Advancing an Issue

Carmen Green

Does data need an effective spokesperson? Dr. Carmen Green tackled this question as part of her training as a Mayday Fellow. Already a leading researcher in disparities in pain care, Green came to the workshop with the approach: “Let the science speak for itself.” And why not: after all, Green’s research was already generating numerous interview requests through her public relations office.

But science doesn’t speak for itself, nor does it do television interviews. Green learned this during the on-camera training portion of the 2004 Mayday Pain & Society Fellowship workshop. Despite the interviews Green was already conducting, she acknowledges that any training on how to do a television interview was completely new to me. The training helped Green focus in on body language, voice tone and other elements that help her be successful on television and beyond.

And the television training came in handy. Following the workshop, Green was featured in a segment titled “The Fight Against Pain Gender Differences” on ABC’s Good Morning America. And Green now regularly conducts television interviews as she translates her research findings into messages that help people understand the importance of access to quality pain care.

Also during the course of the workshop, Green saw the value in having a media plan as part and parcel of her advocacy work. As she says: “Before the training, I would receive calls out of the blue from my public relations officer about an interview; now, she is one of the first people I call when I have new research findings coming out.”

Green is being proactive in getting her message to the national media. In addition to appearing regionally in the Detroit News, Green’s research is showing up in national outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post. She is also being asked to appear in documentaries and to help develop stories on pain for magazines.

In addition to her media work, Green wants to bring her research to the attention of policymakers. Going beyond the techniques and tips she learned at the training, Green is eager to substantively contribute to raising the nation’s consciousness about the impact that disparities in healthcare, particularly disparities in pain care, has on our nation’s health: “pain is a human right’s issue, and it is time for new health care policy that addresses one of the most significant public health issues of our time.”

Green’s work is fueled by her passion for serving the community and addressing the inequities in care that her research shows. And Green is moving the field of disparities in pain care forward. She was selected as one of seven recipients for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship for 2006-07. During her time in Washington DC, she broadened her understanding of the policy process while helping to develop new health policy.

Carmen R. Green, M.D., is an inaugural (2004/2005) Mayday Fellow and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of Pain Research at the University of Michigan Health System. Green was the editor for a special issue of Pain Medicine that focuses on disparities in pain care and helps lead a special section within the American Pain Society on pain and disparities.

23 March 2016