July 2022 Society Spotlight

Meet Claire Sandoe, MD, MS, Next Generation Migraine Therapies (NGMT) Program Co-Chair

Hello AHS family!

No, I’ve never had headaches, just normal headaches…

I have lost track of the number of times I’ve heard these words, out of the mouths of everyone from patients and family members to coworkers. My other favorite is, what do you mean some people can read in the car without feeling sick??

Migraine is historically such an under-taught area that even people with medical training may not recognize they have it. We have entered an era where the majority of patients will be helped by available treatments, although there are still some for whom the right molecule or pathway to target is as yet unknown. Broadening education and awareness, from patient and their support system to provider, is crucial to ensuring recognition and appropriate treatment of headache disorders.

My name is Claire Sandoe, and I am a headache neurologist at the Women’s College Hospital Centre for Headache in Toronto, Canada. Together with Dr. Michael Marmura, I am co-chair of the Next Generation Migraine Therapies (NGMT) program (stepping into the very large shoes left by Dr. Jessica Ailani), and I have recently joined the American Headache Society (AHS) Education Committee.

The AHS has played a crucial role in my life since the first International Headache Academy (IHA) I attended in 2017. Before the IHA I had been committed to pursuing headache medicine, but at that meeting I was introduced to the passionate and welcoming Headache community. I am continually amazed at how supportive people at all stages of their careers are within the Society. For example, where else could you sit down to dinner with the immediate past and current presidents of the AHS as a 4th year resident and have a lively discussion about developments in the field? At that IHA, I was asked to debate whether medication withdrawal should come first in the treatment of medication overuse headache with Dr. Chia-Chun Chiang, who recently won the AHS Early Career Award. I remember the trepidation of preparing this talk knowing that Dr. David Dodick would be in the room, but equally remember his support and interested questions for us both during the debate.

The AHS has provided me with great opportunities to share ideas and perspectives with headache experts. I received a Frontiers in Headache Research Scholarship to attend the Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston in 2017 and remember feeling so honored to be able to present my research. It was great to watch this year’s Frontiers presentations at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting, and I encourage anyone thinking about this opportunity to apply to have their research showcased.

Something I especially value about the AHS is the dedication to healthy debate for the advancement of patient care. The field of headache has changed dramatically even over the last few years, and the AHS does a great job of promoting new avenues of thought and keeping providers up to date. I’m excited to be able to collaborate on this last part in my role as NGMT co-chair. The art of headache medicine remains an art and is important to highlight, along with the data. NGMT is a one-day overview of the what, the why, and the how to manage of migraine. The program has both virtual (pre-recorded modules with live Q&A) and live arms, and we are delighted to be bringing back the in-person program starting in Portland this July. The program is intended for anyone who treats migraine, including neurologists, family doctors, internal medicine and subspecialties, and any other interested healthcare professionals, so please share this opportunity with your colleagues!

The last thing I want to highlight about the AHS is the power of mentorship. Dr. Peter Goadsby spoke eloquently about this in his Graham Award lecture at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting. Forget the naysayers, find the people who believe in you and push you to be your best self! The “honor your mentor” tree initiative at the meeting was a beautiful demonstration of all the mentors in our headache community. Although I’m grateful to the numerous people who have mentored me, Dr. Christine Lay has always told me I could succeed, even with tasks that I hadn’t imagined were possible, and I want to thank her for that. Whoever you are, there is a mentor for you in the headache community and within AHS.

Looking forward to meeting everyone hopefully in-person at the 2022 Scottsdale Headache Symposium®!






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