Read AAPMRs Opioid Position Statement

Navigating the Opioid Crisis: Perils, Pitfalls, and Practical Alternative Treatments Course

This course is provided by AAPM&R in collaboration with Vanderbilt University.

May 1-2, 2020

Vanderbilt University 

Located at Light Hall
2215 Garland Ave
Nashville, TN 37232


The opioid crisis has been declared a national emergency.  Physiatrists are at the forefront of treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions, and are frequently asked to manage pain as a method of improving function in inpatient and outpatient settings.

This course is designed to assist practicing physiatrists in the management of opioid therapy, including alternative treatments to opioids in treating chronic pain.  It is intended to be a real-world, clinically-applicable series of didactics and interactive case discussions. The participants should leave the course feeling confident in their ability to prescribe opioids safely with a high degree of efficacy, and to be able to protect themselves and their patients from the potential ramifications of opioid prescription. 


"The opioid epidemic has garnered international press over the last few years.  Exposes regarding opioids have been features in Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, just to name a few. In fact, the opioid crisis has been labeled a public health emergency in the United States. Physiatrists should be on the cutting edge of all research related to rational and safe prescription of opioids and alternative treatments for acute, subacute, and chronic pain. This course is designed to educate our fellow Physiatrists and also to create community leaders in opioid management.  I believe that this course will present necessary information for all Physiatrists to know and therefore is a can't miss opportunity." - Ameet Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAPMR, Course Director

Sharma_headshot"Physicians are well aware of the risks associated with opioids and have been strongly encouraged to reduce opioid prescriptions but have not received concise, practical information on how to best minimize and manage opioids. This course fills that void and empowers physicians treating pain. It provides a forum for concrete discussions and useful recommendations including the exploration of non-opioid treatments." - Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR, Course Director


Learning Objectives:

At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Implement practical techniques for managing patients using safe prescription of opioids.
  • Employ risk stratification tools for patients regarding their potential for opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction.
  • Apply integrative medicine and non-opioid adjuvant treatments in practice.
  • Optimize practice strategies and patient satisfaction in situations in which opioid therapy is not indicated.
  • Utilize safeguards to ensure personal safety when treating patients using opioids
  • Obtain an overview and understanding of the federal laws and regulations pertaining to controlled substance prescribing.

Who Should Attend:

This course is designed for physiatrists* who treat patients with pain in the inpatient and outpatient settings, including both opioid and non-opioid strategies.

*While the course is designed for physiatrists, any physicians or advanced practice providers are welcome to attend.

Directors and Faculty:

Course Directors 

Ameet Nagpal, MD, MS, Med, FAAPMR
Assistant Professor, UT Health San Antonio, Department of Anesthesiology, San Antonio, TX

Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
Rothman Institute, Assistant Professor, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 


Ross D. Whitacre, MD, FAAPMR
Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center PM&R Program, Nashville, TN


Maxim S. Eckmann, MD, UT Health Science Center - San Antonio
David A. Edwards, MD, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center - Anesthesiology Department
Ari C. Greis, DO, FAAPMR, Rothman Institute
D.J. Kennedy, MD, FAAPMR, Vanderbilt University Medical Center PM&R Program
Gerald A. Malanga, MD, FAAPMR, New Jersey Sports Medicine LLC
Richard Tucker, Drug Education Consulting Group
Landrew Sevel, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
James V. Sporleder, Consultant, Security Expert
Steven P. Stanos, DO, FAAPMR, Swedish Medical Group



white blockFriday, May 1


7:00 am – 8:00 am 

Breakfast & Registration

8:00 am – 8:30 am Welcoming Remarks, Course Format

Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR and, Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR

8:30 am – 9:15 am The Epidemiology of the Epidemic  

Maxim S. Eckmann, MD

9:15 am – 10:00 am So You’re Going to Prescribe An Opioid: Indications, Management, Monitoring, and Expectations 

David A. Edwards, MD, PhD

10:00 am – 10:30 am Break
10:30 am – 11:30 am The DEA, Medical Practitioners, and the Opioid Epidemic

Richard Tucker

11:30 am – 12:00 pm Q&A
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm    Lunch
12:45 pm – 1:30 pm Rational Chronic Pain Therapy & the Burden of Patient Satisfaction

Steven P. Stanos, DO, FAAPMR
This session will discuss strategies for how to “satisfy” patients and protect your practice while providing appropriate care to patients seeking opioids when they are not clinically indicated.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Practice Safety:  Protecting Yourself and Your Staff from Violence

James V. Sporleder

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Break
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm  Interactive Case Discussion: Recognizing and Treating Addiction, and How to Manage Challenging Patient Encounters

This case-based session will focus on different aspects of recognizing and managing patients at risk for or suffering from opioid addiction, and unique and challenging patient scenarios that physiatrists may face in day-to-day practice of pain and opioid management.  Participants are invited to bring their own cases to share and get feedback.

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Reception


Saturday, May 2

7:00 am – 8:00 am  Breakfast
8:00 am – 8:15 am Welcome and Debrief from Day 1: Any questions or hot topics?

Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR and, Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR

8:15 am – 8:35 am Communication with Referral Sources

Moderator: Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
This session will include a practical discussion of how to partner with other providers such as ER and primary care physicians to prepare patients for referral when prescribing opioids. 

8:35 am – 10:05 am Non-Interventional Alternatives to Opioids in Pain Management: New Directions
          8:35 am – 9:00 am

Ross D. Whitacre, MD, FAAPMR

          9:00 am – 9:25 am Mindfulness

Landrew Sevel, PhD

          9:25 am – 9:50 am Functional Medicine

Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR

          9:50 am – 10:05 am Q&A
10:05 am – 10:20 am Break
10:20 am – 11:50 am Interventional Alternatives to Opioids in Pain Management:  New Directions
          10:20 am – 10:45 am New Horizons in Neuromodulation (High Frequency SCS, DRG stim, PNS, etc.)

Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR

          10:45 am – 11:10 am Large Joint Ablation – Better Evidence Than Any Other Treatment? (Shoulder, Hip, Knee, Sacroiliac Joint)

D.J. Kennedy, MD, FAAPMR

          11:10 am – 11:35 am Regenerative Medicine – Current State of the Evidence

Gerald A. Malanga, MD, FAAPMR

          11:35 am – 11:50 am Q&A
11:50 am – 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm  Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain: An Alternative to Opioids
Ari C. Greis, DO, FAAPMR
This session will discuss the evidence base for cannabis as an option, as well as regulatory issues from a federal perspective, including the ability to prescribe and do research.
1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Non-Opioid Treatment Options

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm   What will you take back to your practice? Parting Thoughts and Group Discussion of Key Concepts
3:00 pm Adjourn


The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Designation of Credit:

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 


Early Bird RateAvailable before February 28, 2020

Member - $695
Non-Member - $850

Standard RateAvailable after February 28, 2020

Member - $850
Non-Member - $995

Hotel Information:

Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University
2555 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 321-1300

AAPM&R has secured a rate of $259.00 per night (plus tax) if booked before Thursday, April 2, 2020. You can book by calling the hotel phone number above and referencing the “AAPM&R Pain Course”.

Air Travel

As an option, air travel reservations may be made by calling TruTravel Solutions, the official travel partner for AAPM&R.

Phone: 844-878-8728 (x101 or x102)
Email: or

TruTravel Solutions hours are Monday – Friday. 8:30am - 5:00pm (Central Time). TruTravel Solutions charges a $25 per ticket transaction fee.

Cancellation and Change Policy:

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Attn: Customer Service
9700 Bryn Mawr Ave, Ste 200
Rosemont, IL 60018

Cancellations will not be accepted over the phone or via email. Refer to your course start date to confirm the cancellation level on the schedule below that you will follow.

Cancellation Levels

60 days prior to course start date (March 2, 2020):
Cancellation Fee = Forfeiture 50% of registration fee

30 days prior to course start date (April 1, 2020):
Forfeiture of 100% (full) registration fee

All refund requests will be processed within 7-14 days once proper notification is received.

Please contact with any questions.

Visit the AAPM&R Pain Management page to learn about additional Academy initiatives.