Chronic Pain. Research to Action

Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats
23 min readSep 14, 2020

Jessica DeFrank about chronic pain, reducing opioid use, research to action, risk tolerance, technology pre- and post-Covid, informed decision-making & families


Why my fascination with chronic pain? So many people have it? Pain is often silent, hidden, personal, universal, misunderstood, devastating, mysterious, sapping, infuriating, inexplicable, unique, varied. Wow, just scratching the surface and piercing the heart. Managing pain draws on almost everything we know about managing life well at a time when we can’t manage a thing. On the other hand, when successful, pain management to live life, can be most satisfying. Poetic, isn’t it? My series on pain management collects personal stories, mine and others — people with pain, clinicians, partners, academics, activists, device makers, and more.

Introducing Jessica DeFrank

Today I’m joined by Jessica DeFrank. Dr. DeFrank conducts behavioral and health services research for various studies funded by the US Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and American Cancer Society. Her areas of interest include health decision making, measurement of patient-reported outcomes and attitudes, and evaluation of health promotion programs, with a focus on cancer, screening, prescription drugs, and vaccination. Dr. DeFrank has also worked extensively in the area of communicating scientific information to lay audiences and leads an experimental study testing recommended practices for communicating uncertainty about prescription drug risks. In addition to her work in prescription drugs, Dr. DeFrank has extensive experience working in cancer-related decision-making, psycho-oncology and survivorship issues.

Health Hats: Jessica DeFrank. Thanks for joining me today. I think we met at an RTI gig. You work for RTI. I’m a consultant on the gig. We’ve had some communication around how a patient-facing pain app looks and about usability, and I think we both said, ‘so what.’ We might have used different words. Please introduce yourself.

Jessica DeFrank: My name is Jessica DeFrank, and I work at RTI International at the Center for Communication Science. We are a…

Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats

Empowering people traveling together toward best health. Pt with MS, care partner, nurse, informaticist, leader. Focusing on learning what works for people