Bad Breadth: The Role of Bias, Stigma, and Social Determinants in Pain Care

What might be “the holy grail” of modern pain education involve? Management of chronic pain that incorporates pain ratings, functional impact, and the patient’s individualized narrative, bringing about a more successful outcome and increased patient satisfaction. We may not think about things that potentially influence pain treatment outcomes and adherence like “personal devaluation” or “invalidation”—examples of internalized stigmas that patients with chronic pain all too often experience. Coupled with implicit and explicit biases that healthcare professionals and patients may bring to the clinical encounter, the matrix of chronic pain management may be more complicated than we think. This session will identify, explore, and confront common biases, stigmas, and social determinants of health that frequently go unnoticed, undetected, and unaddressed in the pain assessment process and treatment plan formulation. These may negatively impact patient adherence, treatment success, and patient and clinician satisfaction.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the potential negative impact that bias, stigma, and social determinants of health can have in the assessment and treatment of pain
  • Identify the difference between equality and equity in the treatment of pain
  • Distinguish between implicit and explicit bias
  • Describe strategies that can be employed to help mitigate the negative outcomes resulting from bias, stigma, and social determinants of health in pain care

Additional Information

Tarsus Medical Education
State Relevance: 
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AANP Contact Hours
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacy
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 1.00 ANCC
  • 1.00 APA
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD, FACIP, FACPE, FAAP


Nothing to Disclose


  • 1.00 AANP
  • 1.00 ACCME (All Other)
  • 1.00 ACCME (MD/DO Only)
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacy
  • 1.00 ANCC
  • 1.00 APA

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AANP Contact Hours
  • 1.00 ACPE Pharmacy
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 1.00 ANCC
  • 1.00 APA
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Pain Care