Graduate Certificate in Pain Management

Woman working on a patient

Now accepting applications for Fall 2024

The number of individuals suffering chronic pain is projected to increase dramatically over the coming decades. This makes it imperative that professionals be educated in effective, evidence-based assessment and treatment of pain conditions.

This fully distance-based program aims to provide advanced education in collaborative pain management for healthcare professionals. This Certificate provides an opportunity for practicing clinicians to learn about each other to address the multi-dimensional nature of acute and chronic pain, emphasizing complex/chronic pain.

Course contributors include leaders in research, management, and education from across Canada and beyond.

Join our email list to receive new course and deadline updates! 📧

Formal studies/university degree courses are eligible for certified Self Learning credits through the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). Members may self-claim these credits in their Mainpro+ account. These activities are eligible for up to 20 certified Self-Learning credits per course.

Other Continuing Education Courses

capm logo

Pain certificate courses can be used towards credentialing through the Canadian Academy of Pain Management (CAPM). The pain certificate courses take the place of a CAPM course and exam and partially meet the qualification required for CAPM credentialing. Please note that there are additional requirements for clinicians who seek credentialing through CAPM.

bjsp logo

The Pain Certificate program has received the British Journal of Sports Medicine's (BJSM) stamp of approval for Quality International Education.

vra canada logo

The Pain Certificate courses are each pre-approved for 33 CEUs with the Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA) Canada.

Applying to the Program

The online application will ask for references, supervisors, CV etc. HOWEVER, certificate program applicants DO NOT NEED TO provide this information as admission requirements for certificate programs are relaxed. Please follow the instructions outlined in the document below which provides step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application.

How to Apply to Graduate Certificate Programs

Teaching Team

Lead Instructors

Dr. Lisa Jasper BMR(PT), MSc, PhD 

Lisa Jasper is the current program lead for the University of Alberta Certificate in Pain Management.  She is an adjunct professor in the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine where she coordinates the pain certificate and teaches in the graduate programs.  She holds degrees in BSc (chem), BSc Med Rehab (physiotherapy), MSc (chronic pain), and PhD in Rehabilitation Science, with research in chronic pain, physical activity in older adults, and hip/knee osteoarthritis.  Other research interests include pain education, rheumatoid arthritis, and whiplash associated disorders.  She has worked clinically in both rural multidisciplinary clinics and chronic pain clinics.  She is a member of the Pain Society of Alberta, Canadian Pain Society, Canadian Physiotherapy Association (including Pain Science Division), and International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).  She brings extensive expertise in online and hybrid learning to the certificate program, coupled with a strong dedication to share current, evidence-based information on pain and its management to both healthcare providers and people living with pain.


Dr. Judith Hunter BSc (PT), MSc, PhD 

Judi, a faculty member from the Universities of Toronto (retired) and Alberta, holds degrees in BSc(PT), MSc (Anatomy), and PhD (Pain Neuroscience) from the University of Toronto. Her research focused on three main areas: 1) somatosensory function in neuropathic pain, 2) interprofessional pain education, and 3) student research mentorship for projects on exercise programs in chronic pain clinics. Judi was honored with the Excellence in Interprofessional Education Award from the Canadian Pain Society (CPS) for her dedication to developing and evaluating effective interprofessional pain education initiatives, spanning from entry-level to graduate and continuing education. As chair of the Interfaculty Pain Curriculum at U. Toronto for eight years, Judi played a key role in establishing the program's international recognition, earning the University of Toronto Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for Linking Research to Education. Additionally, she served as the inaugural curriculum director for the U Alberta Certificate Programme in Pain Management, nurturing and advancing the program over its first 12 years.



Contributing Instructors

Dr. Lori Montgomery is a family physician who completed a chronic pain fellowship program which included headache, pelvic pain, neuromusculoskeletal pain and palliative home care. Her clinical practice includes patients with neuromusculoskeletal pain and headache at the Chronic Pain Centre in Calgary. She is Community Integration Medical Lead for Alberta Health Services Calgary Zone, Community and Primary Care, and is involved in clinical research and teaching of medical students, residents, and practicing professionals.


Dr. Bruce Dick is a clinical psychologist and Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of Alberta. His research interests include many aspects of chronic pain experience in humans and the management of chronic pain including the development and evaluation of novel treatment programs.



Guest Presenters

Dr. Gilles Lavigne DMD, PhD, FRCD (oral med) is internationally recognized for his research on sleep bruxism, sleep apnea & pain and sleep interactions. Over the years he was vice-dean for research and dean (Faculty of Dental Medicine, Université de Montréal), president of thCanadian Sleep Society and Canadian Pain Society, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Pain, Sleep & Trauma. He received an honoris causa (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and Order of Canada. He has authored over 270 papers and co-edited 4 books.



Dr. Kelly O’Brien, PhD, PT is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, at the University of Toronto and Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Science Research Network for COVID. She is a physical therapist and clinical epidemiologist, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Episodic Disability and Rehabilitation. Dr. O’Brien is cross appointed to the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI).



Jeanette Buckingham is Librarian Emeritus, after a lengthy career focused on finding and understanding clinical research literature, with focus on evidence-based practice.  She continues as a preceptor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.




Samuel Parmiter, PharmD RPh, is a pharmacist supporting the Calgary Pain Program and the Long Covid Clinics in Calgary. He has a clinical interest in pain neuroscience education, the role of opioid use for pain management, and the language we use to discuss opioid use.





Dr. Sasha Mallya completed her residency in Calgary and postdoctoral fellowship at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. She then began working at the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre. She recently joined the Department of Psychosocial Oncology at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, where she will continue her clinical practice and pain-focused research.




Bonnie Klassen is a clinical occupational therapist with 26 years of experience in a variety of settings, community, hospital-based, urban, and rural. She is also a mindfulness facilitator and is trained in medical acupuncture. She is employed with Alberta Health Services as an occupational therapist in an interdisciplinary chronic pain clinic in Camrose, and she is the owner of Action Occupational Therapy Inc in Edmonton, AB.



Dr. Susan Tupper is the Manager of Professional Practice for Pain Strategy and Research with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. She is a licensed physical therapist with a PhD in Community Health and Epidemiology and a post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatrics. Susan holds adjunct professor appointments with the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine Departments of Anesthesia, Perioperative Medicine, and Pain Management, Pediatrics, and School of Rehabilitation Sciences. Susan’s role with the health authority includes applied research, strategic planning, policy and standards writing, and education for healthcare providers, trainees, and the public. Susan is chair of the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Pain Society, SaskPain, a non-profit charity that aims to improve pain management in Saskatchewan. Susan is a member of the Pain Canada National Advisory Committee. 


Dr. Brian Cairns is a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia. His research involves the development of preclinical models of certain chronic craniofacial pain conditions, such as migraine headaches, burning mouth syndrome and temporomandibular disorders, and the use these models to identify novel receptor targets for locally acting analgesics. He also investigates whether biological factors, for example, sex-related differences in the sensitivity of nerve fibers, contribute to the increased prevalence of certain craniofacial pain conditions in women.



Jason Busse is a Professor in the Departments of Anesthesia and Health, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University, Director of the National Pain Centre, and Associate Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research. He holds a CIHR Canada Research Chair in the Prevention and Management of Chronic Pain.



David Flusk. Originally from Toronto, David Trained in both Ireland, and Newfoundland. He practices both pain medicine and anesthesiology in a community setting. He is a Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Anesthesiology and faculty of medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and is the clinical chief of the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services Rural Zone. David is currently the Medical Director of the Atlantic Mentorship Network Pain and Addiction for Newfoundland and Labrador.   David has also worked with the Association of Faculties of Medicine Canada as a Subject Matter Expert and contributing author on the AFMCs response to the opioid crisis project which has developed curriculum for both undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs across Canada. David is currently serving as a board member and treasurer of the Canadian Pain Society.


Nicholas Lefebvre is an Occupational Therapist who holds a passion for assisting individuals who are incarcerated living with chronic pain. His primary focus is non-pharmacological chronic pain management. He has been involved in co-creating chronic pain interventions in both individual and group format as well a chronic pain policy advancement. He continues to explore and promote opportunities for advancement in the area.
Who is it for?
  • Physical Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Physicians (MAINPro C and M1 credit available)
  • Pharmacists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Others in related fields 
Skills will I Gain

Upon completion of the three certificate courses students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of an interdisciplinary approach in managing pain through an understanding of the unique and shared roles and responsibilities of various professionals on an interdisciplinary team in the assessment and management of pain conditions.
  • Use critical thinking and evidence-based approaches to develop assessment and treatment plans across the pain continuum, with an emphasis on complex/chronic pain.
  • Use a bio-psycho-social clinical reasoning framework which integrates information across models in the assessment and treatment of pain.

*Registrants completing all three courses in this certificate may use the letters GCPain (graduate certificate in pain) to designate successful program completion.

Course Dates

Certificate program courses are offered regularly and students are required to complete all courses within approximately 18 months.

Certificate students must not allow more than 12 months to pass without a course registration to meet the U of A's Maintenance of Registration Policy or may be subject to re-applying to the program and an approximate $1500 re-admission fee. 

Certificates must be completed within 4 years of initial registration.

Time is devoted one week before the start of the first course in the series for students to familiarize themselves with the eClass system (online learning platform) and to complete any online pre-course materials.

Contact to obtain information on upcoming course offerings.


Eligible students include all health professionals who meet the following University of Alberta Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) requirements:

  1. Submission of original post-secondary degree transcripts from all institutions attended.
    1. If you have attended several institutions we will require transcripts from each institution.
    2. The print date on the transcript(s) must not exceed one year from the certificate program application date.
    3. You may upload transcript copies for initial approval but have the institution(s) send an original copy directly to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
    4. We can access U of A transcripts if you were a former student here.
  2. GPA of 3.0 (if you do not meet this requirement please contact
  3. For students whose first language is not English, a TOEFL equivalent to entry-level U of A Rehab programs (minimum of 580).

Apply online by visiting the FGSR website.

Mail Transcripts directly to:

Shawn Drefs
University of Alberta
3-48 Corbett Hall
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2G4

Courses Needed

A Certificate will be granted by the University of Alberta's Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research upon successful completion of three required graduate-level credit courses, as listed below.

REHAB 535: The Nature of Pain (*3)

Pain is a major factor impacting quality of life and will continue to become more so as the average lifespan increases. Understanding the multi-dimensional nature of pain and its broad impact is critical to applying best practice in its assessment and treatment. The neural pathways/mechanisms subserving normal and pathological pain will be studied in depth as well as a critical view of translating these findings to clinical practice. A range of theoretical perspectives underlying the individual's experience of pain across the continuum from acute to complex/chronic will be presented. The role of interprofessional collaboration for comprehensive pain management will be introduced. (This course is a pre-requisite for REHAB 536 and REHAB 537.)

REHAB 536: Assessment and Management of Pain (*3)

Knowledge Translation: Integrating evidence into practice. Building on foundations developed in Rehab 535, this course will present models of and approaches to assessment of and treatment for common pain conditions, across the lifespan, with an emphasis on complex/chronic pain. This course will explore the etiologies of various pain conditions, the prevalence of pain, as well as ethical issues, barriers, and facilitators to comprehensive assessment and treatment. Rationale for pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions will be reviewed. Participants will discuss best practice roles and evidence based roles and interventions for each of the health professionals involved in the collaborative interprofessional management of chronic pain.

Pre-requisite: REHAB 535.

REHAB 537: Integrating and Implementing Pain Management Models (*3)

This course will provide an opportunity for students to integrate and apply information presented in REHAB 535 and 536 using standardized assignments with real and/or simulated patients as a base from which to develop an evidence-based, collaborative, interprofessional, assessment and treatment of chronic pain and disability.

Pre-requisite: REHAB 535, REHAB 536.


Apply Now

Information Admission Requirements

The online application will ask for references, supervisors, CV etc. However, certificate program applicants DO NOT NEED TO provide this information as admission requirements for certificate programs are relaxed.

Follow the instructions outlined in the Applying to Graduate Certificate Programs .


All North American Institutional transcripts must have a print date of no more than 12 months from the date of application. 

Official transcripts must be mailed directly to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine:

Shawn Drefs
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
University of Alberta
3-48 Corbett Hall
Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4

Funding Options for AB residents

Alberta Student Aid: Grant - repayment is NOT required

Contact AB Student Aid

Alberta Part-Time Grant: The Alberta Part-Time Grant is available to Alberta residents taking post-secondary education on a part-time basis.

Value: up to $900 per semester

The maximum grant funding available for one calendar year is $1,800.00.

Learn More


For more details on this course, contact Shawn Drefs, at:

Phone: 780-492-1587

Apply Now