Building a New Generation of Headache Medicine Specialists

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A generous gift from Tanner Industries Inc., of Southampton, Pa., made during the campaign For Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs is helping the Pediatric Headache Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) bridge the gap between the millions of pediatric patients suffering from excruciating headaches and the trained medical specialists who can deliver the care these children need.

Hanna, headache patient Headaches are one of the most common and debilitating pain conditions in the world, affecting patients like Haley, who suffered from migraines in high school. After a concussion, the headaches got even worse, causing significant difficulties with daily activities that interfered with her education. Thanks to a personalized treatment plan from the Pediatric Headache Program that focused on helping her function with her symptoms, Haley was able to earn her high school diploma, get back to living her life and enroll in college.

While programs like CHOP’s Pediatric Headache Program offer specialized care for children suffering from complicated headache conditions, there is a dramatic lack of headache medicine specialists in the United States: less than one for every 85,000 patients, or one specialist for all the residents of Trenton, N.J. This means most patients — particularly those from socioeconomically disadvantaged families who lack access to specialty care — receive headache care from primary providers who lack training in the treatment of complicated headache conditions. CHOP is determined to change that.

Building on the expertise of the Pediatric Headache Program, the Pediatric Headache Fellowship Program — one of the few accredited headache fellowships in the nation — aims to develop the careers of future headache medicine specialists. In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, this fellowship offers a breadth of multidisciplinary and integrative training provided by specialists certified by the United Council for Neurological Subspecialties, and includes opportunities for grant-funded post-fellowship research.

By growing the headache medicine workforce, CHOP’s Pediatric Headache Program will help even more children find relief so they can thrive.

This is just one of the many stories of donor impact that happened during the campaign For Tomorrow’s Breakthroughs.