Healthcare professionals attending the largest pain management conference in the United States may learn a thing or two about treating pain the “West Virginia Way.”

Mark Garofoli, a pain management expert at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy is providing multiple presentations at PAINWeek, an interprofessional conference for frontline clinicians interested in pain management.

Garofoli, the School of Pharmacy’s director of experiential learning and a clinical pain management pharmacist in the WVU Medicine Integrative Pain Management Center, will address three topics including the appropriate utilization of “muscle relaxants,” improving patient care with a deeper knowledge base of illicit drugs and prominent pain management efforts in the Mountain State.

Garofoli says it’s imperative that West Virginia has a “place at the table” in the national conversation about the intersection of the opioid crisis, pain management and substance-use disorder (i.e., addiction).

“West Virginia often lacks representation at events like this,” said Garofoli. “But, sometimes the best possible solutions come from the places where things are perceived to be the worst.”

West Virginia dominates the headlines with the most overdose deaths in the country. But Garofoli says there is another story that is rarely told.

“Some phenomenal efforts to address the opioid crisis are originating in our state, and they are gaining recognition among healthcare professionals in the U.S. and across the globe,” said Garofoli. “There is terminology out there referring to these efforts as the ‘West Virginia Way.’

One of the positive examples that Garofoli will talk about in one of his presentations is the Safe and Effective Management of Pain (SEMP) Guidelines developed by 20 experts in West Virginia from numerous healthcare professions including three professors at the WVU School of Pharmacy. The SEMP Guidelines build upon the Center for Disease Control’s 2016 chronic pain opioid guidelines by providing a specific risk reduction strategy and clinical pain treatment algorithms (not found in any other pain guidelines across the globe).

2018 marks the 12thannual PAINWeek which runs through Saturday, Sept. 8. To learn more visit