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Mayo Clinic helps Fond du Lac tribal community find pain management solutions

When the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa identified problems related to the misuse of, and dependency on, prescription pain medication, they wanted to find a solution for the 7,000 American Indians they serve through the Fond du Lac Human Services Division in northern Minnesota. Ultimately, they turned to Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center and Center for Translational Science Activities (CTSA).

"We had a problem that was out of control, and nothing we were doing was helping," says Crystal Greensky, assistant clinic administrator of the Fond du Lac Human Services Division. "We were looking for an immediate solution to benefit our community. We knew Mayo was legitimate, but we were skeptical at first, because Mayo reported phenomenal success with their program."

The partnership with Mayo eventually resulted in a two-day educational event for Fond du Lac members suffering from pain. The event was modeled on a program offered at Mayo to educate patients about pain management.

When the Fond du Lac community received a grant from the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) in 2010, they looked to build on the relationship with Mayo Clinic and further develop the pain rehabilitation program.

The CTSA and the Fond du Lac Human Services Division worked together to determine what would work best for the community, which included interviews with patients and family members. "We need to be meeting a need they [the community] have. If we want to go into a community, we need to listen and find out their needs," says W. Michael Hooten, M.D., Anesthesiology.

The result was a program similar to Mayo Clinic’s three-week pain rehabilitation program. The first pilot of the program finished this spring with plans to offer a second pilot program this fall.

The relationship between Mayo Clinic and the Fond du Lac community is paying off in improved community health and research partnerships that can lead to improved treatments in the future.

  • Sep 7, 2012
  • NEW005864