Special Interest Section Profile: Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care 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 Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Special Interest Section reflects the Society’s broader goal of refining our understanding of causes and treatments for headache disorders. By advocating for better understanding and care of patients with more severe headache, the Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Section works to improve the field’s understanding of refractory headaches and advance our understanding of treatment options.

We spoke with Section Chair Mia Minen, MD, MPH, FAHS, about the group’s ongoing work and their vision for the future.

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Name of Section Chair
Mia Minen

Name of Special Interest Section
Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care

Number of Members

What is the mission of the special interest section?
The mission of our section is to educate providers about inpatient headache treatment, emergency medical treatment, and guidelines of headache, as well as how to treat patients who are refractory with their headaches. It’s also to engage providers in conversation about how to treat these patients, to develop ideas for further research and to conduct research on how to treat these patients.

What recent projects has your group been a part of?
We developed an educational program to provide a course on the inpatient management of headache patients—within that, who is appropriate for inpatient headache admission, as well as how do you treat the patients once they’re admitted, and what are the headache expectations for when a patient is discharged from an in-patient headache stay. In addition, we had a course on the emergency department treatment of migraine in which we featured the recent American Headache Society guidelines and emergency medicine treatment for migraine, and we’ve also conducted some research studies. One was surveying our members about infusion centers throughout the country, whether they had infusion centers for headache, what kinds of medications they gave, who provided the medications, whether they were nurses, whether they were physicians, in terms of whether they were fellows or attendings. We also tried to see when they are open, so are these infusion centers open and available after hours, over weekends and so forth. We also conducted a study surveying our members to find out the methods they used to prevent visits to the emergency department for headache patients.

What future goals does your special interest section have?
We’d like to collaborate with other societies to help with dissemination and implementation of the emergency department guidelines for migraine. We’d also like to collaborate with other sections within the American Headache Society. There’s a procedural medicine section. There’s a women’s health section, primary care section and so forth, and I think there is a lot of potential for future collaboration. For example, we have refractory headaches under us, so how do we get primary care providers to get to a better understanding of how to treat refractory headaches, and also when it’s appropriate to refer to a neurologist, a headache specialist and so forth.

How is your group making an impact in the field of headache medicine?
I think one of our biggest impacts is creating courses for the providers in the Scottsdale American Headache Society meeting and also the Scientific Meeting to educate providers about guidelines for in-patient protocols that could exist to help their patients and also how to treat these refractory headaches.

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 Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Section for actively working to advance those goals. By working tirelessly to set, maintain and update our standards of practice for interventional headache treatments, 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 join the Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Special Interest Section, please contact us.

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