Past events

2024 Juneteenth Event
Empowering Voices of Freedom: A Look to the Past for the Future of Authentic Engagement of Underrepresented Communities in Research

Monday, June 17th 
12 pm EST/ 9 am PST
Free Event and Open to the Public

The focus of this event was how to meaningfully engage minoritized people with lived experience of pain in research. This includes establishing true community partnerships, avoiding tokenizing, giving back to communities, enrolling, and retaining them in research. 

Click Here to Access the Event Recording


Dr. Staja “Star” Booker, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, University of Florida, College of Nursing 

Dr. Booker is a nurse scientist studying the lived experience of chronic pain in older adults. Her work in disparities and inequities focuses on osteoarthritis pain in older African Americans where she investigates movement-evoked pain, function, & pain self-management. Significant contributions include developing the first nursing clinical practice recommendations and a model for pain assessment and pain measurement in older African Americans. She has published over 80 articles & given numerous presentations. She is a recent past board member for USASP and current Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing. 

JoTerrica “Jo” Cross, DSW Candidate, MSW
Homeless Program Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs 

JoTerrica "Jo" Cross is an Army veteran and a member of the Pain/Opioid CORE Veteran Engagement Panel (VEP). With lived experience of chronic pain and opioid use, Jo contributes to advancing research by providing valuable insights and collaborating on various projects. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Social Work at the University of Southern California Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Jo's Social Work Grand Challenge is focused on ending homelessness, particularly among military veterans. She has made significant contributions as a member of the Veterans programs on the Homeless Team, working diligently to end veteran homelessness in Minnesota.

Regina Greer-Smith, MPH, LFACHE
President/CEO, Healthcare Research Associates, LLC 

Regina Greer-Smith is President/CEO of Healthcare Research Associates, LLC, a community-based organization in California.  Regina’s mission includes building and maintaining collaborations between communities and stakeholders that enable improved healthcare outcomes with a  primary focus towards addressing issues of health disparities and health inequities in vulnerable populations/underserved, minority, and communities with elevated risk. Regina collaborates with numerous academic medical centers with researchers, stakeholders and interest holders creating guidance and programs to ensure DEI in clinical trials worldwide. 

Regina holds a Masters Degree in Public Health and a Life-Fellow (board certification) with the American College of Healthcare Executive.  She maintains memberships in the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine/Pacific Coast Region, as well as an Ambassador for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) since 2014. She was a member of PCORI’s Inaugural Advisory Panel for Patient Engagement.  She has co-authored numerous reports and manuscripts with research teams on engagement and collaborations between researchers and minority communities.

Brittany Dorsonne (she/her)
Clinical Research Coordinator
Stanford University School of Medicine 
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine 
Division of Pain Medicine – Pain Relief Innovations Lab 



At the Intersection of Substance Use Disorder and Pain: Current and Future Directions

This 1-hour webinar explored current research in the fields of substance use disorder and pain with a focus on cannabis and polypharmacology. 


Nicholas Bush, MS is a 5th year doctoral student in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in the Minnesota Alcohol and Pain Lab (MAPL).  Mr. Bush's research focuses on measurement development, behavioral psychopharmacology and neuroimaging of pain and substance use. Beginning in the Fall, Mr. Bush will be transitioning to a postdoctoral position at Brown University in the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. 

Presentation Title: A Brief Screening Tool for Risk of Self-Medication of Pain with Substance Use

Summary: Substance use and pain are both growing public health concerns globally. Evidence suggests that individuals may use substances in order to self-medicate their pain. The Catastrophizing, Anxiety, Negative Urgency, and Expectancy (CANUE) model was developed to provide a theoretical foundation for the modifiable risk factors implicated in self-medication of pain with substance use. This presentation will focus on using the outcomes from the CANUE model to develop and validate a brief clinical screening tool to identify individuals at risk for self-medication. 

Deondra Asike, MD is double board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine. She is a Clinical Associate in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force and deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2013.  Dr. Asike is currently serving a second term on the Maryland Department of Health Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Board. Additionally, she chairs the Maryland Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council and The Maryland State Medical Society Cannabis Committee.  Dr. Asike is a certifying provider with the Maryland Cannabis Administration. In 2022 she founded National Pain ReLEAF, a consultation practice primarily focused on guiding both patients and members of their healthcare team through a safe and effective incorporation of cannabis into a comprehensive pain treatment.  

Presentation Title: Update on Evidence for Cannabis Use in Chronic Pain

Summary: There is growing support for cannabis legalization in the United States and cannabis use for the purposes of chronic pain management remains a top listed reason.  This presentation summarizes scientific findings published within the last 3-5 years regarding the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for the purposes of chronic pain treatment. It will highlight key findings and takeaways from preclinical, clinical, and observational studies.  

Dr. Joao De Aquino is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and serves as the Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU). In addition to treating patients with substance use disorders, as a board-certified addiction psychiatrist, Dr. De Aquino is the Founding Director of the NIH-funded Pain and Addiction Neuroscience Interaction (PAIN) Lab. His work applies the techniques of behavioral pharmacology, multimodal assessment of pain, and clinical trials towards translating advances in neurobiology and improving the treatment of pain and addiction.

Presentation Title: Investigating the Intersection of Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Opioid Use Disorder: Clinical Perspectives and New Research Frontiers

Summary: I will present findings from a recently completed human laboratory study that examined the acute analgesic, subjective, and cognitive effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, in individuals undergoing methadone therapy for opioid use disorder. This presentation will discuss the current state of evidence regarding cannabinoid-induced analgesia in this population and explore developing methodologies for assessing the balance between therapeutic benefits and adverse effects in opioid use disorder. 

Members can watch the recording here



The Intersection of Pain and Trauma: Current and Future Directions 

Date: Wednesday 2/28/24 
Time: 11am EST

Join us for a 1 hour webinar that explores current directions in the field of pain and trauma, as well as a discussion of where the field is going. The speakers, Drs. Anna Hood and Melanie Noel, will present on their current research and will lead a discussion with questions from audience members. Registrants are encouraged to submit questions for the speakers before the webinar to ensure they are answered during the discussion.

Dr Anna Hood is a lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester, and she is the Policy Director of the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology. Anna’s graduate and clinical training were completed in the US and UK. Her research focuses on the biological, psychological, and social challenges faced by pediatric patients living with pain. Her work has a particular focus on children and young adults with sickle cell disease and includes an anti-racism framework to eliminate pain inequities.

Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and a Full Member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. She directs the PEAK (Pain Education, Advocacy, Knowledge) Research Laboratory within the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada.

Dr. Noel’s expertise is on children’s memories for pain and co-occurring mental health issues and pediatric chronic pain. She published guiding conceptual models of children’s pain memory development, co-occurring PTSD and chronic pain, and fear-avoidance (190 peer-reviewed papers; H index = 44). In recognition of her contributions to advancing knowledge of the psychological aspects of children’s pain, Dr. Noel received early career awards from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the Canadian Pain Society, the American Pain Society, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Society of Pediatric Psychology. She was named Avenue Magazine Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (Class of 2017), a Killam Emerging Research Leader (2020), and holds the inaugural the Killam Memorial Emerging Leader Chair (2021-2026). In 2022, she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

Members can watch the recording of this event here



The webinar focused on skills and tips for negotiating academic job offers in the early- through mid-career stages. The speakers, Drs. Burel Goodin and Jessica Merlin, had substantial experience in this area. Registrants could submit questions for panelists before the webinar to ensure they were answered during the discussion.

Members can watch a recording of this event here


Bridging Gaps in Pain and Medical Research Among Marginalized Communities: Reflections on the Past and Future Directions for Better Recruitment and Engagement

2023 Juneteenth Event

Members can watch a recording of this event here.

Event: June 22nd from 3:00-4:00pm ET

Join us for the USASP Juneteenth Seminar to learn and discuss the complex history of clinical research in marginalized communities, including past lessons and future opportunities. This webinar will also foster an open discussion on proactive strategies for greater inclusivity in pain research, particularly pertaining to recruitment, engagement and retention of marginalized individuals in clinical studies.


Anna Hood, PhD is a lecturer in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health and is a member of the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology. She is trained as a clinical psychologist and is licensed in the US and HCPC registered in the UK. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at UCL, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. Her graduate and clinical training were completed in the US at Washington University in St. Louis, Children’s Minnesota, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has been the recipient of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health to fund research focused on the cognitive and psychological challenges faced by children and young adults with sickle cell disease. Specifically, her research aims to 1) promote self-management, patient engagement, and medication adherence, 2) identify interventions and the underlying neural mechanisms to improve cognitive impairments in patients with sickle cell disease, and 3) include an anti-racism framework in research, psychological treatments, and the clinical care of patients experiencing pain.

Jonathan Jackson, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Community Access, Recruitment, and Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. CARE investigates the impact of diversity and inclusion on the quality of human subjects research and leverages deep community entrenchment to build trust and overcome barriers to clinical trial participation. His research focuses on midlife and late-life health disparities in clinical settings that affect underserved populations. Dr. Jackson also works as a cognitive neuroscientist, investigating the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the absence of overt memory problems. He has become a well-known representative to underserved communities and dozens of affiliated organizations, particularly regarding participation in clinical research. Dr. Jackson serves on the leadership team of several organizations focused on community health, and has written guidance for local, statewide, and national groups on research access, engagement, and recruitment.

Cassandra Trimnell is a prominent advocate for individuals living with sickle cell disease,
renowned for her role as the founder and executive director of Sickle Cell 101 (SC101). As the
first child diagnosed with sickle cell disease through the Iowa Newborn Screening Program in
1987, Trimnell has dedicated her life to bridging knowledge gaps and addressing the needs of
the global sickle cell community. Under her leadership, SC101 has flourished, offering
unparalleled digital platforms that generate real-time community insights and patient experience
data. With over 50,000 followers from 115 countries, SC101's social media presence has
become a trusted resource, reaching millions annually. Recognized for her expertise, Trimnell
has received accolades, including the prestigious "Community Champion" award from the Sickle
Cell Disease Association of America. A sought-after speaker and consultant, she contributes
her patient advocacy to influential boards and committees, such as the NIH-NHLBI's Sickle Cell
Disease Advisory Committee and the American Society of Hematology's Sickle Cell Disease
Coalition. Trimnell's significant contributions encompass collaborations on impactful projects,
including the New England Journal of Medicine's "Sickle Cell and Gene Therapy Patient and
Physician Perspectives" video series and the NHLBI's Cure Sickle Cell Initiative. Her tireless
dedication and unwavering commitment have solidified her as a respected leader and advocate
for all stakeholders affected by sickle cell disease, inspiring innovation in education, research,
and awareness to improve the lives of countless individuals and families impacted by sickle cell.


Troy Dildine, PhD, is a T-32 Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine within the Pain Medicine division. Dr. Dildine obtained their PhD, focused on health disparities in pain, through the NIH Graduate Partnership Program between the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Clinical Neuroscience Section at Karolinska Institute. Dr. Dildine’s research aims at tackling health disparities by 1) better understanding social and perceptual biases in medical providers and 2) identifying risk factors (e.g., discrimination and medical mistrust) and targets for intervention for more severe and frequent pain observed in marginalized patient populations. Dr. Dildine sits on several committees related to health equity and DEIA-related initiatives, including their current role as Social Media and Outreach Chair for the USASP Diversity, Inclusion, and Antiracism SIG.




Last Updated on Monday, June 26, 2023 03:37 PM
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