This award honors the AHS Immediate Past President every other year with a lecture at the Annual Scientific Meeting. When not awarded to the Immediate Past President, the award will be given to a person for their international leadership in research and education in the field of headache medicine. This award was named in honor of the late Dr. John R. Graham, for his contributions in the field of headache and his great kindness and personal touch in helping patients understand and cope with their headache problems.

Dr. Graham, born in Boston, February 13, 1909, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Roxbury Latin School. He went on to graduate with honors from Harvard Medical School, trained in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and then in 1936, found his life’s work when he started investigating the vascular changes of migraine under the guidance of the late Dr. Harold Wolff, in New York.

He returned to Boston to practice with Nobel Prize-Winner Dr. George Minot but was soon called upon to serve as a Major in the United States Army Medical Corps in England during WWII. After the war, he returned to private practice in Boston and founded the first headache clinic at the Mass General Hospital. As a bright young clinician, he was selected as Chief of Medicine at the Faulkner Hospital (1950-1974), while continuing to pursue his interest in the study and treatment of headache. He established a Headache Clinic which now bears his name, and the Headache Research Foundation at the Faulkner Hospital.

During his lifetime, Dr. Graham published many papers including observations on the mechanisms of ergotamine tartrate in migraine, the use of corticosteroids in headache, the headache that occurs with renal dialysis, and the role of methysergide and its complications in headache. He developed a series of headache profiles that are still used for teaching purposes, and worked on a computer-based headache interview. He also held many administrative positions including President of the American Headache Society, Editor of Cephalalgia, Regent for Massachusetts of the American College of Physicians, and Editorial Board of Headache. Several highlights among his many honors include, Distinguished Clinician Award of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation Lectureship Award, and the Menninger Award of the American College of Physicians.

Concerned with his patients’ well-being and committed to finding the best treatment available, Dr. Graham openly shared his ideas about research. Colleagues from around the world were always welcome in his home and encouraged with his genuine interest in their opinions and research. John R. Graham was a member, a friend, and an inspiration to those who knew him and he was at peace with himself at the time of his death on April 4, 1990.

Past Recipients

2022 - Peter J. Goadsby, MD, PhD, FAHS

Veni, Vidi, Ego conatus… In Memory of our Mentors

2021 - Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, FAHS

Practicing Headache Medicine in 2021: Realities on the Ground

2020 - Kathleen B. Digre, MD, FAHS

Practical Approach to Eye Pain and Photophobia

2019 - Vincent Martin, MD, FAHS

Migraine Trigger Factors: Fact vs. Fiction

2018 - R. Allan Purdy, MD, FAHS

Teaching Headache Neurology 2018

2017 - Gretchen Tietjen, MD

Understanding Migraine by the Company It Keeps

2016 - Lawrence C. Newman, MD, FAHS

Disabling Migraine

2015 - Morris Levin, MD, FAHS

Diagnosing Headaches

2014 - Elizabeth W. Loder, MD, MPH, FAHS

Headache Medicine: Past, Present and Future

2012 - David W. Dodick, MD, FAHS

Changing Paradigms in Headache Medicine

2011 - Werner J. Becker, MD, FAHS

The Challenge of Headache Management

2010 - Fred D. Sheftell, MD

People I’ve Met, Places I’ve Been, Things I’ve Learned and … Little Known Facts in the History of Headache

2008 - Paul Winner, DO

Seven Steps to a Healthy Brain: A Migraine Focus

2007 - Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, FAHS

Sex Hormones and Headaches

2006 - Alan G. Finkel, MD

Headache Medicine: A History of Subspecialty

2005 - Robert B. Daroff, MD

Information, Reflection, and Advice

2004 - Bahram Mokri, MD

A Journey in the Wonderland of Spontaneous CSF Leaks: Lessons of the Past Decade

2003 - Richard B. Lipton, MD, FAHS

A Self Administered Screener for Migraine in Primary Care

2002 - James R. Couch, Jr., MD, PhD

Migraine-A “Matrix” Disorder

2000 - Neil H. Raskin, MD

Conceptual Issues Surrounding Headache

1999 - Dewey K. Ziegler, MD

How Did Twin Studies Affect Our Current Understanding of Migraine Genetics?

1998 - Michael A. Moskowitz, MD

Migraine Myths & Messages

1997 - Seymour Solomon, MD

Post-traumatic Migraine