Lauren Doyle Strauss: Member Spotlight
Our March Member Spotlight, Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, FAHS, dedicates her career to advancing headache treatment through education
This month, the American Headache Society is proud to spotlight Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, FAHS. Dr. Strauss’s work as a pediatric neurologist centers on improving the lives of children with headache disorders through educating patients, parents and other healthcare professionals. She is involved in the New Investigators and Trainees, Pediatric-Adolescent Headache and Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Special Interest Sections and the Electronic Media Committee.
Dr. Strauss’s undergraduate degree was in bioengineering with a focus on physics and math. “I thought when I chose neurology, I was going to go into epilepsy because it paired well with my background,” says Dr. Strauss. “However, I discovered that headache patients were an underserved community.”
Helping Patients Become Advocates
The biggest draw to the field of headache medicine for Dr. Strauss was the ability to connect with patients and help them along their headache disorder journeys throughout their lives. Because Dr. Strauss focuses on pediatric neurology, she can watch her patients grow up. In fact, one of her favorite visits is when patients tell her that they’re going off to college.
“I love watching my patients transition through different life phases,” she says. “We have great continuity, and we get to watch patients get better and go on to do amazing things.”
Because migraine and other headache disorders are usually a lifelong condition, Dr. Strauss also coaches the parents of pediatric patients on how to empower their children to advocate for themselves.
“Eventually, the child must manage their pain and medicines without their parents,” says Dr. Strauss. “A lot of what I do in these visits is coach the parents and the child on how to become the leaders of their own headache medicine care.”
Educating Other Providers
Dr. Strauss recognizes that education is important for improving patient access, and her career in headache medicine has centered on advancing treatment through education. For example, as a member of the Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Special Interest Section, Dr. Strauss and other members drafted a Migraine Action Plan (MAP) for physicians to use to determine which treatment options align with a patient’s needs. This knowledge helped her and members of the Pediatric-Adolescent Headache Special Interest Section design a pediatric version of the MAP.
“The Migraine Action Plans are so valuable because providers came together to share their expertise and reach consensus,” Dr. Strauss says. “It’s a helpful tool, a cheat sheet, for other providers who might not have our fellowship training but want to start helping patients with headache.”
Additionally, in her position as a residency director, Dr. Strauss’s goal is to share her passion for care in a way that will spark residents’ interest in headache medicine.
“I aim to show them how important headache medicine is and the options available in the field,” she says. “If they are in another field and encounter a patient with headache or migraine, they will be more likely to recognize it.”
In addition to educating those in the field, Dr. Strauss recognizes the importance of educating the larger migraine and headache community online. As a member of the Electronic Media Committee, she has found that the online community is interested in headache and migraine education.
“Twitter has been a catalyst to organize patient groups, spread education and share our latest articles,” says Dr. Strauss. “Social media is also a great way to network with other headache specialists and allow patients to learn what’s new in the field.”
The American Headache Society is always seeking new members to join its ranks as it looks to gain a better understanding of headache and face pain. Become a member today to see what all AHS has to offer for those involved in headache treatment and research.
About Lauren Doyle Strauss
Name: Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, FAHS
AHS Membership: 5 years
Primary: Assistant Professor of Neurology, Wake Forest Baptist Health School of Medicine and Pediatric Neurologist, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Quote: “There’s so much work that needs to be done to empower patients and primary care doctors that migraine and headache disorders are a painful condition that has treatment options available.”