The CHAllenges in Managing and Preventing Pain (CHAMPP) Clinical Research Center is housed within the University of Pittsburgh's Division of General Internal Medicine. It was founded in 2020 under the leadership of Dr. Jessica Merlin (Director) and Dr. Hailey Bulls (Co-director).

Our Mission

The mission of CHAMPP is to improve health and healthcare for patients with pain by building an interdisciplinary and inclusive collaborative of clinical pain researchers.

Guiding Principles/Action Plans

  1. Conduct high quality pain research: Advance the science in the field of pain prevention and management
    • Manage pain effectively in patients with complex presentations, such as individuals with serious illness and comorbid substance use disorder
    • Prevent the development of chronic pain, especially in people with serious illness
  2. Champion diversity and inclusion in research and practice: Promote diversity in clinical settings and combat racism and bias in academia
    • Serve as a diverse presence in the Pitt community that embodies diversity in race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability.
    • Provide research and mentorship opportunities for underrepresented minority trainees and faculty
  3. Create a campus-wide pain community: Provide a hub for researchers across campus to grow our community, share resources, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and ultimately advance the science in this field
    • Bring together University resources and centers (e.g., basic science-focused Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research; PCPR) and other clinical departments
    • Form interdisciplinary interactions required for innovation and rapid translation from discovery into clinical practice.
    • Provide opportunities for professional development and grant writing support (e.g. works in progress series; professional development grant)
  4. Cultivate talent: Mentor and train the next generation of pain researchers through formal and informal means
    • Mentor and support the involvement of undergraduate, graduate, and medical students in clinical and translational pain research
    • Support postdoctoral fellows as they move into independent scholarship
  5. Connect and grow: Serve as a central point of contact for researchers outside of the Pitt community to foster inter-institutional collaborations
    • Visiting speaker series
    • Visiting professors
  6. Communicate and disseminate: Translate important research findings in the field into practice, both locally and nationally
    • Implement pain prevention and management strategies in special populations (e.g., people with HIV) and settings (e.g., primary care, the emergency department)