Behind the Book

We asked the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 12th World Congress on Pain, Dr. José Castro-Lopes, for his thoughts on the Refresher Course Syllabus that is associated with this very successful gathering.
Q: The refresher course book sold hundreds of copies at the IASP booth at the Congress. What makes the book so appealing?
A: Congress delegates could see that the book offers a series of reviews on a wide array of subjects, all written by leading experts. The book is thus a very valuable resource, not only for those new to the pain field, but also for anybody wishing to update their knowledge of these topics.
Q: How did the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) determine the topics for this year's refresher courses?
A: The SPC delegated the responsibility of organizing the refresher courses to a subcommittee made up of Martin Schmelz, Srinivasa Raja, and myself. In selecting the topics, we took into account the most successful refresher courses from previous Congresses. Some topics are in demand at every meeting. We also looked at proposals from members of the SPC and other IASP members, and selected topics that we believed were worth “refreshing” due to recent advances in the field.
Q: What chapters stand out as representing some of the most important and timely topics in terms of continuing education for clinicians?
A: Everyone arrives at the meeting with different perspectives and different expectations of what a refresher course should provide in terms of continuing medical education. Thus, it is difficult to compare the importance of the different topics. What I can say is that the refresher courses with the highest attendance were “Neuropathic Pain: From Basic Mechanisms to Clinical Management” and “Neurobiology of Acute and Persistent Pain.”
Q: What have been the most positive and negative aspects of your involvement in the production of the Refresher Course Syllabus?
A: The most positive aspect has been the collaboration of the IASP staff, in particular Kathy Kreiter, Terry Onustack, and Elizabeth Endres. With their experience, know-how, and availability, everything was much easier than I had anticipated. Also, we had excellent collaboration from most of the authors. Others, however, given their busy schedules, had difficulty in complying with the deadlines set by the publisher. Having to send reminders was the most negative part, but I must confess that it was something I had anticipated!