Professor asks for public’s help with pain research

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Professor Pat Schofield A professor studying the subject of chronic pain is inviting people from all walks of life to help with her research.

Pat Schofield, Professor of Nursing at the University of Greenwich, wants volunteers from all backgrounds, and of all ages, to take part in discussion groups and sit on advisory panels. Volunteers need have no specialist knowledge of health issues, but just need a broad interest in the subject of chronic pain and, in particular, how it affects the over-65 age group.

Chronic pain is an unexplained pain that lasts longer than three months and is difficult to treat. It may include back pain, muscle spasms, arthritis or any persistent ache and pain in the body.

Professor Schofield has been studying pain management for nearly a quarter of a century. She says: “Pain in older adults, such as musculoskeletal pain, which is associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis, is very common, affecting half of all older people in the community.

“I’m sending this invitation out to people right across the community to help me and my research team with our work. I hope to form small discussion groups, where we can hear about people’s experiences with pain. This can be a direct experience, or one that affects them in some other way, for example, with a friend or relative.

“These first-hand accounts are invaluable and often help to give us, as researchers, a fresh perspective on what we should be looking at and thinking about.

“I have previously found that lots of good advice and important questions come from volunteers attending these type of groups. It’s also an opportunity for everyone involved to make some wonderful new friends.”

Those taking part may also be asked to sit on advisory groups for a range of projects, such as drawing up health questionnaires or patients’ consent forms. In addition, researchers will also present their ideas for comments and advice.

Meetings will be held both at the Avery Hill Campus, in south-east London, and at the Medway Campus, in Chatham Maritime. Travel expenses will be met. Between two to four discussion sessions a year will take place at the university, although people can take part in just one session, or as many as they like.

Professor Schofield will be presenting some of her research findings on pain in older people at the British Science Festival in September.

Prior to joining the University of Greenwich’s School of Health & Social Care in 2011, she was Director for the Centre of Advanced Studies in Nursing at the University of Aberdeen. She is Chair of the British Pain Society Special Interest Group (Pain in Older Adults).

If anyone would like to talk to Professor Schofield or request more details, she can be contacted on 020 8331 8885 or at

The School of Health & Social Care is one of the largest in the University of Greenwich and offers a broad range of degree programmes covering public health, social work, nursing and midwifery. The School also carries out extensive and high-quality research work in many fields including primary care, public health, health promotion and clinical effectiveness. For more details, please see

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