Perspectives on chronic pain

Annual Distinguished Faculty Lecture to feature nursing professor specializing in pain management

Kari Firestone, WWU professor of nursing and associate dean of the Walla Walla University School of Nursing, will speak for the annual WWU Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Melvin K. West Fine Arts Center Auditorium on the WWU campus.

Firestone’s lecture, “Lost voices: A biopsychosocial perspective on chronic pain,” will address the significant health problem of chronic pain in the United States and will discuss questions such as what is chronic pain; can thoughts, emotions, and behaviors really influence pain; and how can we challenge long-held assumptions about chronic pain and approaches to treatment.

Firestone has long been interested in understanding the impact of chronic pain. After graduating from WWU in 1994 with a bachelor of science in nursing degree, she worked directly with those in pain before completing a master of science in nursing degree from Loma Linda University in 2006. In 2016, she completed a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing science at Oregon Health and Science University.

Firestone taught nursing at Loma Linda University, the University of Portland, and Linfield College before joining the faculty of the WWU School of Nursing in 2009. She taught on the WWU School of Nursing Portland campus from 2009 to 2011 and has taught on the WWU College Place campus since 2014.

Firestone’s clinical and academic interests have centered on advancing health for children and families, with particular focus on enhancing quality of life through management of chronic illness, symptoms, and pain. In addition to her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation, which both focus on pain management, Firestone has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on the topic for journals such as Communicating Nursing Research and the Journal of Pain. She is the recipient of grants from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, the American Nurses Foundation, and the Society of Pediatric Nurses. Her current research focuses on provider perceptions of access to care and treatment priorities for pediatric chronic-pain patients in rural communities.

The Distinguished Faculty Lecture is free and open to the public. The Melvin K. West Fine Arts Center Auditorium is located at 200 S. College Ave., College Place, Wash. A livestream of the lecture will be available at

Posted Oct. 19, 2018

The cover of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture program featuring an illustration of a human spine with a puzzle piece cut out.
A portrait photo of Kari Firestone wearing a black sweater and a plaid scarf.
Kari Firestone, WWU professor of nursing and associate dean of the School of Nursing, did her master's and doctoral work on chronic pain management.