We know that migraine is a different type of neurological disease. It is one where success is not necessarily measured by finding a cure or decreasing mortality rates. It is measured more by improvements in the quality of life. At the Association of Migraine Disorders (AMD), we continue to explore where, within our broad mission of contributing to awareness, education and research, we can further that common goal.
To build on our effort to strengthen an annual global day of migraine awareness, known as Shades for Migraine, we had hoped to add a new initiative, Taking it to the Streets, where volunteers would share informational handouts with the general public. That will have to wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to recede. Nonetheless, Shades for Migraine is essentially a virtual event and it continued to grow its reach and participation.
2020 saw the completion of years of work to achieve meaningful medical professional education. We finished the free, 4-module, 6.5 credit online continuing medical education course, A Migraine Toolbox. It is an introductory, yet in-depth course that takes its students, from any medical background, through the process of diagnosis and treatment. The interactive journey also addresses various specific challenges, including pediatrics, emergency care, hormonal issues, and vestibular migraine.
Like so many other organizations, we also had to adapt our Migraine Symposium to a virtual format. I applaud the AMD staff that was able to maintain our format which addresses two audiences simultaneously: one series of lectures for medical professionals, again a source of free CME credits, and the general public. Since AMD focuses on engaging non-headache specialists in migraine care, we continued our discussions of specialty-specific topics and comorbidities. We are grateful to the experts who provide these lectures which are shared more widely through our podcast series Spotlight on Migraine.
To grow stronger relationships with the many medical specialties that have some stake in the health of those with migraine, we recreated our Medical Advisory and Educational Boards into a single Specialty Representative Advisory Board. We reached out to a new group of medical specialty leaders and they took up the challenge. We hope that this group of volunteers will find this a stimulating experience and a value for their patients.
Finally, one silver lining of the pandemic shutdown was the downtime that allowed AMD to concentrate much of its energy on its new research initiatives. From ideas raised by our Research Advisory Committee, we created a unique educational and communication platform for sharing information about migraine research between basic scientists, clinical researchers, clinicians and doctoral students called the Migraine Science Collaborative. We are excited by the possibilities of this new home to strengthen, grow and inspire the migraine research community. We also gathered a multispecialty virtual meeting, the Meeting of the Minds: Vestibular Migraine. Through these initiatives, we have identified a number of new potential pilot programs that we hope will one day be NIH-worthy, as well as large scale, cross-specialty concepts. I look forward to reporting more about these projects next year. To help fund these projects, we have launched a new fund–raising program, Research is Hope.
AMD has a responsibility to look at how even a small organization can contribute to improving the social injustice of unexpressed racial and economic bias that affects the healthcare community. We will examine our practices and develop an Action Plan.
This was a year of spectacular growth and maturity for AMD. We thank all of those who gave us advice, time, and funds for this effort. In particular, we ask for valuable time from our Executive Board members and the members of our various committees. We cannot do what we do without this passion. Please share in the satisfaction that there have been tangible advances in how migraine is seen and treated throughout the world. And everyone who has contributed to the AMD experience owns some part of this organization.
Frederick A. Godley, MD
Learn more about AMD’s 2020 Accomplishments in our Annual Report
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