January Scholar

OHSU School of Nursing January Scholar

Kim Jones

Kim Jones, Ph.D., R.N.C., F.N.P. Associate Professor

"What OHSU discovered about fibromyalgia in 2009"

I have spent the majority of my nursing career as a family nurse practitioner in the Southeastern United States after graduating from Emory University. Although I worked as a master’s prepared faculty in academia, my heart was in clinical practice. Over the years, I saw a steady stream of women at mid-life who were living with overwhelming fatigue, pain and insomnia. Almost without exception, they had been told that their illness was psychosomatic. Yet, their stories were all too similar to me: often college educated, with families and full time jobs before their illness hit. Now they were reduced to “doctor shopping” and a steady diet of psychiatric medications. I didn’t know what they had, but I believed it was real. In an effort to help these patients, I read about a diagnoses called first psychogenic rheumatism, then fibrocytis and, since 1990, fibromyalgia. My goal soon became establishing a program of research to help these women. 

In the mid 1990s when I was investigating PhD programs, OHSU had a well established interdisciplinary team that had done groundbreaking work in fibromyalgia, including setting diagnostic criteria, establishing the name “fibromyalgia” based on negative studies with steroids and muscle physiology, developing the standard questionnaire used in fibromyalgia studies and testing, exercise protocols to help people with fibromyalgia manage symptoms and regain physical function. I relocated to Portland and since that time have been involved in multiple drug studies in fibromyalgia, with three drugs now FDA indicated for fibromyalgia. My dissertation (F31), (R01) and (R21) have been exercise or exercise plus drug randomized, controlled clinical trials.

I am now an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing and an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine. Since I joined an established team at OHSU, I was quickly embraced by the international community of fibromyalgia researchers and am a frequently invited speaker for patients, clinicians and researchers investigating fibromyalgia. I have practiced in the rheumatology clinic at Oregon Health & Science University evaluating and treating people with fibromyalgia and am currently the president of the Fibromyalgia Information Foundation (www.myalgia.com), a non-profit organization whose aim for the past three decades has been to disseminate scientifically sound fibromyalgia data.