July 2021 Society Spotlight

Meet Mia Minen, MD, MPH, FAHS, Chair Special Interest Sections

Hi, I am pleased to serve as the Overall Chair of the Special Interest Sections of the American Headache Society and to share my journey in Headache Medicine and how AHS has influenced it.

While a senior resident at Columbia’s Neurological Institute, I attended my first AHS Scientific Meeting and was amazed at the science presented, the active involvement of the New Investigator and Trainee Section (NITS), and the friendship and the support of people who have since become very involved in the Society, e.g., Dr. Rebecca Wells. Early on, I became involved in a study conducted by NITS “New Investigator and Trainee Task Force Survey on the Recruitment and Retention of Headache Specialists” and was thus able to meet other amazing headache specialists around the country who were also in training or first starting out.

During my first fellowship in Neuropsychiatry/Behavioral Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), I attended my first AHS Scottsdale meeting. There, I further realized that I could network best at the special interest section meetings, where smaller groups of people could converse and brainstorm about topics of interest to them. I met Dr. Benjamin Friedman at the then “Emergency Medicine” Special Interest Section, and he offered me mentorship as well as the ability to conduct a secondary analysis on one of his datasets. This in turn helped me launch my research career and made me realize the potential value of these special interest sections. I was later asked to be on the AHS guidelines panel for the emergency department migraine guidelines because of my involvement in the special interest section. I decided to attend as many special interest section meetings as possible to learn about the Society, its members, and the many “hot topics” discussed in these section meetings.

Ultimately, I ran for and was voted Chair of the Emergency/In-patient/Refractory Special Interest section for two terms. During this time, we accomplished many things, including publication of the “Introducing the Migraine Action Plan.”  Furthermore, the section conducted two research studies. The first was titled “American Headache Society Survey About Urgent and Emergency Management of Headache Patients.” This was presented at an AHS meeting and published in Headache. The section also conducted a study titled, “Survey on Outpatient Infusion Practices for the Treatment of Headache.” The study findings were presented at the annual meeting. We also organized a very successful course at the annual scientific meeting titled “Inpatient Treatment for Migraine and Other Severe Headaches.”

At the time of my second appointment as Chair of the Section, I also ran for and was voted the Overall Chair of the Special Interest Sections. In this role, I bring together the various Chairs and we discuss how we can collaborate together on courses, projects, and other matters our members find important.


Some newer initiatives have included:

-The AHS Special Interest Section Fair has been widely successful in increasing the visibility of the AHS Special Interest Sections.

-An increase in Special Interest Section pre-course opportunities (accomplished by shortening the length of the courses).

-Increasing exposure of the Special Interest Sections to AHS members. Sections relevant to the main lecture are introduced or moderated by Section Chairs and Sections are listed in the main meeting program to elevate their presence.

-Increased collaboration between sections. This led to even stronger section pre-course proposals and the ability for more visibility of the various sections at the meetings.

-Improved scheduling of section meetings to avoid too many from occurring at once.


Recent news related to the Special Interest Sections:

-We advocated for Special Interest Sections to receive funding for their projects. In turn, AHS decided there could be a contest whereby the sections submit proposals and the winning proposal gets funded. Congrats to the Statistics/Methodology Special Interest Section for winning the first round. We look forward to another round this year.

-There are diversity initiatives which have been worked on by various sections.

I have enjoyed other opportunities within AHS as well. I have chaired the Headache luncheon for trainees at the annual AAN meeting, served on the First Contact—Headache in Primary Care Advisory Board and led the development of the podcast series, and I currently serve as Chair of the Primary Front Line Headache Care Special Interest Section and as a member of the AHS Guidelines Committee.

I think there are so many exciting ways to get involved in our Society, and I would encourage anyone to reach out to me about getting involved in our Special Interest Sections or anything else of interest to them! I hope everyone has a safe and rewarding summer!

Mia Minen, MD, MPH

Chief of Headache Research

Associate Professor

Departments of Neurology and Population Health

NYU Langone Health


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April 2021
May 2021
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