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Headache Center Starting Education Program for Healthcare Providers

February 09, 2021

Headache disorders, like migraine and chronic migraine, are a leading cause of disability in the United States and around the world. Unfortunately, those in need of headache care far outnumber the availability of healthcare providers adequately trained to care for these patients. And a lack of headache education for primary care and neurology residents during their formative training years limits their ability to effectively diagnose and treat headache disorders. The Hartford Healthcare Ayer Neuroscience Institute Headache Center is working to address the issues surrounding headache care education, and ultimately increase the number of practitioners available to treat patients in need. “Addressing the gaps in headache education provided to primary care and neurology residents will increase provider knowledge and comfort in diagnosing and treating migraine and other headache disorders, as well as improved patient outcomes and satisfaction with care,” said Dr. Brian M. Grosberg, Director of the Headache Center. To this end, the Headache Center is creating a novel headache medicine curriculum called HEADucation, an online, case-based, interactive lecture series for primary care internal medicine residents and neurology residents, Grosberg said. It will be moderated by Hartford Healthcare Headache Center specialists and will cover the practical care of patients impacted by headache. HEADucation will implement a pre-test assessment of residents’ baseline knowledge of headache and a post-test assessment which will provide insight to the efficacy of the curriculum. Topics will include:

  • Best-practice recommendations for taking a thorough headache history.
  • Review of examination of the patient with a primary complaint of headache.
  • Identifying red-flag signs and symptoms before a headache diagnosis.
  • Evaluating for secondary headache disorders.
  • Diagnosing migraine and other primary headache disorders.
  • Case-based discussion of acute and preventive treatments; including pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.
  • Understanding risk factors for headache chronification, including medication overuse headache.
The Headache Center will pilot the curriculum for primary care with the University of Connecticut Primary Care Internal Medicine residents and pilot a separate curriculum for neurology residents with the University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, and Brown University. Grosberg said the plan is to publish findings related to the implementation and efficacy of the HEADucation program, with the intention of further developing the program to be offered on a national level to other residency programs in years to come.