The Pain/Opioid CORE supports multiple domain-based workgroups to help promote scientific study; identify research gaps and priorities in pain management and opioid use disorder (OUD) health services research; and facilitate networking and career development of VA pain/opioid researchers.  Pain/Opioid CORE Workgroups - VA Intranet Site (VA account required).


Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Perioperative Care Settings Workgroup

Co-Chairs: Will Becker, MD and Thomas Hickey, MD

Backgorund: The Perioperative MOUD workgroup has focused on the use of medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD), specifically buprenorphine, in the perioperative care setting. A priority area of interest has been in safety and optimal use of MOUD during the preoperative, operative, and postoperative care periods. This workgroup takes a multidisciplinary approach to identifying and recommending best practices in care coordination, care planning, MOUD administration, and multimodal analgesia in the perioperative setting. 

Products: The Perioperative MOUD workgroup intends to generate recommendations and strategies for optimal use of buprenorphine and other MOUD in the perioperative care setting.

Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Synergy Workgroup

Chair: Adam Gordon, MD, MPH

Background: The VHA has established addressing the rising numbers of Veterans with opioid use disorder (OUD) as a national priority, with a recommended and standard treatment for OUD being medication treatment for OUD (MOUD). There have been multiple strategies and operational initiatives to improve access to and implementation of MOUD treatment. To facilitate improved access, these programs have become especially focused on non-addiction care settings, such as outpatient primary care, mental health, and pain care environments. Characterizing and understanding the ongoing initiatives and identifying and prioritizing research gaps in MOUD care are the main priorities of the MOUD Synergy Workgroup.

Products: The MOUD SYNERGY workgroup intends to generate a series of recommendations for strategies for the VHA to address research gaps, operational coordination, and research-operational partnerships to improve MOUD care.

Heterogeneity of Treatment Effects (HTE) in Pain- and Opioid-Related Research Workgroup

Chair: Kelli Allen, PhD

Background: The Heterogeneity of Treatment Effects (HTE) workgroup involves researchers and clinicians with expertise in pain- and/or opioid-related treatment interventions, as well as experts in statistical approaches to evaluate treatment effect heterogeneity. The HTE workgroup aims to bring a common, systematic, and rigorous approach to evaluating treatment effects in pain/opioid related research.

The focus of this workgroup is understanding factors that predict patients’ response to various treatments for pain and opioid use/misuse, using state-of-the art statistical methods. The goals of the HTE workgroup are to advance the science surrounding understanding of treatment response and support work that leads to practical clinical recommendations regarding tailoring of pain/opioid treatment approaches.

Products: The HTE workgroup plans to provide best practice recommendations to researchers, as well as consultations for specific projects, related to studying the effects of interventions for pain, including opioid use.