Penn's John Farrar, Elliot Hersh and Rosemary Polomano to Receive 2016 One Health Award

John T. Farrar of the Perelman School of Medicine, Elliot V. Hersh of the School of Dental Medicine, and Rosemary Polomano of the School of Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania have been named the 2016 recipients of Penn’s One Health Award, recognizing their exemplary contributions to expanding interdisciplinary collaboration and improving health care for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment. The One Health Award was established in 2013 by the deans of the four health schools at Penn—the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Nursing Science, the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Penn Vet’s Hill Pavilion, 380 S. University Ave., Philadelphia, as part of the 2016 Microbiome Symposium.

Together, Farrar, Hersh and Polomano lead an interdisciplinary course on pain science and practice for nursing, dental, and medical students at Penn. This interdisciplinary course stems from the trio’s work as co-principal investigators on the NIH-funded Penn Center for Excellence in Pain Education grant, one of only 12 such centers in the nation. Since January 2013, the comprehensive and innovative academic pain course has been an interschool and inter-institutional draw for students, clinicians, and international colleagues, attracting more than 400 students. More than 20 Penn pain scientists and clinicians are currently engaged in teaching the course, utilizing various modalities including lectures, interactive case presentations and simulations. The course helps to train the next generation of interprofessional healthcare providers in pain care and pain management who are also learning to develop strategies to reduce the opioid misuse, abuse and addiction associated with the treatment of pain.

“It is a great privilege to recognize extraordinary collaborations throughout the University that exemplify the One Health initiative,” said Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. “The pain science and practice course led by Drs. Farrar, Hersh, and Polomano is a superb example of interdisciplinary education at Penn that serves as a model across the globe. We are also very proud that Dr. Dorothy Cimino Brown’s research on objective pain measurements in animals has been conducted in collaboration with Dr. Farrar. Through this program, students in health professions are better equipped to integrate models of interprofessional practice to improve patient care.”

Farrar is a neurologist and an associate professor of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn Medicine. His research interests are focused on the studies of pain and symptom management with a special focus on measurement, analysis and interpretation methodology.

“I have always believed that medical care, as with medical science, is best accomplished by the collaboration of caring individuals across all of the biological sciences,” said Farrar. “I am proud to have been a part of that process and am truly honored to have been selected for this award in the company of my two esteemed colleagues and friends for many years.”

Hersh is a professor in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Pharmacology at Penn Dental Medicine. His clinical research program plays a key role in developing and carrying out FDA-pivotal clinical trials. His primary research endeavors focus on the areas of novel local anesthetic drugs and alternatives to opioids in the management of acute postoperative pain.

“I am extremely honored to not only receive this prestigious award, but to also work closely with Drs. Farrar and Polomano,” said Hersh. “Dr. Farrar introduced me to brain imaging and Dr. Polomano is the absolute juggernaut of the educational aspect of our course.”

Polomano is a professor of pain practice at Penn Nursing. Her research is dedicated to advancing the science of understanding and treating pain, including the mechanisms of peripheral neuropathy, ways to measure pain and ways to help patients communicate about their pain. 

“The ability to leverage discipline-specific perspectives in pain education has enriched our student's learning,” said Polomano. “Our health profession students have opportunities to learn from our exceptional and dedicated Penn pain faculty the latest science guiding pain care.”

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