New Headache Fellowship Program a Boost to Headache Care

Headache Fellowship
Print icon

Headache disorders have gone under recognized, and underappreciated, for a very long time, according to Dr. Abigail Chua of the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center.

Unfortunately, she said, many people with headache disorders do not see their doctors for help, and healthcare providers don’t get enough headache medicine training while they are in school.

Advanced training in headache medicine is important because the demand for headache specialists in this country is growing. Currently, there are nearly 40 million Americans – one out of seven – diagnosed with migraine, a specific type of headache disorder. There are less than 550 specialty-trained headache experts in the country, meaning that each physician would have to see more than 70,000 people a year to be able to take care of everyone diagnosed with migraine. Add people with headache disorders other than migraine and the number grows even larger.

To manage this gap in care and increase provider knowledge about managing headache disorders, Dr. Chua and others affiliated with the Headache Center, part of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute, are training the next generation of advanced specialists in the intricacies of diagnosing and treating headaches with a new headache fellowship.

The fellowship, under the direction of Dr. Chua, is accredited by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties and welcomed its first two fellows in July. Fellows are physicians — often, but not exclusively, neurologists — seeking advanced training in headache care.

“These fellowships are highly competitive — there are only 41 such programs in the country and most take only one to two applicants,” she said.

Hartford HealthCare’s headache fellows will divide their time between seeing patients in Headache Center clinics in West Hartford and Southington (soon to be Cheshire) and working on academic projects. They will do original research studies, and write papers for professional journals. They will also learn from physicians and practitioners in medical specialties that work closely with patients who have headache, such as behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, physical therapy, pain management and integrative medicine. This collaboration is very important, according to Dr. Chua.

“This close level of collaboration with other specialties is not seen in many other headache centers around the country, making our center unique,” she said. “Allowing our fellows time to learn from these other medical disciplines leaves them better equipped to treat complex headache disorders using a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach that involves more than just medications.”

This, she added, is important because headache medicine is not one-size-fits-all and treatment needs to be tailored to an individual’s medical needs and goals of care.

“By working closely with our patients and finding what works best for them and their life, we are better able to provide them with the level of headache care they are looking for,” Dr. Chua said.

For more information on the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, click here.

 


What's New

Nick Kalogeros

The Wait Ends, Dramatically, for Glastonbury Kidney Transplant Recipient

For more than two decades, Nicholas Kalogeros of Glastonbury has known kidney failure and end-stage renal disease were inevitable without a transplant. A rare genetic disease, Alport syndrome, that damages small blood vessels in the kidney and eventually causes organ failure left Kalogeros on peritoneal dialysis the past year as...

Charcoal Grill

Don’t Get Burned This Summer: It’s This Simple

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, fireworks and fun in the sun. With it comes an uptick in burn cases to hospital Emergency Departments (ED) everywhere. Most are preventable. With the proper care and attention, a trip to the ED is avoidable. “Our skin’s function is to protect the body from...

Fish

What’s in the Fish You Eat? What About Local Fish?

Fish is a nutritional Hall of Fame protein loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B2, calcium, phosphorous and minerals. Eating low-fat fish at least twice a week, says the American Heart Association, can lower your blood pressure and your risk of a heart attack of stroke. Unless,...

COVID-Related Depression

These Age Groups Most Affected by COVID-Related Depression, Anxiety

Experts call it the underlying crisis. While COVID-19 cases spike around the country, more than a third of Americans report related depression and anxiety. “The spread of COVID-19 leaves people feeling out of control, which is uncomfortable and unnerving,” said Dr. James O’Dea, vice president of operations for the Hartford...