Special Interest Section Profile: Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues

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

The goals of the Special Interest Section focused on Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues are closely aligned with the AHS mission to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas about causes and treatments of headache disorders. By staying up to date on the latest methodologic issues and disseminating information throughout the society, the Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues section empowers AHS members to produce their most rigorous and reliable research.

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

Name of Special Interest Section
Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues

Name of Section Chair
Donald Penzien, PhD, FAHS

What is the mission of your Special Interest Section?
Our mission is to lend support to people that are interested in educating themselves about the latest methodologic issues as they pertain to headache research. Many AHS members are clinician researchers, and nowadays it takes a lot of work to keep up with the most updated research methodologies. We try to provide educational opportunities to the membership of the organization to make staying up to date on the latest standards in research methodologies and statistical analyses easier.

It’s a moving target these days, with research requirements becoming much more sophisticated at a faster rate than they have in the past. There aren’t a lot of other resources focused on learning how to go about analyzing collected data. That applies to most disciplines. Once you’re out of med school, or once you’ve gotten your PhD, there aren’t many opportunities available to keep up to date with what’s going on in methods and statistics, so we try to make facilitate that process.

What are some recent projects your section has been a part of?
A lot of the members of our section have taken a lead on keeping the rest of the society updated in the newest developments in methods and statistics. We also do a lot of work with Headache, like offering continuing education courses during the pre-courses of our national meeting. These are usually co-sponsored by other sections, and focus on explaining the preferred methods in drafting and formatting your research and other publication issues.

What are the future goals of this Special Interest Section?
Our biggest future goal is the create a new supplementary piece for Headache. It will focus on the newest information on reporting studies and analyzing data. Across the board, there are a lot of different areas we hope to get involved in, but we think that this will be most useful.

How is this Special Interest Section making an impact in the field of Headache Medicine?
I think that we have a substantial impact on headache medicine indirectly through our impact on headache research. We are focused on helping to improve the caliber and quality of research, along with its reliability. Facilitating that process is crucial to moving research forward, allowing for more developments within the field.
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 Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues Section for actively working to advance those goals. By keeping our members updated on the evolving standards of headache research, the members of this special interest section are ensuring that the American Headache Society will remain at the forefront of emerging headache treatment technologies.

If you are an AHS member who would like to get involved in the Methodology, Design and Statistical Issues Special Interest Section, get in touch.

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