Member Spotlight: David B. Watson, MD, FAHS
AHS recognizes David Watson for his outstanding work on behalf of the patient community
Dr. David Watson, Chair and Associate Professor of Neurology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and Director of the WVU Headache Center he established 10 years ago, is inspired by his patients with migraine. “I am amazed at the challenges and successes of the people I meet who have overcome or are working to overcome overwhelmingly negative forces related to the disease,” Dr. Watson says.
In addition to the more apparent “intrinsic forces” such as pain, environmental sensitivity and disability, patients also struggle with extrinsic forces such as the stigma surrounding migraine.
Dr. Watson, himself, lives with a mild form of episodic migraine and has spent the last 15 years working to improve the lives of patients with migraine and other disorders that cause severe head pain. His clinical work focuses on patients with headache disorders and access to care for underserved populations, while his research interests lie in new and emerging treatment options.
On what led him to specialize in headache, Dr. Watson says, “Being shown early in training the need and the potential for impact in focusing on headache medicine lead me to pursue a headache medicine career.” Additionally, Dr. Watson was inspired through his experiences under the mentorship of such physicians as Alan Finkel, MD, FAHS; Kevin Kahn, MD; Doug Mann, MD; and Anne Calhoun, MD, FAHS. “Watching their skill, compassion and impact drew me to the field. I love seeing patients and getting to know them and their stories,” he says.
Dr. Watson is also actively involved in patient advocacy. In 2015, he founded Runnin’ for Research, a nonprofit dedicated to fundraising and advocacy for headache and migraine research, including leading lobbying initiatives in Washington D.C. Every year, the nonprofit organizes and hosts a number of 5K races runs and walks throughout the country, aimed at raising awareness and empowering patients.
Since its founding, Runnin’ for Research has donated more than $150,000 to numerous organizations working to improve the lives of those with migraine and headache disorders, including the American Migraine Foundation, Migraine Research Foundation, American Brain Foundation and American Academy of Neurology.
In addition his advocacy work, Dr. Watson currently serves as a member of the American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force, has served as the Chair of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Grassroots Working Group and is a member of the AAN Government Relations Committee.
Dr. Watson is a recipient of the American Headache Society’s 2018 Above and Beyond Award, which acknowledges an individual who has provided significant service. He was also named the 2017 Palatucci Advocate of the Year by the AAN.
On behalf of the American Headache Society, we would like to thank Dr. Watson for his membership and many contributions to the Society’s mission, the next generation of headache
specialists and the patient community.
“The need is great, but the resources are limited. Those of us who are passionate about headache medicine and have had the opportunity to learn in the field need to take responsibility for teaching the next generation of specialists as well as educating other providers who will see people with headache disorders at the beginning,” Dr. Watson says.
About David Watson
Name: David B. Watson, MD, FAHS
AHS Membership: Member since 2003
Primary: Member of Underserved Populations in Headache Medicine Special Interest Section; Director and Founder of the West Virginia University (WVU) Headache Center; Chair and Associate Professor of Neurology at WVU School of Medicine; Founder of Runnin’ for Research; Member of the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) Government Relations Committee.
Quote: “The need is great, but the resources are limited. Those of us who are passionate about headache medicine and have had the opportunity to learn the field need to take responsibility for teaching the next generation of specialists as well as educating other providers who will see people with headache disorders at the beginning.”
Each month, our Society showcases the accomplishments of one member. Please invest a few minutes to suggest a fellow AHS member to be featured within a future spotlight article via this form.