Member Spotlight: William B. Young, MD, FAHS, FAAN, FCPP

Dr. William B. Young, Professor of Neurology and Co-Director of Inpatient Program at Jefferson Headache Center, is dedicated to migraine and headache advocacy and has worked tirelessly to increase understanding of headache disorders on behalf of the patient community. “Helping patients with migraine and other headache diseases is more than a career,” he says. “Since my involvement in patient advocacy, it has become a calling.”

Education is essential to raising awareness of migraine and headache disorders, not just for the greater community, but for health care providers as well. “Migraine is the No. 1 disease that general neurologists treat, yet many show remarkably low curiosity about this debilitating disease, and many stigmatize their migraine patients,” Dr. Young says.

To combat stigma, we must first understand it. Dr. Young published the first study on migraine stigma in 2013.

Dr. Young graduated from the American Academy of Neurology’s Palatucci Advocacy Leadership program in 2009. He then went on to serve on the board of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and is now its past president. He has mobilized patient organizations, headache specialists, scientists and health care professionals at Headache on the Hill. This two-day annual lobbying event in Washington, D.C, serves to unite headache specialists, health care providers and patient advocates on headache-related legislation and funding. This year’s event saw a record-breaking number of attendees and displayed the migraine community’s firm commitment to educating policymakers about this debilitating disease.

In his study of disease stigma, Dr. Young realized that effective patient movements that de-stigmatize disease are patient driven. He shepherded the growth of Miles for Migraine, which went from one race to 13 in 2018 and an expected 18 in 2019. He also helped expand its scope to include not only walk/runs but also patient education days, adolescent camps and patient support groups.

He is a founder and now physician-advisor of the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP). This organization includes 20 nonprofit and for-profit patient groups, and top bloggers. He serves on the language and statistics subcommittee, in an effort to use these avenues to reduce the stigma of headache diseases. He also blogs occasionally on migraine.com.

In addition to his advocacy work, Dr. Young has co-authored three books for patients living with migraine along with Stephen Silberstein, MD, FAHS, including “Navigating Life with Migraine and Other Headaches,” “Migraine and Other Headaches” and “Jefferson Headache Manual.” These books act as essential guides for patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause severe head pain.

A testament to his longstanding work on behalf of the patient community. Dr. Young was recently recognized as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Docs in 2018.

As a former member of the Medical Student Education subsection of the Education Committee of our Society, Dr. Young co-authored a paper titled, “Square One: Headache Education for the Medical Student.” The paper outlines a curriculum and core competencies for students entering medical school who are interested in the study of headache medicine.

Upon completion of his residency at the New England Medical Center, Dr. Young began working with Dr. Silberstein at what is now the Jefferson Headache Center, one of the few academic headache centers in the U.S. Over the course of his career, Dr. Young has worked with Dr. Silberstein to educate many headache fellows over the years.

A member of our Society for the past 28 years, Dr. Young has been the recipient of our Society’s Above and Beyond Award and our Research Award for his impactful work.

On behalf of AHS, we would like to congratulate Dr. Young on his successful career in headache medicine. We extend our sincere gratitude for his contributions to our field and the patient community.

“I have spent my professional life treating patients with migraine and headache disease, studying them, writing about them, teaching about them and advocating for them. I will continue to work to fight for increased research and education and to break the stigma surrounding this disease once and for all.”

About William Young

Name: William B. Young, MD, FAHS, FAAN, FCPP

AHS Membership: Member since 1990; past member of the Board of Directors, at large, American Headache Society

Primary: Member of the Procedural Headache Medicine, Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care, Women’s Issues, New Investigators and Trainees and Primary Front Line Headache Care Special Interest Sections; Professor of Neurology and Co-Director of Inpatient Care at Jefferson Headache Center.

Quote: “Reducing the stigma of migraine and headache disorders both among health care providers and the patient community is my primary focus. Providing education and a clear understanding of how this disease affects our patients and their lives are essential to identifying better treatment options for our patients, and, ultimately, finding a cure.”

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