How EPM works

Essential Pain Management is an international program that began in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, and has spread across Asia, Africa and the Americas. We have run – and continue to run – workshops in over 40 countries.





The Essential Pain Management “RAT” is an important part of the course. RAT stands for Recognize, Assess, Treat and provides the framework for managing a variety of real-life pain scenarios.


Teaching methods

The Essential Pain Management program has two parts – the EPM 1-day workshop and the EPM instructor workshop. Typically we run a “one-half-one” series of courses.


On day one, we run a one-day interactive EPM workshop. The EPM workshop is a program of interactive lectures and group discussions. The workshop teaches a system for recognising, assessing and treating pain (RAT) and addresses pain management barriers.


On day two, participants from the first day attend a half-day instructor workshop. The EPM instructor workshop is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to become EPM instructors. Early handover of teaching to local instructors is important because it encourages co-operation between local health workers, and because local instructors are more likely to understand local problems.


On day three, the newly trained instructors run one or two courses with the help of the visiting team.


Essential Pain Management uses a “snowball” model for training. Potential instructors are identified early and, through the instructor workshop, are provided with the skills to run more workshops. They are immediately provided with an opportunity to run their own workshop with the support of more experienced instructors.

Rat Illustration kindly donated by Mr Timothy Pack © Timothy Pack
Copyright © Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.