The UM Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research (CACPR) arose from a strong foundation built on decades of successful pain research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). It also arose by recognizing that the complex problem of chronic pain requires a broad perspective. The CACPR is a multidisciplinary center composed of nationally and internationally renowned clinical and preclinical translational scientists whose principle research focus is on the physiological, genetic, and psychosocial underpinnings of the development and persistence of debilitating chronic pain conditions.

The CACPR is a campuswide entity, under the leadership of co-directors from the School of Nursing (Susan G. Dorsey, PhD, RN, FAAN) and the School of Dentistry (Joel D. Greenspan, PhD). CACPR seeks to promote cutting-edge basic, translational, and clinical biomedical research that will advance our understanding and treatment of chronic pain. As a catalyst for this process, the CACPR engages multidisciplinary research teams and scientist-clinician collaborations to address this critical health care problem, which is a burden to patients, their families, and society. Together, the faculty, staff, and student members of the CACPR bring together a unique collection of skills to create an exciting research environment that is primed to make great strides in the field of pain research.

Our Mission

The mission of the CACPR is to cultivate and expand the cutting-edge multidisciplinary pain research portfolio at the University of Maryland, Baltimore with the overarching goal of improved patient care and quality of life. We will achieve this goal by:

  • Advancing our knowledge related to the psychosocial, physiological, and genetic processes that underlie the development and persistence of pain.
  • Increasing the number and quality of multidisciplinary collaborative pain research projects.
  • Training the next generation of pain researchers at the postdoctoral and graduate levels.
  • Conducting randomized controlled clinical trials of pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions to improve pain management across a variety of clinical pain conditions.
  • Encouraging new collaborations and novel research initiatives via seed funding to enable submission of multi-investigator research projects.


In 1996, UMB recognized the importance of chronic pain as a significant health problem and established the Organized Research Center (ORC) for Persistent Pain in the School of Dentistry (SOD). The ORC focused its attention on the study of chronic pain and its possible treatment and was mainly supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center and R01 grants.

More recently, the School of Nursing (SON) has played an important role in expanding collaborative pain research on campus, including orchestrating the award of two interdisciplinary campus NIH Center grants. In addition, both SON and SOD faculty have successfully competed for multiple-PI NIH R01 grants across UMB schools. This interdisciplinary perspective recognizes that the problem of chronic pain requires a broad perspective and a significant financial investment.

In its June 2011 report, “Relieving Pain in America,” the Institute of Medicine documented that at least 100 million U.S. adults suffer from common chronic pain conditions, with national annual costs and lost productivity estimated to be in the range of $560 billion to $635 billion. In recognition of this greater need, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, established the Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research as a Universitywide organized research center.