2013 Elizabeth Narcessian Award for Outstanding Educational Achievements in the Field of Pain
CEO, Founder of American Chronic Pain Association
Penney Cowan is the founder and chief executive officer of the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). As a patient who lives with chronic pain, she established the ACPA in 1980 to help others living with the condition. The ACPA provides peer support and pain management education skills to people with pain and their families. The ACPA also works to build awareness about chronic pain among professionals, decision makers, and the general public.
Throughout the past 32 years, Cowan has been an advocate and consumer representative for pain issues. She was awarded the Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen by the Institute for Public Service, and the American Pain Society awarded her the 2005 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award. She is the author of Patient or Person, Living With Chronic Pain, published by Gardner Press. In addition she has written all manuals and materials used by ACPA. Most recently, she was appointed as a consumer representative for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee for a 3-year term ending in 2015.
Cowan launched the Partners for Understanding Pain campaign in 2002 in an attempt to raise awareness about the need to better understand, assess, and treat pain. There are more than 80 partner organizations. The campaign, under the direction of the ACPA, successfully established September as Pain Awareness Month.
The Elizabeth Narcessian Award was named in memory of Elizabeth Narcessian, MD, a noted educator on the appropriate use of opioids, patient assessment, and approaches to rehabilitation of patients devastated by chronic pain. The award recognizes outstanding contributions highlighting dedication or innovation in education in the field of pain. The 2013 Elizabeth Narcessian Award is supported by an unrestricted grant from Purdue Pharma L.P.