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|The journal of the Canadian Pain Society (v.1 no.1, 1996)|
The founding of the IASP was a unique achievement of one man: Dr John Bonica. Soon after its inception in 1973, plans were laid out for Triennial Congresses of which the second in 1978 was held in Montreal and the eighth in Vancouver in 1996. Four meetings have been held in Europe (Florence, Edinburgh, Hamburg and Paris). One was held in Adelaide and only one (since the founding meeting) in the United States. Approximately half the membership of the IASP resides in the United States, and this distribution of meetings reflected a deliberate ‘family hold back’ policy from America, because John Bonica did not want the organization to be seen as American-dominated, or indeed to be so dominated. Canada has benefited in consequence.
The most striking involvement in international affairs dealing with pain came with the foundation of the IASP. That organization has now  grown to over 6000 members, including more than 300 Canadians. This is a fairly good representation internationally, but besides providing one President already in the person of Ronald Melzack, we also now have Barry Sessle (originally from Australia) as the President-Elect [Sessle then became IASP President in 1999]. Canadians have been represented on the Council of the IASP by Ronald Tasker and Mary Ellen Jeans, as well as by Melzack and Sessle. The two editions of the Classification of Chronic Pain Syndromes have been produced from a Canadian address and many Canadians working in Canada have served on the Editorial Board of Pain, including M Bruera, MC Bushnell, KD Craig, ME Jeans, PA McGrath, PJ McGrath, R Melzack, H Merskey, RA Ramsay and JA Walters.
The IASP is relatively unusual in that it was founded without the benefit of specific support from national societies. Most, but not all, international medical bodies of this scale appear to have been founded by coalitions of national societies, e.g., the World Federation of Anesthesiologists and the World Psychiatric Association. National chapters of the IASP have followed in their wake. The Canadian chapter was founded in 1975 as described recently by Catchlove. Five subsequent members of the CPS attended the 1973 Issaquah meeting (where the IASP was founded), as well as myself, then in the United Kingdom. An Eastern Canadian Pain Society was set up in 1975, becoming a chapter of the IASP, and in 1979 the chapter title was changed to simply the Canadian Pain Society.
The first meeting was held in Montreal on September 18 and 19, 1976. The founding President was R Catchlove, succeeded in 1979 by R Evans, and in due course by I Purkis, J Henry, H Merskey, R Tasker, KD Craig and AJ Clark, the current President. The activities of the Society have grown gradually and steadily since foundation, and it now has over 400 members from many disciplines. During Jim Henry's presidency the bylaws were effectively revised by him and Barry Sessle on behalf of the Society (Barry Sessle at that time was Secretary of the CPS).
Canadian Participation in the IASP. Excerpted and updated from: Harold Merskey (1998). History of pain research and management in Canada. Pain Research & Management 3(3), p. 169-170. Since Dr. Merskey wrote this chapter profile, an additional Congress was held in Europe (Vienna, 1999), another meeting is planned for the United States (10th World Congress on Pain: San Diego, 2002), and membership in the Canadian Pain Society has grown to more than 500 members.
Since 1996, the Canadian Pain Society has had its own journal, Pain Research & Management. The theme of the next annual meeting (Winnipeg, 24-26 May 2002) is: "Back to the Future: Emerging Ideas on Pain Mechanism and Treatment".
Chapter Exhibit Panel (PDF version)
(Panel 2, PDF version)
as it was presented at the 9th World Congress on Pain (Vienna, 1999)
IASP Canada Chapter information (mailing address, officers, meetings, journal, etc.)
IASP Canada Chapter homepage
IASP Online Archives
John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection
History & Special Collections Division
UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library
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