Download project fact sheet (PDF)

chronic pain low back headaches neuropathyCo-led by Feng Chang, Tejal Patel and Beth Sproule, this project is developing, implementing and evaluating new pharmacist services to better manage chronic pain in urban and rural communities.

Members: Jane Jurcic and Lalitha Raman-Wilms
Research assistant: Heba Tallah Mohammed

Master’s candidate: Mo Chen
Student researcher: Hamed Tabeefar

Research goals

This project has three broad goals —

  1. To determine the attitudes, perceptions and knowledge of community pharmacists about chronic pain, in particular headache disorders, low back pain and painful diabetic neuropathy
  2. To determine how the core chronic pain clinical competencies, including pharmacotherapeutic management and safe opioid use, can be incorporated into a specialized training program for pharmacists
  3. To determine the feasibility, acceptability and clinical impact of a pharmacist-led clinical service program to manage chronic pain in community pharmacies and family health teams

This project is using a mixed-methods research design that incorporates both quantitative sources of data (demographic data, surveys, measures of pain) and qualitative sources (interviews, measures of quality of life) to address the perspectives of pharmacists, patients and physicians. Additional outcomes of interest are the quality and clinical significance of pharmacists’ interventions, acceptance of recommendations, satisfaction of patients, pharmacists and physicians, and the impact of service delivery.

The project work is being conducted over three phases —

Phase 1 involved a survey-based environmental scan of practicing rural and urban community pharmacists. Results from this phase of research have been used to inform the development of the training program in phase 2.

During Phase 2, project researchers developed and delivered a specialized training program that included a service delivery model for pharmacists managing chronic headaches, low back pain and painful diabetic neuropathy.

In phase 3, rural and urban pharmacists who are willing and assessed as ready to integrate the program into their clinical service are being enrolled in a project that investigates the feasibility and impact of the clinical service model.


Pharmacists are being trained to provide chronic pain management services, including preventing and reducing the long-term use of pain medications. Return on Ontario’s investment is being measured using data on opioid use, pain management control, and satisfaction of patients, physicians and pharmacists in rural and urban communities.

Learn more about this project

Journal publications
  1. knowledge perceptions and-attitudes toward chronic painPatel T, Chang F, Mohammed HT, Raman-Wilms L, Jurcic J, Khan A, Sproule B. Knowledge, perceptions and attitudes toward chronic pain and its management: A cross-sectional survey of frontline pharmacists in Ontario, Canada. PLOS One, 2016;11(6): e0157151. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0157151.
Recent presentations

2015 Canadian Pharmacists Conference • Ottawa, ON • May 28–31, 2015

  • Survey of community pharmacists: Knowledge, perceptions and practice related to chronic pain (poster, abstract as PDF)
    Patel T, Chang F, Khan A, Raman-Wilms L, Jurcic J, Coulston B, Sproule B
  • Emerging chronic disease prevention or management programs by community pharmacists: A systematic review (poster, abstract as PDF)
    Chang F, Khan A, Wong K, Patel T

2014 Canadian Pharmacists Conference • Saskatoon • May 31–Jun 3, 2014

  • Chronic pain stakeholder engagement workshop (poster, abstract as PDF)
    Cheng F, Khan A, Patel T, Grindrod K, Aoki K, Chen K, Milic A, Mercer K, Sproule B