BIDDEFORD — Dr. Edward Bilsky, University of New England vice president for research and scholarship, was named the 2014 recipient of the Patient Advocacy Award by the American Academy for Pain Medicine. The award was presented March 8 during AAPM’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Patient Advocacy Award recognizes activity of an individual in advocating for appropriate evaluation and treatment of patients suffering from pain. This award was created to honor those health care professionals whose deeds reflect their recognition of the importance and impact of the specialty of pain medicine, according to UNE.

Bilsky, a resident of Biddeford, is a professor of pharmacology in the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine. Bilsky has worked with many others inside and outside UNE to educate future health care professionals on the neurobiology of pain, and to increase public awareness about acute and chronic pain.

In his role as professor of pharmacology since 2001, he has taught classes on pain medicine for the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Pharmacy, and the anesthesia, physician assistant, physical therapy and nursing programs. He has also been an advocate for introducing pain studies into UNE’s curriculum through an interprofessional approach, according to UNE.

Bilsky’s collaboration with faculty and UNE’s IPEC and Center for Excellence in Interprofessional Education also led to a Maine Cancer Foundation grant to improve awareness of the special challenges of treatment of cancer-related pain. Bilsky is also a co-investigator, with professor Ian Meng of a $10 million National Institutes of Health grant to found the UNE Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function.

Outreach to local schools is also an important part of Bilsky’s vision for the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences. The center’s K-12 program, engages teachers and more than 3,000 students from five local school systems each year.