By Thomas Dabertin, MBA
More than 40 million people in the United States are living with migraine disease and headache disorders. Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine disease. I had my first migraine in my teens, and it was one of the reasons that motivated me to lead the National Headache Foundation.
June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month; our time on the national stage, and I hope you will join me in finding a way to help yourself, a loved one, friend or co-worker better understand migraine disease and headache disorders.
It is important to know and share how emerging treatments, pharmaceuticals and proactive physician-guided action can reduce missed workdays and increase time with your family. Our fundraising for research and programs are paying huge dividends and offering much-needed relief.
While we are serious about migraine and headache disorders, we are also having some fun while calling attention to our key messages and calls to action.
Today and throughout the month of June, we are wearing purple T-shirts and neckties, and planting purple flamingos to “put our foot down” to address migraine disease and headache disorders
In 1990, the National Headache Foundation secured a week dedicated to awareness on migraine disease and headache disorders, and that has now grown into a month of activities and action items for patients, physicians, policymakers and communicators to share the latest research, drug breakthroughs, treatments, support activities and ways to better understand and tackle headaches and migraine attacks.
At the NHF, we offer meaningful, proactive and cutting-edge programs, including:
- Primary Care Initiative- training for primary care providers including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists on the latest prevention, diagnosis, and medications. These are the health professionals that are often first called upon when an individual has symptoms of migraine, and now these professionals will receive continuing medical education (CME) credits and the latest information in prevention and treatment measures.
- Migraine University – mobilizing students and campus health and wellness staff to be aware of signs of migraine disease that can be exacerbated by long hours of study and stress. Fifty colleges and universities are rolling out the program this fall.
- WorkMigraine – online workplace wellness programs that help employees and their managers understand migraine disease and how to reduce the costly impacts such as reduced productivity and increased absenteeism. Studies show our program can reduce both the incidents of migraine as well as lost workdays caused by them.
- Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (AQH) – created in 2000 to recognize medical practitioners with an advanced level of expertise in headache medicine. Almost 250 healthcare providers have earned this valued certification.
- NHF Annual Gala – our major fundraising event of the year allows us to celebrate Headache Heroes who are making a difference in the migraine and headache community. We also pay tribute to healthcare providers and researchers who have moved the field forward and contributed to our important mission. The NHF’s Annual Gala has raised millions of dollars to go towards migraine and headache research, education, awareness and advocacy.
We encourage you to discuss migraine and headache issues with your primary care physician or seek out a headache expert from our provider finder page. Stay up to date on the latest news by signing up for NHF’s free e-newsletter at www.headaches.org.
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Thomas Dabertin, MBA, is executive director and chief executive officer of the National Headache Foundation based in Chicago. He is also the Chairman and Co-founder of Pierogi Fest, one of Chicagoland’s and the State of Indiana’s largest annual festivals. Tom can be reached at [email protected]