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Meet the Clinicians and Research Scientists

Click the "+" symbol to see the title, synopsis, and bio at one time or click the hand symbol to see them individually. 

Keynote Antonio Damasio, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Presentation Title
  • About the Physiology of Feeling

  • Synopsis
  • Pain is arguably the most central of all feelings, rivaled only by its twin: pleasure. In my contribution to the Pain Summit I will discuss the nature of feeling processes and review important developments in feelings research.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Antonio Damasio is University Professor, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Professor of Psychology, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California; he is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. 

    Damasio has made seminal contributions to the understanding of brain processes underlying, emotions, feelings, decision-making and consciousness.  He is the author of numerous scientific articles (his Google scholar H Index is 144; over 129,000 citations) and his research has received continuous Federal funding for 30 years. 

    He is the recipient of many awards (including the Grawemeyer Award, 2014; the Honda Prize, 2010; the Asturias Prize in Science and Technology, 2005; and the Signoret Prize, 2004, which he shared with his wife Hanna Damasio). 

    Damasio is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

    He has been named “Highly Cited Researcher” by the Institute for Scientific Information, and also holds Honorary Doctorates from several Universities.

    He has described his discoveries in several books (Descartes’ Error, The Feeling of What HappensLooking for Spinoza. and Self Comes to Mind) translated and taught in universities worldwide.

    (For more information go to the Brain and Creativity Institute website at http://www.usc.edu/bci/  and the Dornsife Imaging Center website at http://brainimaging.usc.edu )

Tim Beames, MSc BSc (Hons) MCSP

  • Presentation Title
  • Evidence For Altered Body Perception In Pain

  • Synopsis
  • Body perception is a general framework to describe perception, action and cognition and their relationships in a unified manner. Ordinarily we don’t have to consciously access our bodies. Pain however, necessitates a shift in our ability to access our bodies and may impact both our action in the world and our cognition.

    Broadly our perception can, and in many instances does, shift. It is this shift in perception that we will discuss, offering research that investigates different pain states. We will also explore where, as clinicians, we can identify changes in body perception and what we can offer therapeutically to our patients.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Tim Beames MSc BSc (Hons) MCSP

    Tim is the lead physiotherapist at Pain and Performance, a NOI UK clinic. He has a special interest in the treatment of people suffering complex and persistent pain states. 

    In 2010 he completed an MSc in Pain: Science & Society from King’s College London in addition to a BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy from Brunel University in 1999.

    He delivers post-graduate education on pain for Pain and Performance across the UK, Europe and America designing courses to suit an organisation’s needs, from massage therapists through to national sport support teams.

    As the principle instructor for NOI UK Tim teaches Explain Pain, Mobilisation of the Neuroimmune System and Graded Motor Imagery courses throughout the UK, Europe, America and Australia. 

    He is co-author of the Graded Motor Imagery Handbook (2012) alongside Lorimer Moseley, David Butler and Tom Giles and the chapter on management of cervical spine disorders in the 8th edition of Maitland’s Vertebral Manipulation (2013). He has published studies on Graded Motor Imagery and body perception in peer-reviewed journals and has spoken at numerous national and international conferences.

    As a new Dad, he has been exploring novel rehabilitation and therapeutic alliance skills with his daughter on a daily basis. 

Mark Bishop, B.Phty, Ph.D.

  • Presentation Title
  • You, Them, Us: What You Expect Is What You Get

  • Synopsis
  • When a patient reports reductions in pain after treatment, we often credit our intervention and skill for that change. But there are other factors at play for us to consider. Our expectations and biases interact with those of our patients in unusual but meaningful ways. In this talk we will discuss simple techniques to enhance pain outcomes for people with musculoskeletal pain.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Mark D Bishop has more than 25 years of clinical and research experience working in the management of musculoskeletal pain conditions. His research examines the neurobiology of pain development and management, to identify potential mechanisms that both explain the transition from acute to chronic pain and limit that progression with conservative care. This work has been recognized with numerous research publication awards. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has given more than 150 scientific presentations nationally and internationally. He is an effective and experienced teacher recognized with national (Margaret L. Moore Award for Outstanding New Academic Faculty and the James A. Gould Excellence in Teaching Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Award) and state (Florida Physical Therapy Association Excellence in Academic Teaching) awards for teaching in professional, post-professional and graduate education. ‚Äč

Karen Davis, Ph.D.

  • Presentation Title
  • Are We Ready To Translate Research Into Practice? How brain imaging studies of chronic pain is being used to develop personalized pain management treatment plans.

  • Synopsis
  • Functional and structural neuroimaging has revealed fundamental mechanisms of chronic pain and these techniques are now being used to develop prognosticators of treatment efficacy. However, there are challenges to produce a clinical tool for pain prediction or treatment prognostication at the individual level. In this talk, I will provide an overview of brain imaging technologies and how they have revealed brain and peripheral nerve abnormalities and treatment effects in chronic pain conditions.  I will then discuss development of pre-treatment indicators of outcomes to prognosticate individual patient treatment plans.  Finally, I will discuss the technical and neuroethical issues concerning the use of brain imaging for the pain diagnostics, prediction, and treatment prognostication.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Karen Davis is a Professor at the University of Toronto, and Heads the Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour–Systems Neuroscience at the Krembil Research Institute. She pioneered electrophysiological and brain imaging approaches to study pain and treatment outcomes. 

    Dr. Davis has given 170+ lectures, published 170+ papers with 16,000+ citations.  Her TED-Ed video has 1.6M+ views.  She was a Councilor of the International Association for the Study of Pain, and chaired a task force that published recommendations regarding brain imaging to diagnosis pain (Nat Rev Neurol 2017).  She has been inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and is President-Elect of the Canadian Pain Society.

Maxi Miciak,  PT, PhD

  • Presentation Title
  • ‘Being’ Begets ‘Doing’: Establishing the Conditions Necessary for Cultivating Therapeutic Relationships

  • Synopsis
  • Good therapeutic relationships depend on mutual engagement between physical therapists and patients. However, meaningful engagement does not ‘just happen’. This presentation will review the conditions that foster behaviors and skills that cultivate positive professional and personal connections.

    A clinical case of a complex patient and practical suggestions for fostering the conditions in clinical practice are integrated into the session.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Maxi’s work centres on informing clinical practice and healthcare system decisions to strengthen patient-centred care. Her research focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating care models and practices that impact the patient-practitioner therapeutic relationship, including how health services and policies support this relationship. Most notably, she developed a pragmatic framework of the therapeutic relationship in physiotherapy to support physiotherapists in taking meaningful action when developing positive relationships with patients.

    Her appreciation for the therapeutic relationship developed over 13 years as a physiotherapist working in private practice and on interdisciplinary rehabilitation teams supporting people with a diverse range of musculoskeletal conditions, chronic pain conditions, mild traumatic brain injury, and psychological dysregulation (e.g. depression, post-traumatic stress). Currently, Maxi is also working with multiple stakeholders across Canada to bridge the research-to-practice/ policy gap by co-developing and co-implementing a framework that assesses research impact on decision-making in policy and practice, dovetailing with her interest in assessing the scale and spread of research and innovation in the healthcare system.

    Maxi received a Bachelor of Physical Education specializing in Athletic Therapy (honours) in 1992 and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (honours) in 1996, both degrees from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.  In 2015, she completed her doctoral studies in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Alberta.

    She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Alberta Innovates and the University of Alberta, serving as the inaugural Cy Frank Fellow in Impact Assessment.

Sharna Prasad, PT

  • Presentation Title
  • As Providers What We Say Matters...Matters A Lot

  • Synopsis
  • The well-being and burnout of healthcare providers affects patient care. How can we generate a culture where compassion and self-care are integrated into our daily lives? How can our conversations develop so that we are in a position to offer empathy to our co-workers and our patients?

    We will explore how provider to provider communication is often based on the pain, discomfort and/or lack of self-compassion that providers themselves are experiencing.

    This presentation will cover 5 pillars of treatment/communication that we can use as a foundation to develop our communication skills: Motivational interviewing, Trauma informed care, Pain Science, Movement and Mindfulness.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Sharna is a Staff PT at Lebanon Community hospital. She has a special interest in seeing Complex persistent pain patients. She is a pelvic floor therapist and thrives in the challenges of the complex pelvic pain presentations.

    She graduated from Maharaja Sayajirao University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Since then she perused her Masters at NYU (coursework completed), She is a Certified TPS, currently pursuing her DPT, She is trained in the McKenzie Method.

    She is the co-founder of MMAPS (Movement, Mindfulness and Pain Science) a Chronic Pain group program run by PT’s. She is also the co-founder of MVPA Mid Valley Pain Alliance, an alliance of healthcare providers and community where they meet monthly in bringing pain awareness in their community and thrive to be a model community in the country. She gives presentations to High Schoolers on Opioid, Pain and Movement working towards prevention.

    She is very active with the OPTA (Oregon PT association), had coordinated their Fall Pain Summit in 2017. Is currently working on a Multidisciplinary Pain Summit in collaboration with the local Physicians and other healthcare providers.

    She is also the owner of Paradigm Education LLC, a business that hosts speakers from all over the world with an emphasis on Pain and that promotes Self efficacy. She will also be teaching some of the courses. She has given presentations at Kaiser, Massage CE, OPTA conferences, Healthcare gathering.

    Mother of 3 kids, believes that parenting is a big source of Pain and Pleasure.

Shelly Prosko, B.Sc., PT, PYT, CPT, C-IAYT

  • Presentation Title
  • A Case for Compassion in Pain Care: using an integrative yoga approach to enhance compassionate care to better serve the person in pain and the healthcare professional

  • Synopsis
  • Numerous national health surveys and reports conclude that compassion is lacking in healthcare and many would even argue there is a growing compassion deficit in some parts of the world. As healthcare providers, it is assumed we will provide compassionate care to those we serve, as it is inherently part of our job. However, research shows that the capacity to provide compassionate care can vary and depend on a wide variety of factors. There may be challenges we face that may influence and even inhibit our ability to offer compassion to people in pain.


    In this session, I will provide a working definition of compassion, differentiate between empathy and compassion, discuss the debate surrounding the ‘myth of compassion fatigue’, summarize the research surrounding the benefits of providing and receiving compassion (including self-compassion) for those living with persistent pain and also for the healthcare providers, and describe accessible and practical ways that yoga can be used to train and cultivate more compassionate (and self-compassionate) responses. The five tenets of Compassionate Pain Care (CPC) that I have developed will be introduced.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Shelly Prosko, PT, PYT, CPI, C-IAYT is a Canadian physiotherapist, certified yoga therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a respected pioneer of PhysioYoga, an integration of physiotherapy and therapeutic yoga. She guest lectures at medical colleges, yoga therapy and physiotherapy programs, and speaks internationally at numerous yoga therapy and medical conferences advocating for and teaching about the integration of yoga into physiotherapy practice.

    Shelly has developed onsite and online continuing education courses for healthcare professionals, yoga therapists and yoga teachers, and offers workshops and individual sessions for those living with a wide variety of health concerns, including persistent pain. Shelly has over 20 years of experience and extensive training in this integrative rehabilitation approach and considers herself a lifelong student, truth seeker and change maker.

    She is author of the chapter, “A Case for Compassion in Pain Care” in the textbook Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain by Singing Dragon Publishers. Please visit www.physioyoga.ca for more info.

Kathryn Schopmeyer, DPT, CPE, CSCS

  • Presentation Title
  • I am Not a Number: understanding and improving pain assessment mandates in healthcare

  • Synopsis
  • This presentation will provide an overview of Pain as the 5thVital sign, it origins, benefits, and drawbacks. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences, test their knowledge and exchange ideas on how to collectively shift the culture for evaluating another person’s individual experience of pain.

  • Speaker Bio
  • Kate Schopmeyer, PT, DPT, CSCS, CPE is a physical therapist and program coordinator for patients with complex persistent pain conditions. Dr. Schopmeyer works with an interdisciplinary clinical team and was integral in creating an accredited intensive outpatient pain rehabilitation program for veterans in San Francisco.

    Dr. Schopmeyer is actively involved in driving practice changes via national and regional workgroups for the VA. In 2013, she became a Certified Pain Educator through the American Society of Pain Educators.

    She has created and presented many educational modules to facilitate better understanding of pain neurophysiology for patients and clinicians, and has presented at both regional and national pain management conferences.

    Dr. Schopmeyer’s primary goals in her clinical work include: fostering active patient engagement, training behaviors that promote self-care and teaching people to re-engage in life despite persistent pain.  She believes that Education is Therapy and Movement is Medicine.

Keith Waldron, DPT

  • Presentation Title
  • In Pursuit of a Premise

  • Synopsis
  • A brief and cursory exploration of the possible implications of considering areas of scientific research and philosophical thought  - beyond research specific to pain-neuroscience - when crafting therapeutic interactions and the potential impact on therapeutic alliance.

  • Speaker Bio
  • My name is Keith P. Waldron, PT, DPT. I am a physiotherapist in the state of New York in the United States. I initially obtained my Master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2000; I later returned to academia and earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2007.


    Over the course of the last 17 years, I have worked in a variety of settings including public and private schools, outpatient clinics, and home care. Since 2012, I have provided physiotherapy care exclusively in the home, working jointly with skilled nursing, occupational therapy, and medical social service professionals to comprehensively address the patient’s medical and social needs (to the best of our respective abilities).

Sandy Hilton, DPT & Mark Milligan, DPT, Cert TPS, OCS, FAAOMPT

  • Presentation Title
  • Even Superheros Need a Hand

  • Synopsis
  • Healthcare providers often hesitate to seek care for their own well being and suffer high rates of depression and burnout.  Suicide is higher among MD's, residents, dentists, and nurses compared to the general population.

    Burnout and insufficient self care are risk factors for depression and for suicide. This session provides attendees with information and resources to facilitate self care, identify professional and community resources, and promotes a better understanding of the stresses we all are under.  

  • Speaker Bio's
  • Dr. Sandy Hilton graduated from Pacific University (Oregon) in 1988 with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Des Moines University in December 2013. She has worked in multiple settings across the US with a neurologic and orthopaedic emphasis and has been combining these into a focus in pelvic rehabilitation for pain and dysfunction since 1995. Sandy is an invited speaker for international and national conferences on treating pain, and teaches a specialized pelvic pain course on the science of pain, manual therapy, neurodynamics, and applied graded imagery.  Sandy also co-teaches Male Pelvic Floor Evaluation and Treatment. She is the co-host of the podcast "Pain Science and Sensibility".  


    Sandy’s clinical interest is chronic pain with a particular interest in complex pelvic pain disorders for all genders and ages. She is involved with the development of a clinical practice guideline for pelvic pain, and has published multiple papers and book chapters. She is the co-author of "Why Pelvic Pain Hurts" and has an upcoming manual for the treatment of pelvic pain.  Sandy is the Secretary of the Abdominal and Pelvic Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain.  


    In her spare time, Sandy can be found onstage in Chicago at Story Telling venues and at the odd open mic practicing stand-up.

    Dr. Mark Milligan, PT, DPT, is an orthopedic manual therapist that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal spinal conditions and is Board Certified in Orthopedics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapy.

    He earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of the Colorado, School of Medicine in Denver, Colorado. He went on to complete an Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency and Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship with Evidence in Motion (EIM).

    He is a full-time clinician. Dr. Milligan serves as adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs at South College and The University of St. Augustine. Dr. Milligan is also primary faculty for Trigger Pint Dry Needling Courses and Musculoskeletal Courses for EIM.

    Mark has presented at numerous state and national conferences and has been published in peer reviewed journals. He is an active member of the TPTA, APTA, and AAOMPT and is current the Capital Area District Chair for the Texas Physical Therapy Association and has great interest in governmental affairs.

Pain: The Patient's Perspective

  • Moderator Alison Sim
  • Alison Sim has a keen interest in educating health professionals about the latest science surrounding pain, especially pain that hangs around – chronic or persisting pain.
    Pain science can be quite disheartening as a topic – there are no magic bullets or quick fixes. The science can sometimes paint a bleak picture of poor outcomes for any single modality approach. This makes engaging with this material difficult and the result is that practitioners might choose to avoid exploring the material at all. Alison’s seminars and workshops aim to investigate the approaches that have a strong evidence base of proven results and demonstrate how they can be applied in clinical practice. This means better outcomes for your clients and patients.

    Alison qualified as an osteopath in 2001. She has a Masters of Pain Management from Sydney University Medical School and Royal North Shore Pain Management Research Institute. She has lectured at Australian Catholic University, Victoria University, RMIT and George Fox University  in a variety of science and clinical subjects. She has also worked as part of the teaching team at Deakin University Medical School and is currently based in Melbourne, Australia.

    Alison works part time at Brighton Spinal and Sports Clinic and Pain Matrix in Geelong and welcomes referrals for patients with chronic pain.



    Alison's website/blog: Beyond Mechanical Pain

  • Keith Meldrum
  • Keith has lived with persistent pain for over 32 years following a near fatal car accident on a rural stretch of highway in central British Columbia, Canada in 1986. For over 20 years he underwent multiple surgeries, a few interventions for pain management, and multiple hospital admissions for pain but nothing was lasting or effective.

    Throughout this time, Keith dealt with a medical system that did not understand the complexities of chronic pain and how it effects people who live with pain, which lead to being undertreated and dismissed by the medical system. In 2005 he was deemed a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator due because of neuropathic abdominal wall pain. At that time, he was first introduced to the concepts of the biopsychosocial model of pain and self-management. Most importantly, this was the first time the medical system validated his pain when he was told “we believe you”.

    These experiences were transformative in allowing Keith to be an activate participate in his health and to start to learn to live better with pain. Keith is an outspoken advocate for people who live with pain; he was the Vice Chair and Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Pain BC Society for six years and has presented to Provincial Ministry of Health Ministers and senior staff and policy makers.

    Keith presented at the International Association for the Study of Pain’s (IASP) 2018 World Congress in Boston in September 2018 as one of three people from around the world on their lived experience of persistent pain and he is an inaugural member of IASP’s Global Patient Alliance.

  • Kira Stoops
  • Kira Stoops' headaches started at age six, ibuprofen abuse began in high school, and she hiked and skiied through moderate chronic pain through her twenties. In early 2016,  an extraordinarily painful neck spasm refused to resolve, triggering full body pain, exercise intolerance, dysautonomia, and fatigue. Since then, she's muddled through more clinical papers than any state school art major should attempt, spearheaded a Facebook support group for similarly science-minded patients, and has done her best to collect more SIMs than DIMs while still believing that severe chronic pain demands a cure.

    Kira runs Flying Bicycle Creative, a one-woman creative strategy company catering to boutique communications agencies. She also runs BioPsychoSocial, a sister Facebook group to Exploring Pain Science that caters to lived experiencers.

    She drinks entirely too much tea, reads way too many clinical research papers for an art major, and has no business running a chronic pain support group but does so anyway.

    Kira prides herself on being tough and scrappy, except when she's watching the Queer Eye reboot. She believes if you don't cry too, you might not have a soul. (Ahem, MOM.)

  • Dr. Bronnie Thompson
  • TBA

A must- attend conference for any clinician that helps people in a pain. Not only a stunning line up of industry leaders in evidence-based pain management, but networking and community building activities that will enable you to return to your clinic with new knowledge, tools and contacts to do the best for people recovering from the burden of persisting pain.


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