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Continuing Education: Pain Management – An Overview of Social Work’s Potential to Enhance Care

Wednesday, March 10
6 – 8 p.m.

Pain is a multidimensional construct affected by biological, psychological, social, spiritual, and cultural factors. Health social workers have an enormous opportunity to influence the historical and current barriers to managing pain, including the racial and gender disparities that continue to impact care and access. Managing pain in collaboration with interprofessional colleagues requires an understanding of ethical challenges and the current political and public policy landscape surrounding pain management and opioid use. This landscape makes access more complex, demanding expert assessment and treatment plans to maximize effectiveness, with attention to structures to enhance safe prescribing. In addition to defining pain and associated suffering, participants will gain an awareness of the ethical, clinical, and policy aspects that invite social work advocacy and intervention, which are reinforced by the foundational principles of environmental context.

This class will be taught by Terry Altilio, LCSW, APHSW-C, and Bridget Sumser, LCSW, AHPSW-C.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of two continuing education hours.

About the Instructors
Terry Altilio is a palliative social work consultant with more than three decades of direct practice experience in palliative care, most recently in the Division of Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. She was a recipient of a Mayday Pain and Society Fellowship Award in 2006 and a Social Work Leadership award from the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America, which supported a post-graduate social work fellowship and a social work listserv, both of which are continuing programs. In 2013, Altilio was selected to receive the Project on Death in America Career Achievement Award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network. She lectures nationally and internationally on such topics as pain management, ethics, palliative care, and psychosocial issues in palliative care. She also lectures in post-master’s degree programs at NYU and Smith College, and is a guest faculty member of an internet course through California State University San Marcos. She is co-editor, with Shirley Otis-Green, of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work and, with Bridget Sumser and Meaghan Leimena, Palliative Care – A Guide for Health Social Workers.

Bridget Sumser became a social worker to help people living with serious illness and facing the end of life. Over the course of the last 10 years, she has worked across settings, supporting and advocating for patients, families, and community members affected by illness and facing the end of life. She received her M.S.W. from NYU Silver School of Social Work and completed a post-graduate fellowship in palliative social work at Beth Israel Medical Center. She is a Sojourn Scholar with the CAMBIA Health Foundation. In addition to her clinical work, she is a writer, educator, and co-edited Palliative Care: A Guide for Health Social Workers (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her practice is rooted in a commitment to social justice and understanding illness, and caregiving within the context of a unique life. Above all, she looks to promote connection and well-being.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.