note: The University of Maryland will use the information provided by participants during this meeting to create educational reference tools for each person who attended. We look forward to sharing these on our website in the future.





*University of Maryland

*PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute)

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