President’s Message–Looking Ahead to 2022

Harry J. Gould, III MD, PhD

Once again, it is time to begin a brand new year.  Since I stepped into the role of president of the Southern Pain Society, we as a society have experienced moments of promise with the release and early encouraging responses to vaccines to thwart the COVID-19 pandemic. These advances fostered the hope of resuming in person meetings, but the resurgence of the pandemic due to the delta variant dictated that this was not to be.  Despite the setback, we were able have a very successful, albeit virtual, poster session in September through the hard work of the board and MAHEC organizers who are dedicated to fulfilling the mission of the SPS to serve people living with pain by advancing research and treatment and to increase the knowledge and skill of the regional professional community.

Clearly with the emergence of the omicron variant, 2022 will not be without its challenges, but the planning committee is optimistically anticipating that we will be able to host our annual meeting at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, October 8-10, in person.  The committee has doubled their efforts to identify major challenges and topics of special concern to patients and pain practitioners in all specialties during these extraordinary times of isolation, to pull together a program that will offer ideas to help mitigate the challenges and improve the delivery of pain care to those in need. Of particular interest in 2022 will be a first look at the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association’s review and update of the challenges and management of complex regional pain syndrome that is scheduled to be released just prior to the meeting. Topics addressing the role of ketamine in pain management, approaches to the treatment of migraine headache and beyond, the challenges of managing cancer pain in the midst of the ‘opioid crisis’, and the delivery of pain care in times of isolation are being explored to round out the program, to stimulate thought and provide a basis for discussion.  I encourage everyone to ‘Save the Date’, register for the meeting and even consider actively participating by submitting an abstract to inform and draw attention to concerns or observations that may be helpful to colleagues in their practice and stimulate discussion. I hope to see you there.