Research Projects

As a NIDILRR-funded Burn Model System (BMS), the NWRBMS is mandated to engage in at least two types of research activities: contributing data to the National Burn Model System database and in one to two site-specific studies or projects. The following are being conducted for the 2012-2017 NIDILRR Burn Model System grant cycle.

National Burn Model System Database

Newly injured patients are invited to become part of a longitudinal national database of burn patients. This information is used to further our understanding of the long-term consequences of burn injuries and to develop improved treatments and systems of care. Currently the database, centered at the National Burn Data & Statistical Center, contains information on more than 5,093 individuals since 1993. Interested in participation, see our recruitment flyer.

Dissemination project – Return to Work after Burn Injury Website

During past NIDRR-BMS funding cycles, we have focused on identifying patients’ barriers to returning to work. To advance our long-term efforts of facilitating return to work, we have utilized internet technology to establish a web-based dissemination effort to provide education regarding challenges and processes encountered following a significant burn injury. The target audience for this collaborative dissemination project includes burn survivors, families, employers, medical professionals, case managers, third-party payers, Worker’s Compensation and vocational rehabilitation agencies. We believe that this new informational site will benefit patients from our rural catchment areas including Native American communities. Because our largest non-English speaking patient cohort is Hispanic, we  offer all web-based consumer information in both English and Spanish. The lead investigator for this project is Dr. Peter Esselman.

Site-specific study – Impact of Hypnosis on Post-burn Pain and Itch: Randomized Controlled Trial

The Burn National Database indicates a high prevalence of post-burn itch, initially affecting >90% of individuals and persisting for >40% of long-term burn survivors. Feedback from burn survivors at the 2006 State of the Science Conference supports these data. Itching affects quality of life with significant impact on sleep, activities of daily living, and psychosocial well-being. This prospective randomized trial utilizes our expertise in clinical management of pain and itch, and our experience with hypnosis as an innovative non-pharmacologic intervention. The control group will receive pharmacologic treatment using our established treatment algorithm for post-burn itch; the experimental group will undergo hypnosis as well as our standard treatment regimen. We will use patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to test the effectiveness of the intervention with the primary endpoints focused on post-burn itch using the Itch Numerical Rating Scale and the multi-dimensional 5-D Itch Scale; we will quantify the amount of anti-itch medication used by subjects in each group. We anticipate based on our data regarding hypnosis as a treatment for acute pain that we will reduce both patient discomfort and medication use. The lead investigator for this study is Dr. Shelley Wiechman. Subject enrollment began in 2013 and has now closed to new study participants. If you are interested in learning more about this study, contact Gretchen Carrougher MN, RN at 206-744-2866 or via email at