From concept to CME: Division-organized opioid and pain management education sessions

Divisions around the province are supporting their members to provide the best possible care to patients who have pain management and opioid addiction issues. Much of this work is accomplished through division-organized CME and information sessions, which promote awareness of community resources and best practice recommendations. Beyond the benefit of the sessions themselves, materials created through these sessions can be used for future reference by division members, health care stakeholders in the community, and other divisions who may wish to repurpose the materials for their own regions.

Three divisions—Fraser Northwest, Nanaimo, and Victoria—that have organized a large number of these events have shared their tips, strategies, and/or resources with other divisions who may wish to organize sessions of their own. 

Fraser Northwest: Planning and preparing for division-organized education sessions
Fraser Northwest division has held several sessions related to opioid addiction and substance use, including: 
  • Provincial Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder (seminar series)
  • Accessing resources for your child and youth mental health and substance use patients (discussion and brainstorming)
  • Pearls of Pain and Addiction Management, Safe Opiate Use and OST (CME event)
  • Simplifying Access to Mental Health & Substance Use Services for your adult patients
When planning education sessions, the division starts by identifying the topic for the session— asking their members what they might be interested in learning about and what information would be useful—and then reaching out to potential speakers/presenters. 

Speakers at Fraser Northwest’s events are usually participants on the division’s CSC, or members with special areas of interest. When planning their Pearls of Pain and Addiction Management, Safe Opiate Use, and OST event, the division connected with their local Medical Health Officer and an addictions psychiatrist, who worked together to develop the curriculum and then presented in tandem. (The division offers to reimburse presenters for their time spent planning their sessions, although in this case, the Medical Health Officer and addictions specialist declined to be compensated for their time.)

When organizing their “Provincial Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder” seminar series, the division’s first step was to reach out to a member who is an addictions GP and ask him to present the new guidelines. The curriculum was provided by the BC Centre for Excellence, and the centre also provided the CME credits.

In the years during which Fraser Northwest has been organizing their CME and information sessions, their planning process has evolved into an efficient system. Sessions can be planned over a few hours, with the majority of the effort spent gathering as much input as possible to make the events useful for physicians.

Nanaimo: Bringing in a world-renowned expert 
To engage as many physicians and health care providers as possible in CME events, sometimes it helps to call in an expert. In January 2018, the Nanaimo division partnered with the Nanaimo Medical Staff Engagement Society, the Shared Care Committee, and the Practice Support Program to organize an event featuring internationally renowned CBT expert Dr Daniel O’Connell, who presented holistic, non-pharmacological tools and techniques that physicians can use to help patients better manage pain without opiates. Event topics included mindfulness, motivational interviewing, and therapeutic techniques and strategies to prevent transition from subacute to chronic pain. 

To benefit as many patients as possible, the division opened the event to doctors and health care providers province-wide. Interest in the session was diverse, attracting GPs, specialists, a pharmacy site coordinator, and guests from other divisions. 
Victoria: Creating, posting, and sharing education session materials
Victoria has organized a wide array of sessions on the topics of pain management and opioid addiction within their MHSU learning series, including:
  • Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention: The Family Physician's Role
  • Family Physicians & The Opioid Crisis: You Have A Role To Play
  • Navigating Opioids, Addiction & Pain: The Patient, The Physician, and The College
  • Engaging Addicted Youth
  • Substance Use
Victoria’s MHSU learning series was funded by Shared Care, and developed by the division in partnership local psychiatrists.

The division has shared all session materials, handouts, case studies, community resources, and referral forms related to these sessions online, in addition to PowerPoint presentations and video of many of the sessions.  

Sharing these resources online enables division members, community stakeholders and health care providers, and other divisions to access and share learnings from the events. Please contact Christine Tomori at  for permission to share or repurpose any of these materials for use by your own division.