Skip to main content
June 30, 2016

Monthly Member Spotlight: American Chronic Pain Association


June has been a month of living with OA and chronic pain through twitter chats and our Lunch and Learn webinar with Penney Cowan, Founder and Executive Director of the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). We decided to take a closer look at the ACPA in this month’s Member Spotlight. The ACPA began as a single support group, and since its founding in 1980, has grown into hundreds of groups across the US and abroad. The ACPA offers peer support and education in pain management skills to people with pain, family and friends, and health care professionals. The ACPA’s unique materials are a primary resource for individuals seeking to improve the quality of their lives and for the professionals who help them.


Interview with Penney Cowan, Founder and Executive Director of the ACPA

Penney Cowan is the founder and executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association.  Over the past 35 years, Ms. Cowan has been an outspoken advocate and consumer representative for pain issues, contributed to numerous books, videos and websites, and consulted on the development of several pain management programs.  Ms. Cowan is a recognized speaker advocating a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management. As the ACPA’s representative, she has been a committed member of the OAAA since its inception in 2010 and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Individual Engagement and Education Work Group (Group 4).


1.  What do you think is the most important issue today in osteoarthritis?

Like everything else, in osteoarthritis, it is incredibly important to educate people about how to prevent osteoarthritis and to raise public awareness of the costs of osteoarthritis. It is also incredibly important for those with osteoarthritis or any other chronic pain condition to know that there are no quick fixes. However, by working with their healthcare providers, it is still possible for them to lead fulfilling lives.


2.  How is your organization working to address this issue or other issues related to osteoarthritis?

The American Chronic Pain Association is working to help people take a balanced approach to osteoarthritis management. A balanced approach to osteoarthritis management consists not only of treatment and seeking help from healthcare providers, but also includes setting realistic goals, building support networks and being physically active.


 3.  What is a headline you’d like to see about osteoarthritis in five years?

Ideally, the headline would be that Osteoarthritis no longer affects millions of people. A more realistic headline that I’d like to see is that people with osteoarthritis are working with healthcare providers to manage pain and reduce suffering.


4.     What is one interesting fact you’d like people to know about your organization?

I want people suffering from chronic pain to know that they are not alone. The American Chronic Pain Association has been around for 36 years. It has always been our mission to enable people with chronic pain conditions to live full lives. We have stayed and will continue to stay true to this mission.


5. What is your interest in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance?

We want to work with the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance to bring more awareness to the suffering caused by chronic pain. We want people to know that they can live full, quality lives despite chronic pain but to do so, they have to work with others. They have to create and be part of a team of people who will support them in managing their pain.

Upcoming ACPA Events


September is Pain Awareness month!


ACPA Social Media Links



Twitter: (Follow @TheACPA)


ACPA Resources

Pain Management Tools

Pain Awareness Resources

Pain Log App

ACPA Video

Navigating the Maze of Pain



Comments are closed.