March 24, 2014

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

The Colloquium, 6th Floor, Ross Building, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

It has been estimated that 186 million work days are lost each year to back pain alone, while total costs for pain in terms of care and lost productivity in the US range from $560 to $635 billion annually. The costs are not only financial, but pain also exacts an emotional toll. Studies in neuroscience reveal that intricate relationships exist in the areas of the brain that process emotion, cognition and pain. Because we are learning so much more about how thoughts and feelings can increase and decrease the experience of pain, innovative and integrative treatments are emerging. It has been proposed that enhancing resilience, inducing positive affect and engendering grit could be more effective ways to ameliorate pain and also improve quality of life. This session will explore the crushing burden of chronic pain on business and society; present new hope inspired by neuroscience and clinical research; and describe the promise of positive psychology for the treatment of chronic pain.

Afton Hassett is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and received her doctorate from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA in 2000. From 2002-2005, she was a Continuing Education student in Neuroscience at Princeton University – an opportunity afforded her by a K08 award from the National Institute of Mental Health. She holds an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where from 2000-2010 she conducted research aimed at exploring the role of psychological and affective factors in chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Post Lyme Disease Syndrome. Since joining the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center in the spring of 2010, her research has increasingly focused on targeting resilience factors such as positive affect and well-being in the functional and neurobiological outcomes of those with chronic pain.

Theme for Winter 2014: Positive Organizational Scholarship in Other Disciplines

Video footage of all Positive Links Speakers Series sessions can be found here.