Special Interest Section Profile: Primary Front Line Headache Care

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 Front Line Headache Care are closely aligned with AHS’s mission to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas about causes and treatments of headache disorders. By expanding headache educational programs for primary care practitioners and trainees, the Front Line Headache Care section works to improve initial diagnoses for headache patients so they can promptly access the proper resources for headache management.

We spoke with Section Co-Chairs Jeffrey Royce, MD, FAHS and Stephanie Nahas, MD, FAHS about the group’s current and ongoing work, and their vision for the future.

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Name of Section Chairs
Jeffrey Royce, Stephanie Nahas

Name of Special Interest Section
Primary Front Line Headache Care

Number of Members

What is the mission of your Special Interest Section?
Our focus is on leading outreach efforts to Primary Care physicians in order to educate them about headache care and diagnosis, and to curate and distribute related educational materials.

What are some recent projects your Section has been a part of?
This is a relatively new Special Interest Section which is still discovering its calling, but we have several projects on the horizon. While at the Scottsdale Headache Symposium, we learned about an initiative taking place at the University of Utah School of Medicine Neurology Department called Headache School, which provides patients with knowledge on what headaches are, what migraine is and how to to navigate the healthcare system. They also hold classes on therapeutic techniques like mindfulness and yoga. It’s been very well-received with both the patient and provider communities. We’re currently working on expanding both the in-person and online aspects of that program.

What are the future goals of this Special Interest Section?
As we build this Section, our plan is to survey AHS membership regarding ongoing needs for member education, physician education and patient care, especially in terms of advocacy. We’d like to find the big-picture issues that primary care practitioners face when trying to manage headache. We will use those answers to formulate our mission statement. From there, we will need to build up Section membership and develop an AHS directory webpage. We will also be looking to partner up with the NP/PA Special Interest Section, because they are also at the front line of patient care. We have a lot of similar goals.

We hope that these efforts will build up our membership. We’d like this section to be the home base for AHS members that are primary care physicians, so we can use it as a springboard to other services of AHS. Once our presence becomes more established, we will create materials to establish and share evidence-based guidelines for headache primary care.

How is this Special Interest Section making an impact in the field of Headache Medicine?
This Section is new, so we are currently in a brainstorming process regarding our future direction, due to the merging of Primary Care with In-Office patient education.

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 Front Line Section for actively working to advance those goals. By expanding headache educational programs for Primary Care physicians and trainees, 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 Front Line 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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