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The Catalyst

Cancer pain researcher named ARROW Eminent Scholar

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations

University of Illinois’ Dr. Diana Wilkie, left, receives the ARROW Eminient Scholar Award. photo provided

Helping cancer patients communicate their pain to their physicians and practitioners has been the foundation of Diana J. Wilkie’s research for almost 30 years. The internationally recognized cancer pain researcher spoke about her work as the 2014 recipient of MUSC ARROW (Advancement, Recruitment and Retention of Women) Initiative’s annual Eminent Scholar Award.

“I’m very honored and proud to receive this award,” said Wilkie, during her first visit to Charleston on Oct. 16. “It’s fabulous that your institution is supporting women in science and advancement through this program as it’s so critical in research today. Everyone at MUSC should be proud of their efforts especially in this area.”

A native of Colorado, Wilkie has devoted her work and research to exploring cancer pain and end–of–life issues. She has been continuously awarded research grants from numerous organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute for Nursing Research, American Cancer Society, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Wilkie is the Harriet H. Worley Endowed Chair for Nursing Research and director of the Center for Excellence for End–of–Life Transition Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During the lecture, Wilkie spoke about advanced pain control and interdisciplinary research. She focused on the need for cancer patients to accurately communicate their pain to their providers using technology and create better pain assessment methods. Two developments from her research include the computerized PAINReportIT and PAINRelieveIT programs which have made dramatic steps to improving pain assessment and management in health care settings.

“Today’s providers have a short time to spend with every patient, and more often, they never get to hear a patient’s entire story as it relates to pain. We need to find better ways to help patients tell their story. With my pain study, patients were able to share more information by answering questions using a computer or tablet. Then we’re able to take this data and provide consultation notes for the provider to help recommend more effective medications that can help the patient manage their pain,” said Wilkie.

Aside from her presentation, Wilkie met with MUSC palliative care nurses and clinicians and nursing faculty as well as ARROW Initiative steering committee members, throughout her visit.

Wilkie received her nursing degree from Mesa College in 1982 and went on to earn her master’s and doctorate in nursing research from the University of California in San Francisco. A writer, nurse educator, entrepreneur, and lecturer, Wilkie is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and served multiple terms as the American Cancer Society Professor of Oncology Nursing. She also was founding president of the Nursing Pain Association and the founder and chairman of eNURSING LLC, a small business established in 1999 that creates, develops, tests, and distributes evidence–based, electronic tools that support and facilitate patient–centered health care.

December 7, 2014



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