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Lessons in Chronic Pain

Building Awareness to Build a Movement

Pain is one of those unfortunate parts of reality that most of us avoid as best we can. But some people live with it as a constant part of daily life. Dr. Greg Carbonetti, who earned his doctorate in molecular and cellular biology right here at Stony Brook University and was a Rita Allen Science Civic Science Fellow in Chronic Pain, helped organize, create, and conduct a nationwide survey on chronic pain. In his conversation with the Alda Center’s Lori Kie he explains the background and importance of this survey to learn more about the many Americans affected by this terrible affliction that “hides in plain sight.” These are some key takeaways from their conversation:


  • The problems of chronic pain affect different demographics unequally. Women and people of color are less likely to receive adequate care for their pain. Older, poorer, and less educated people are also more likely to be affected.
  • The previous major chronic pain survey was more than a decade ago. Carbonetti aims to provide updated information about the issue, with the hope that it will be used to raise awareness of and support for chronic pain research funding and advocacy.
  • Many of those who suffer chronic pain and/or care for those who do are unaware of many of the organizations that exist to provide assistance and support. They do not seem to have the same level of public visibility as those who aid those suffering from more widely studied and publicized health issues.


The full report, available here, includes all of the data gathered in the survey, and Carboetti encourages others to explore the data and learn from it themselves.

Greg Carbonetti, Lori Kie, Paul Mooney

Dr. Gregory Carbonetti and the Alda Center's Lori Kie discuss the results of the survey. Paul Mooney summarizes.

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