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Pain Management: An Overview of Social Work's Potential to Enhance Care

Date and Time

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
12 - 2 p.m. ET

Registration will close at midnight of the day before the class.

Offered via live webinar.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of two (2) continuing education hours.

Chronic pain and pain associated with serious or life-limiting illness impacts the lives of millions of people who engage with health social workers across settings and diagnoses. Pain is a multidimensional construct affected by biological, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural factors. Health social workers have enormous opportunity to influence the historical and current barriers to managing pain including the racial and gender disparities that continue to impact care and access. Managing pain in collaboration with interprofessional colleagues requires an understanding of ethical challenges and the current political and public policy landscape surrounding pain management and opioid use. This landscape makes access more complex, demanding expert assessment and treatment plans to maximize effectiveness, with attention to structures to enhance safe prescribing. In addition to defining pain and associated suffering, its scope and impacts, participants will gain an awareness of the ethical, clinical and policy aspects that invite social work advocacy and intervention which are buttressed by the foundational principles of environmental context and starting where the patient is.


  1. Integrate clinical, policy and ethical aspects of pain as a focus of social work intervention. 
  2. Identify the historical and current barriers to effective pain management. 
  3. Introduce the International Association for the Study of Pain definition of pain including differentiation of pain and suffering, chronic and acute.
  4. Apply social work values including commitment to social justice and competence to the clinical focus of pain management.  
  5. Review the racial and gender disparities that continue to impact care among marginalized persons who live with pain. 
  6. Identify the range of interventions available to social workers to enhance care, influence policy and mitigate disparities

Terry AltilioTerry Altilio, LCSW, APHSW-C

Terry Altilio is a palliative social work consultant with over three decades of direct practice experience in palliative care, most recently in the Division of Palliative Care at Mt Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center. She is a recipient of a Mayday Pain and Society Fellowship Award in 2006 and a Social Work Leadership Award from the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America, which supported a social work post graduate fellowship and a social work listserv, both of which are continuing programs. In 2013, Terry was selected to receive the Project on Death in America, Career Achievement Award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network. She lectures nationally and internationally on topics such as pain management, ethics, palliative care and psychosocial issues in palliative care. She lectures in post-masters programs at NYU, Smith and is guest faculty in an internet course through California State University San Marcos. In addition to co-authoring publications, she is co-editor with Shirley Otis-Green of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work and most recently co-editor with Bridget Sumser and Meaghan Leimena of Palliative Care – A Guide for Health Social Workers.

Bridget SumserBridget Sumser, LCSW, AHPSW-C

Bridget Sumser became a social worker to help people living with serious illness and facing the end of life. Over the course of the last 10 years, she has worked across settings, supporting and advocating for patients, families and community members affected by illness and facing the end of life. She received her MSW from NYU Silver School of Social Work and completed a post-graduate fellowship in palliative social work at Beth Israel Medical Center. She is a Sojourn Scholar with the CAMBIA Health Foundation. In addition to her clinical work, she is a writer and educator and co-edited Palliative Care: A Guide for Health Social Workers (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her practice is rooted in a commitment to social justice and understanding illness and caregiving within the context of a unique life. Above all, she looks to promote connection and well-being.

Class fees are listed below:

  • Full Tuition - $60
  • GSS Alumni - $50
  • Current Fordham Field Instructor - $50
  • Current Fordham Adjunct Faculty - $50
  • SWHPN Member - $50
  • 3+ members registering from one agency - $40 per registration
  • Non-Fordham Current MSW or Social Work PhD Student - $40
  • Veterans - $40
  • Fordham Faculty and Staff - $40
  • Current Fordham MSW or PhD Student - $30
  • Fordham Alumni Palliative Care Fellow - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellowship Field Instructor/Career Mentor - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellow - $0

You will receive the Zoom link for joining the class by the day before the class. You will need a computer and a reliable WiFi connection. The computer may be a desktop or a laptop. It may be an Apple or Windows computer.

If you have never used Zoom before, you will likely be prompted to download an applet, which is a small program that allows Zoom to communicate with your computer. This is safe and you will need to do this to join the class.

It is NOT advised that you participate using a table (e.g,.an iPad) or a cellular phone. The software is not optimized for these devices.

Please plan to join the online class 15 minutes before the start time to be sure that you don’t have any problems connecting. We cannot provide technical support to you and refunds won’t be offered if you have technical problems. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us at at least a few days before the class.