Special Interest Section Profile: Behavioral Issues

The American Headache Society is home to a diverse array of Special Interest Sections that connect members with shared expertise and interests to collaborate on research, develop practice models and provide multidisciplinary participation in support of the Society’s overall mission.

The focus of the Behavioral Issues Special Interest Section reflects the Society’s broader goal of refining our understanding of causes and treatments for headache disorders. By examining behavioral issues as they relate to headache care, the Behavioral Issues Section encourages further research and innovation into the behavioral aspects of headache genesis and care.

We spoke with Section Chair Elizabeth Seng, PhD, FAHS about the group’s current and ongoing work, and their vision for the future.

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Name of Section Chair

Elizabeth Seng, PhD, FAHS

Name of Special Interest Section

Behavioral Issues

Number of Members


What is the mission of your Special Interest Section?

To foster scientific knowledge and clinical practice in behavioral issues relevant to headache.

What are some recent projects your section has been a part of?

We have been working to establish clinical guidelines for behavioral migraine treatments, and we recently created a lifestyle and migraine infographic to serve as an educational tool. We designed a continuing education curriculum for psychologists to train them on the basics of cognitive behavioral therapy for adult and pediatric migraine, which was presented recently at the American Psychological Association, where it will be featured again next year, as well as with the Ohio Psychological Association.

What are the future goals of this Special Interest Section?

We are currently exploring new ways to invite discussion and innovation in the scientific advancement of behavioral headache medicine, including potentially assembling a small meeting specifically to address these important and timely issues, and providing support to enable students and fellows to attend these and similar meetings. We plan to continue to develop educational materials and programming to inform health care professionals about the importance of the behavioral aspects of headache genesis and care, and to develop and recommend proposals for symposia, workshops and other educational tools for the three AHS meetings per year.

We also plan on recruiting new members to AHS who have a specific interest in behavioral issues and how they can be treated. We hope that as our section grows, it will encourage more behavior-oriented research: specifically, studies on the roles of psychological, social, emotional, behavioral and psychobiological factors in headache. We believe this research is essential to raising awareness not only in people with headache, but with the public at large.

How is this Special Interest Section making an impact in the field of Headache Medicine?

We provide an ongoing forum for innovation in development and evaluation of novel behavioral treatments for a variety of people with headache disorders. By providing educational resources to both patients and medical providers, we are making behavioral treatments more available to those living with migraine.

Educating physicians, health professionals and the public, and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of the American Headache Society, and we’re grateful to the Behavioral Issues Section for actively working to advance those goals. By advocating for an increase in behavioral research within headache field, the members of this special interest section are ensuring that the American Headache Society and its members will remain at the forefront of emerging headache treatment technologies.

If you are an AHS member who would like to get involved in the Behavioral Issues Special Interest Section, get in touch. If you represent an AHS Special Interest Section and would like to be featured in a future profile, please complete this form.


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