USF Pain Management Fellow Heads New Holistic Pain Clinic
A recent graduate of the USF College of Nursing’s Advanced Pain Management Fellowship has been appointed the lead provider and a consultant at two new chronic pain clinics aimed at combating the opioid crisis with an innovative holistic approach.
Kellon Smith, MHS, CRNA, NSPM-C, heads the pain management clinic at WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital and is a consultant at the Garrett Regional Medical Center, both in West Virginia, geared toward offering alternative treatment methods for patients struggling with chronic pain.
The medical center and hospital were awarded a $600,000 federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to open the pain clinics.
Smith, who was the chief certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) at the hospital, said a local pain management clinic was sorely needed. The nearest pain treatment facility was across the state line in Maryland and the closest one within West Virginia was about 100 miles away.
Smith said when he proposed the pain clinics to hospital administrators, he envisioned a program that offered a non-narcotic, holistic approach encompassing multidisciplinary practices.
He enrolled in the advanced pain management fellowship at USF for its specialized training.
“The fellowship helped me tremendously,” Smith said, adding that not only did he gain expertise in the pain process and its treatment, but the program also helped him establish relationships with pain management colleagues across the country who had similar practice goals.
Smith is the first CRNA in West Virginia to be a board certified non-surgical pain management specialist.
“The chronic pain realm was really new to me,” Smith said, adding that the fellowship’s instruction and guidance helped him build on his regional anesthesia experience and train to be a non-surgical pain management specialist.
John Maye, PhD, is the coordinator for the USF advanced pain management fellowship and said Smith’s success is a testament to the program’s training.
“This is a validation by the federal government of the advanced pain management and fellowship training of CRNAs,” he said. “In my opinion, this is quite possibly the biggest achievement of the USF pain fellowship and CRNAs in general.”
Hospital officials said the goal of the centers is to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions in the area by using alternative approaches to pain management. Treatments will include nerve blocks, Botox injections, spinal cord stimulation, radio frequency ablations, and other innovative approaches.
In addition, the clinics will offer access to ancillary services shown to have a positive impact on chronic pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and meditation. Counseling services and consults with certified dieticians will also be a part of the program.
Smith said reducing a patient’s reliance on medications from the start will have a big impact on lowering opioid dependence.
“It’s going to greatly help the situation by reducing the opioids circulating in the community,” he said.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing