Scott Fishman, M.D.
Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
Center for Advancing Pain Relief Big Idea
My Passion for this Big Idea
“I first got into the field of pain relief as a college student, at a time when concepts like the “runners high” and anesthesia from acupuncture were first becoming recognized. I was fortunate to get hired as a research assistant for a Harvard scientist who proved that endorphins were released with exercise and who eventually became one of the world’s leading pain specialists. A scientist who discovered the releasing factors of endorphins had recently earned the Nobel Prize. At the time, discovering that our brains could make their own morphine, suggested that we were close to fully understanding the pain alarm system. Although it was a colossal discovery, the endorphins ultimately raised more questions than answers. The mystery of pain was far from solved.
“These are the elements of a perfect storm that lead to serious problems, like the opioid crisis.”
Healthcare professionals and scientists still have much to learn about pain relief. I’ve continued to be motivated by how pain affects the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of my patients. Pain is the most common reason a patient seeks a healthcare provider, yet it is barely taught in our health professional schools, clinicians are vastly under resourced to treat its complexity, and we’ve invested less than one percent of the National Institutes of Health budget in the science of pain relief. These are the elements of a perfect storm that lead to serious problems, like the opioid crisis we see today. I am committed to seeing this change during my career.
If funded, the Center for Advancing Pain Relief Big Idea has the ability to dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals living with pain around the world – which, if you really think about it – means all of us.”