61st Annual Scientific Meeting: New Frontiers in Headache

Recapping Highlights of the American Headache Society’s 61st Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia

More than 1,300 health professionals congregated in Philadelphia for the American Headache Society’s 61st Annual Scientific Meeting: New Frontiers in Headache. Held from July 11 – July 14, 2019, the meeting drew researchers and healthcare providers from around the world to share cutting-edge research and hear insights from leading headache and migraine experts.

Here are a handful of the many highlights from our conference:

A Focus on Wellness

Provider wellness was a central theme during this year’s Annual Meeting. The 2019 Women’s Leadership Development Course chaired by Rashmi B. Halker Singh, MD, FAHS, focused on extinguishing burnout through professional fulfillment and wellness. Amaal Starling, MD, FAHS; Rebecca Burch, MD, FAHS; Sara Sacco, MD, FAHS; Rebecca Wells, MD, MPH, FAHS; Dawn Buse, PhD, FAHS; and Matthew S. Robbins, MD, FAHS, shared strategies for coping with burnout, including advocacy and time management. On Friday morning, Deena Kuruvilla, MD, moderated a well-attended session on “Wellness for the Headache Provider” that promoted physician wellness through mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy. 

Awards & Recognition

The Scientific Meeting officially kicked off on Thursday afternoon with opening remarks from AHS President Kathleen Digre, MD, FAHS, and Scientific Program Committee Chair, Andrew Charles, MD, FAHS. This year’s Seymour Solomon Award recipient Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, FAHS, took the stage to deliver her lecture, “Time’s Up: Headache Medicine in the #MeToo Era.” Dr. Loder offered an insightful and honest look at how women are treated in medicine and urged organizations like AHS to continue championing women and equality. Afterward, former AHS CEO Linda McGillicuddy was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than 25 years of service to AHS.

Elizabeth Seng, PhD, FAHS, delivered the inaugural Early Career Award Lecture on her research, “Does Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Migraine Reduce Migraine-related Disability in People with Episodic and Chronic Migraine? A Phase 2b Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Amy Gelfand, MD, FAHS, received the Harold G. Wolff Lecture Award to speak about her research, “The Association Between Parental Migraine and Infant Colic: A Cross-sectional, Web-based, US Survey Study.”

Vincent Martin, MD, FAHS, delivered the John R. Graham Lecture on “Migraine Trigger Factors: Fact vs. Fiction.” Martin received the award for his leadership in research and education in the field of headache.

At the AHS Membership Meeting, Kathleen Digre, MD, FAHS, and Todd Schwedt, MD, FAHS, presented the Above & Beyond Award for significant service to the field of headache medicine to Christine L. Lay, MD, FAHS, and Noah Rosen, MD, FAHS. Robert E. Shapiro, MD, PhD, FAHS, won the Distinguished Service Award.

We congratulate all of these individuals for their exemplary work.

Scholarships and Presentations

At the Scientific Meeting, Dr. Todd Schwedt presented awards to 10 Recipients of the Frontiers in Headache Research Scholarship. Recipients were chosen by the quality of their research proposal or study, and the potential for the proposal, study or thesis to contribute to the advancement of the field of headache medicine. Congratulations to the recipients: 

Virginia Baker, MD; Shae Datta, MD; Angela Y. Hou, MD; Hannah F. Johnson, MD; Jessica Kiarashi, MD; Erika Liktor-Busa, PhD; Jason H. Lin, MD; Elanagan Nagarajan, MD; Hadas Nahman-Averbuch, PhD; and Andrea Portt, MS.

The Runnin’ for Research Advocacy Award was presented to Bridget R. Mueller, MD, PhD, and the second recipient, Michael Flannery, DO, will receive the award at the upcoming Scottsdale Headache Symposium.

Migraine Moment Short Film Contest

Winner of the 4th Migraine Moment Short Film Contest Shannon Rody gave a rousing speech about migraine from a mother’s perspective, telling providers, “The least you can do for each [patient], if you can’t take their pain away, is to listen.” Her film “Mind Craft” depicts life with migraine through the eyes of a child and was inspired by her son Rowan. Watch the full film here.  

Members’ Choice Award

Each year, the Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain® editorial board invites Society members to vote for one standout publication in the journal from the previous year. There was a tie for the 2018 winners of the Members’ Choice Award, and the award was presented for the following papers:

“Migraine Progression: A Systematic Review,” published by Dawn Buse, PhD, FAHS; Jacob Greisman, BA; Khosrow Baigi, MD, and Richard Lipton, MD, FAHS.

“Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension: 10 Myths and Misperceptions,” published by Peter Kranz, MD; Linda Gray, MD; and Timothy Amrhein, MD.

We also want to thank all of the attendees for continuing the conversation on Twitter and showing your support for the people and organizations leading us toward new frontiers in headache medicine. We encourage those who couldn’t attend to peruse the #AHSAM hashtag on Twitter. Select presentations and lectures from this meeting will be uploaded to the Virtual Meeting Platform by mid-September, so be sure to check back to access them. 

Lastly, the American Headache Society would like to thank all of our members and sponsors for making our 61st Annual Scientific Meeting a success. Thanks to you, #AHSAM continues to be the premier venue for the dissemination of the latest research and scientific advances underlying the practice of headache medicine. We hope that everyone left the meeting feeling emboldened by the future of headache medicine.


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