Special Interest Section Profile: New Investigator and Trainee Section

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 New Investigator and Trainee Special Interest Section reflects the Society’s broader goal of advancing the field of headache by recruiting trainees and those new to the field of headache medicine. By serving as a platform for mentorship, leadership training, and professional development, the New Investigator and Trainee Section provides support to members beginning their careers in headache medicine. We spoke with Section Chair Juliana VanderPluym, MD, about the group’s ongoing work and their vision for the future.

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Name of Section Chair
Juliana VanderPluym

Name of Special Interest Section
New Investigator and Trainee

What is the mission of the special interest section?
The mission of our special interest section is to be a forum for collaboration, to provide an opportunity for building leadership skills and professional development, as well as to provide opportunities for mentorship and sponsorship.

What recent projects has your group been a part of?
Things that we’ve worked on include a speed mentoring session where, basically, you can meet a lot of different people that are established in the field. You can discuss with them your research goals, or your clinical goals, and get feedback on the feasibility of these as well as how you can move forward in the most productive manner.

What we’re trying to do is establish mentorship relationships amongst various members of the Society. We really want to be working to expand the network out so that as many people can become involved and build these relationships.

What future goals does your special interest section have?
We’re really trying to work on encouraging engagement in education. We want to have as many early career clinicians and researchers join our section. We want to ensure that they know about all the opportunities that are available through the American Headache Society, as well as the other societies that focus on headache medicine. We also want to encourage greater education for medical students, residents and fellows in the field of headache medicine so that, hopefully, when they finish their training they have an interest in treating patients with headache.

How is your group making an impact in the field of headache medicine?
We’re hoping that by engaging people early in their training that they will want to continue in this field so that we can increase the number of providers that are available for patients who have migraine and other headache disorders.

This section really has a special place in my heart. When I started out as a medical student and a resident, I joined the American Headache Society and was a member of this section and have watched it grow. I’ve been able to experience this section in many different ways, and I can’t even count the number of opportunities that it provided me. I hope that other people will be able to share in that same experience.

If you are an AHS member who would like to join the New Investigator and Trainee Special Interest Section, please contact us.

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