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A Message From the Coordinator
March, 2011
Although it’s March already, 2011 brought changes that you need to know about.  A new law (House Bill 2009) combines most state health-related programs into one new agency, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).  As part of this transition, the Oregon Pain Management Commission (OPMC) now resides within the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research, under the umbrella of the OHA.
In another change, I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Pain Management Coordinator.  During my first several weeks on the job, I have been reviewing past commission work.  I also had the opportunity to meet commission members at the March 3rd meeting. 
I was drawn to work with the OPMC because of my past clinical experiences working with individuals with acute and chronic pain.  I have worked as a registered nurse in hospitals and outpatient settings with patients with general medical and surgical issues, with cancer patients, and with patients with chronic illness such as genetic emphysema and hemophilia.  I also have experience providing case management for veterans in a VA clinic setting and for individuals receiving home infusion therapy.  I have assessed the needs of individuals residing in licensed nursing homes and community based care settings.
Most recently, I was employed by the Division of Medical Assistance Programs (DMAP), which oversees the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).  While at DMAP, I reviewed the quality of services that OHP recipients obtain through their managed health care organizations and collaborated in the development of program policies and rules related to medical and surgical health services.  In one of my roles, I coordinated transplant and complex out of state medical care for fee-for-service clients.
All of the above experiences have taught me that pain is a very complex issue.  Pain management is best addressed by the commitment of a team of health care professionals and the individual in pain to work together to find solutions.  This commitment may not always produce a totally pain-free life, but it certainly can increase the quality of life for the individual in pain. 
This is my first impression of the dedicated group of individuals who volunteer their time and expertise as OPMC members: they have an abundance of expertise from a variety of health care specialties and personal experiences and they are devoted to advancing pain management in Oregon.
During my interview for the Pain Management Coordinator position, I quoted some words of wisdom from author and poet, Maya Angelou:  “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”
My hope is that as I serve the OPMC and you, the people of Oregon, I will make you feel two things.  Figuratively, I want you to feel that I hear your concerns about the pain issues affecting your daily lives.  Literally, I want you to feel less pain in your lives as a result of the collaborative work that I do with the Oregon Pain Management Commission.  I look forward to serving you and to hearing about your concerns.
Kind Regards,
Kathy Kirk, RN