September 2022 Society Spotlight

Meet Scott W. Powers, PhD, FAHS, AHS Board Member-at-Large and Scottsdale Program Committee Co-Chair

I am honored to be a Member-at-Large serving on the American Headache Society’s Board of Directors. I also recently became a Co-Chair of our Scottsdale Program Committee and am so excited about the upcoming 2022 program. I have been a member of our Society since the 1990s. I serve on the Awards Committee and Research Committee, as an Associate Editor for our journal, Headache, and enjoy being a member of a number of Special Interest Sections. In 2021, I received the AHS Seymour Solomon Lecture Award. It is such a nice opportunity to share some aspects of my work with our membership and to highlight what is on the agenda for Scottsdale 2022!

I founded and have been the Co-Director of the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine since 1996. We had the first headache medicine fellowship focused on pediatric care and have had a number of behavioral medicine fellows as well. Our team is dedicated to interdisciplinary practice, collaborative research, advocacy for youth with headache disorders, and education of the next generation of leaders in our field. I must admit that I am passionate about the importance of focusing on youth with headache disorders as a purposeful and bold strategy to reduce disability and enhance quality of life over the course of a person’s life.

I am a pediatric psychologist and clinical investigator whose research has focused on pharmacological, cognitive behavioral, and mind and body interventions for youth with migraine. As a clinician and clinical supervisor, I have provided mind and body interventions (specifically, biofeedback-assisted relaxation training) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to pediatric pain patients and taught these interventions to residents and fellows for over 30 years. I have developed behavioral and mind and body interventions for individuals with migraine, conducted multi-site randomized controlled trials, translated face-to-face interventions into mHealth and telehealth applications, collaborated with neuroscientists and genomics experts on mechanistic investigations, and employed innovative research methods for evaluating behavioral, mind and body, and pharmacological treatments. We have published in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, JAMA Network Open, Pediatrics, JAMA Pediatrics, and Headache.

I have also been a mentor to graduate students, psychology residents and fellows, pediatric fellows, and early career faculty (PhD and MD) for over 30 years. I have the great pleasure of being a mentor to many early to mid-career colleagues who are members of our Society. I am currently the co-Program Director for an NIDDK T32 fellowship training grant (in year 20) and held a K24 midcareer investigator award from NIDDK for 10 years. I received the Martin P. Levin Mentorship Award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology in 2011 and the Logan Wright Research Award in 2013. I consider mentorship and team science to be the most important aspects of my career. I am always happy to talk to members about their careers, hopes, and dreams, and to help in any way that I can.

Currently, I lead two complementary NIH R01 grants along with Dr. Robert Coghill (Multiple Principal Investigator) focused on mechanistic clinical investigations aimed at examining brain imaging and pain processing changes as a result of non-pharmacological, placebo pill, and preventive medication interventions for pediatric migraine (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [NINDS] and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [NCCIH]). I also lead a multi-site U01 grant from NCCIH focused on use of innovative adaptive intervention designs (e.g., Multi-phase Optimization Strategy or MOST) to increase the accessibility of relaxation training for youth with migraine by teaching nurses to introduce this skill in clinic. And, later this year, our team will begin a comparative effectiveness funding award focused on CBT delivered via telehealth with and without preventive medication. This new work is supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI; PI: SW Powers; 2022-2028) and is a stakeholder-informed collaboration among 15 sites in the US. Our Headache Center team is also an active site for a number of trials supported by industry partners. Our hope is that through research we can make a measurable impact of the lives of youth with headache disorders and their families across the world. We believe that if youth experience better health in childhood, the trajectory of their lives will be improved as they continue to cope with headache disorders into adulthood.

I think the American Headache Society has a real treat in store for our members with the Scottsdale program this year. Many of you have already registered to attend and I hope all of you will consider an in-person or virtual option. Highlights this year include pre-meeting courses on career development and mHealth applications you can use immediately after the meeting in your practice, a number of presentations focused on what is new for the practitioner, a plenary focused on pediatric headache (I know, a shameless plug, but I already mentioned my passionate advocacy), a panel discussion about our current understanding of medication overuse, and much more.

I want to thank Dr. Charles for inviting me to provide an introduction to you. Please know that I am dedicated to serving our members in my roles with our Society. I always look forward to meeting and interacting with AHS folks; it is truly a gift for me and I am grateful for being a member of our Society. I hope to see you in Scottsdale.


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