Member Spotlight: Carrie O. Dougherty, MD, FAHS

Carrie Dougherty is making a positive impact in the field of headache medicine with her commitment to the patient and neurology communities

Dr. Carrie Dougherty, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and the Program Director of Headache Medicine Fellowship at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, is dedicated to empowering patients who are burdened by stigmas associated with migraine. “I want my patients to feel empowered and learning about their condition helps them feel more in control,” Dr. Dougherty says.

Outside of the hospital, Dr. Dougherty engages with the migraine community through her involvement with Miles for Migraine, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase awareness of migraine as a disabling neurological disease. “Myths and stigmas are added burdens for people who are living with migraine,” Dr. Dougherty explains. “Many people don’t understand that migraine symptoms can be unrelenting and severely disabling.” Social stigmas greatly impact patients with migraine, and the Miles for Migraine mission aligns with Dr. Dougherty’s personal goal to raise awareness of headache disorders and restore patients’ confidence.

Dr. Dougherty works hard to positively impact her immediate community in Washington, D.C., as well. She is involved in Headache on the Hill, an annual lobbying event that aims to unite headache specialists and healthcare professionals on headache-related legislation and funding requests. She is a member of the board of the Southern Headache Society and co-chaired this month’s SHS Meeting in Asheville, NC. “Regional meetings provide an important forum for discussion and learning amongst providers who may not otherwise interact,” says Dr. Dougherty.

The American Headache Society would like to recognize Dr. Dougherty for her outstanding reputation in the patient and neurology communities.

Dr. Dougherty has co-authored several noteworthy articles, including “Emergency and inpatient treatment of migraine: An American Headache Society Survey.” Conducted in 2013, the survey was created by the Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Special Interest Section of AHS to determine members preferences for emergency and inpatient treatment of migraine and related headache disorders. The study then aimed to synthesize the survey results and develop recommendations for clinical best practices. The complete research findings can be found here.

Dr. Dougherty utilizes progressive approaches to treating migraine and headache disorders. Her team at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital collaborates with various MGUH departments—including physical therapists, interventional pain management specialists and pain psychologists—to effectively target symptoms. Her specific interests include OnobotA treatment for chronic migraine and peripheral nerve blocking treatment for headache. Dr. Dougherty is also interested in research about how diet and nutrition affect migraine.

On behalf of AHS, we would like to congratulate Dr. Dougherty on her successful career in headache medicine, and extend our sincere gratitude for her contributions to the field.

“Migraine is a debilitating disease that is not only physically painful, but emotionally isolating,
Dr. Dougherty says. “By considering the whole person when evaluating the patient, we can develop better individualized care the first time around.”

About Carrie Dougherty

Name: Carrie Dougherty, MD, FAHS

AHS Membership: Member since 2011

Primary: Member of the Women’s Issues and Procedural Headache Medicine Special Interest Sections; Member of the Program Directors and Guidelines Committees; Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital; MedStar Georgetown Headache Center; Program Director of Headache Medicine Fellowship, MedStar Georgetown; Assistant Program Director of Neurology Residency.

Quote: “I believe that educating patients and their families about migraine helps prevent the formation of stigmas. People need to know that migraine is not ‘just a bad headache,’ and that treatment starts with education. I strive to help educate my patients about their condition and reassure them that I am there to support them, too.”

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