Brad Klein: Member Spotlight

Honoree Brad Klein, MD, MBA, FAHS, talks about the importance of advocacy and business acumen in headache medicine

During his headache residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Brad Klein, MD, MBA, FAHS, saw many people debilitated by their headache disorder. Some were “unable to maintain a marriage or a family, let alone a career, often with depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation, amongst other ailments,” he says. After empowering them to better understand their disorder, providing direction on how to care for themselves better and then offering treatments to control their pain, Dr. Klein saw many patients turn their lives around. “To care for someone in such a way has been one of the most rewarding accomplishments then, and still is to this day.”

Dr. Klein laments how few medical students and residents get training to manage people with headache disorders. Patients suffer in silence without opportunities to get the right care they need. “Even though we’ve been discussing this for decades, the number of people who don’t recognize what they’re dealing with, patients-wise, is depressing, frankly,” he says.

Dr. Klein doesn’t only want to help the patient population, but also to help providers better understand headache disorders. “I’ve worked in many different organizations to ensure that there’s appropriate research being performed to understand migraine and other headache disorders so we can help eliminate the stigma and provide better treatments going forward.”

A physician and an advocate

Early in his career, Dr. Klein saw that there was no advocacy for neurology patients in Pennsylvania where he practices. So Klein formed a team in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology, to build a state neurological society in 2007. “We now represent the entire state in terms of neurologists as well as patients with neurological needs to move legislation forward and to help protect patients from bad legislation.”

Additionally, through efforts with the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, Dr. Klein advocated to increase NIH funding for patients with headache disorders and met with legislators over the years on a federal level. He also worked with colleagues to communicate to Medicare about the need to ensure cognitive care is reimbursed appropriately. “That way, we can spend time with our patients and not be rushed in order to get through the visit to the next patients,” Dr. Klein says. “Quality over volume was something I’ve been pushing for years.”

Addressing provider and patient needs

Dr. Klein, who served on the AHS Procedural Headache Medicine section and as the chair of the Practice Management Committee, wants to enable providers to sustain their practices financially in order to better focus on their patients. He credits part of his leadership experience to his business degree. “It’s an unfortunately common problem that we as providers are not trained in business management,” he says. “Consequently, even though we become good, if not excellent clinicians that can help other people, we don’t know how to help ourselves. Providers across the country struggle to figure out how to survive in their practices from a financial standpoint.”

Through his work, Dr. Klein hopes to help decision-makers at every level appreciate what patients with headache disorders experience medically, socially, and professionally.

“Many people have a hard time believing in what they cannot see. But those who suffer understand it’s real because they feel it,” he says. “As headache specialists, we can break down these barriers to understanding the disease and the multitude of viable nonnarcotic treatments, not only for our patients, but our fellow providers.”

The American Headache Society is always seeking new members to join its ranks as it looks to gain a better understanding of headache and face pain. Become a member today to see what all AHS has to offer for those involved in headache treatment and research.

About Brad Klein

Name: Brad Klein, MD, MBA, FAHS

AHS Membership: Member since 2007

Primary: Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Medical Director, Abington Headache Center, Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA; Chief Operating Officer, Abington Neurological Associates, Ltd.

Quote: “I learned early on that patients with migraine and headache disorders are no different than any other person. As everyone does, they have their own set of needs, including understanding and empowerment to improve their lives. I’ve been grateful so many people have trusted me to help them find that empowerment over the years.”

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