Distinguished Life Members

The Texas Pain Society honors distinguished life members. 

James Edward Heavner, DVM, PhD - 1944-2016

Dr. James Edward Heavner, Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology and Clinical Professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, died on May 18, 2016 at the age of 72. Dr. Heavner and his wife, Rev Betsey Heavner, have three children and six grandchildren: Matthew James is married to Carolyn Talus and father of Torsten and Aven; Kori Rae is married to Ali Kheri Mbaraka and mother of Taariq and Naadir; Benjamin Douglas is married to Gretchen Watson and the father of Elias and Marlowe. He is also survived by seven siblings: Douglas Heavner, Joretta Chaney, Richard Heavner, Bessie Park, Alice Young, Rose Rubin, Ronald Heavner, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents Douglas and Grace (Frantz), and brothers William Heavner, Harold Heavner, Frank Heavner, Roger Heavner, and Herbert Heavner.

Dr. Heavner was the founding director of the anesthesiology research program at Texas Tech Health Science Center and travelled globally to consult, teach, and lecture on the management of pain and the pharmacology of local anesthetics. For more than 35 years, he published research articles to advance the medical specialty of pain management, contributed to several textbooks, and helped develop and coordinate an international examination for the credentialing of pain specialists. He was active in many professional organizations and served on the editorial board of several professional journals. The Texas Pain Society named a lectureship for Dr. Heavner in recognition of his contributions.

Dr. Heavner graduated from Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland, studied at the University Maryland and Frostburg State Teachers College. Through shared work in 4-H, Jim met Betsey Clark, and they were married in 1967. He obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Georgia. While in Veterinary School, he became active in biomedical research, spending time at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Veterinary Pathology section. He earned a PhD in pharmacology and held a research faculty position at the University of Washington. He enjoyed research positions at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Helsinki Central University (Finland), Virginia Tech University and others. He spent several years at the Food and Drug Administration in the Washington D.C. area as a Branch Chief.

Jim Heavner’s roots in western Maryland gave him a love of adventure and a love of family. Favorite memories are a canoe trip in the Allagash wilderness, Heavner family reunions, hikes on trails in wilderness areas and gatherings around the country that included one on one time with grandchildren. ​

C. Stratton Hill, Jr., MD - 1928-2015

Texas Pain Society is saddened that one of our founders and a leading advocate for pain care has passed away.  Dr. C. Stratton Hill was a founding member and the second president of TPS from 1992-96.  He was a prominent figure in public policy supporting treatment for chronic pain, and was a humanitarian in the highest sense.  Dr. Hill authored the Texas Intractable Pain Treatment Act, which was the first state statute of its sort, and which served as the model for the rest of the USA.    

 C. Stratton Hill, Jr., M.D., Professor Emeritus of Medicine, joined the faculty of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, in 1963.  Dr. Hill early established a formal Pain Treatment Service at MD Anderson.  Dr. Hill was a founding member of the Texas Cancer Pain Initiative as well as the Texas Pain Society, both organizations dedicated to improving pain treatment education for health care professionals and public policy facilitating access to care.  Dr. Hill was appointed to two terms on the Texas Cancer Council.  He served on pain treatment guidelines and curriculum committees for the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Texas Cancer Council.  He also served on the Advisory Committee for Pain Relief of the American Cancer Society.  He was the recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Humanitarian Award in 1995, and shared the 1997 National Drug Policy Foundation’s Norman Zinberg Award for Excellence in Medicine and Treatment with Kathleen Foley of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  In recent years, he had facilitated health care for the underserved in Houston as Vice President for Health Affairs of the Open Door Mission, for which he received Mayor Anise Parker’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010.

 The Schade-Hill Public Policy Award is an annual award created by the Texas Pain Society to recognize the outstanding work of an individual or group of individuals who have helped make positive changes in the world  of pain medicine. This award is inspired by the countless hours that  Drs. C.M. Schade & Stratton Hill dedicated to Texas Pain Society to help craft the pain  medicine laws that govern Texas today.

 Dr. Hill will be missed, but his memory and his legacy will fuel progress in our efforts in clinical care, research, education, and public policy for the future of the practice of Pain Medicine.  

P. Prithvi Raj, MD - 1931-2016

Born in India, he worked and lived in England, Norway and several cities in the United States, eventually retiring in Cincinnati where he founded the University of Cincinnati Pain Clinic from 1979 to1986.  He was fortunate to have forged long lasting friendships all over the globe.

Dr. Raj was a world-renowned anesthesiologist and pioneer in the field of regional anesthesia, setting standards for care worldwide. He began his medical training at Mysore Medical College in India and his illustrious career took him around the world. His significant research, many articles, books, lectures and demonstrations on regional anesthesia and pain management proved him to an international leader in the field. He is a founding member of American Society of Regional Anesthesia, Texas Pain Society, and the World Institute of Pain.

Dr. Raj was dedicated to advancing the education and training of the next generation of pain management physicians. Throughout his years, he spread his knowledge to countless pain physicians to fight pain and suffering.

William Willis, Jr., MD, PhD - 1934-2015

Bill was well known in the field of neuroscience and highly influential in the field of pain research. He conducted pioneering work in sensory physiology, mapping and studying pain pathways in the spinal cord and brain. He  was also a pioneer in elucidating the process of central sensitization, a phenomenon that underlies many chronic pain states. 

 During his research career, Bill was elected president of several major scientific societies including the Society for Neuroscience and the American Pain Society. He was a long-time member of IASP, attending every  meeting and contributing at least 12 articles to the Proceedings of the World Congress on Pain and 28 peer-reviewed publications to PAIN. He served as a Council member from 1984 to 1990 and in recognition of his outstanding contributions to advance the association’s mission was named an Honorary Member of IASP.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health throughout his career, Bill wrote numerous scientific articles, book chapters, and textbooks. His legacy, however, is not what he left in journals and books. It is something infinitely more important yet cannot be graphed or quantified. What he leaves behind are trainees, colleagues, and friends who are forever changed by their encounters with him. Bill was a humble man who enjoyed talking about any subject with anybody, be it a student or a Nobel laureate. He was not into the politics of science but into the people of science, forging friendships, collaborations, and life-long bonds. (Original print 09/30/2015 IASP)