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Welcome to the website for the International Headache Society

The International Headache Society (IHS) is the world's leading membership organisation for those with a professional commitment to helping people affected by headache. As a charity, the purpose of IHS is to advance headache science, education, and management, and promote headache awareness worldwide.

This site promotes the Society and its activities, and is the home of the Society's international journal Cephalalgia. We welcome Society members and all who work or seek information in the field of headache.

Lars Edvinsson
President, International Headache Society

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Dear Colleagues,

It has been an absolute privilege and honor to have served as your President. When I assumed the post in 2015, we held a strategic planning retreat and came away with a set of near and long-term objectives for the society. Broadly speaking, these objectives focus on the three shields of education, research, and patient advocacy. I am very pleased to say that most of the major priorities have already been accomplished, are coming to fruition, or are actively being planned.

We have balanced the budget and find ourselves in a healthy financial position for the future. We have increased our support for research with two additional annual research fellowships. We have partnered with the American Brain Foundation to offer a two-year clinical research fellowship. Our membership now exceeds 1400 – this is an all-time high for IHS. We continue, and indeed have increased our investment in headache education globally. We continue to support the Asian Regional Congress on Headache (ARCH), Middle East North Africa (MENA) congress, Headache Masters Schools, Visiting Professorships, Headache Pioneer Awards and Short-stay Scholarships. We have partnered with the American Headache Society, American Migraine Foundation, and Canadian Headache Society and have hosted four International Headache Academies (IHA), and we have supported and developed four iHEAD meetings. IHA and iHEADs are designed to develop the next generation of leading clinicians and basic scientists in the field of headache.  Prior to IHC Vancouver, we are hosting our first joint IHA-iHEAD meeting where we will bring together approximately 80 of the brightest young clinicians and scientists from around the world for a two-day meeting designed to establish collaborative relationships, support their research, and mentor this next generation over time. For the first time, we have extended our educational offerings in non-IHC years by hosting, in conjunction with EHMTIC 2016, a joint secondary headache course that allowed us to provide a major education event in a year when there was no International Headache Congress.

We will soon launch an emerging leaders program to identify and facilitate the growth and development of the next generation of leaders for the society. We have also set in motion plans for a Women’s Leadership Forum to ensure that our leadership continues to reflect the diversity of membership that is so important for our continued success.

We have restructured and activated several vital committees including education, research and ethics. New leadership for each of these committees has been appointed and an emphasis has been placed on having these committees more meaningfully engaged by establishing committee charters, hosting regular committee meetings, and enabling committee chairs to sit as ex-officio members on the board and on the scientific program committee to facilitate two-way communication between their committees and ensure that ideas generated at the committee level are heard and discussed at the board level.  Importantly, a clinical trials guideline committee has been established and this group has been very busy developing new and updating existing clinical trial guidelines and the first is expected to be published in Cephalalgia by first quarter 2018.  This will be important for the proper conduct of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of emerging drugs, biologics, and device technologies for a range of headache disorders.

We have established a corporate roundtable that meets twice per year. This roundtable includes leadership from IHS, patient groups (European Headache Alliance), pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and regulatory agencies.  The objectives of this roundtable is to bring all stakeholders together to facilitate drug development by harmonizing clinical trial methodology and outcome measures and develop consensus around strategies to ensure that patients have appropriate access to care with both established and emerging treatments.

With regards to our entrée into patient and disease advocacy, we have taken a bold and ambitious step in organizing the first global patient advocacy summit to be held on September 6 in Vancouver Canada just prior to IHC 2017. This is an unprecedented event that will bring together representatives from more than 25 of our affiliate member countries, major health care organizations and partners including the World Health Organization, World Federation of Neurology, American Academy of Neurology, American Headache Society, European Academy of Neurology, European Headache Federation, Lifting the Burden, and the International Association for the Study of Pain; patient advocacy groups including the European Headache Alliance, American Migraine Foundation, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, Alliance for Patient Access, Migraine Association of Ireland, Migraine Quebec, Migraine World Summit, Migraine Action, Help for Headaches; patient advocates from a number of countries including the United States, Switzerland, France and Canada; regulatory agencies including Health Canada, the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency; and pharmaceutical industry partners. Our objective is to begin a dialogue and launch a global patient and disease advocacy effort for headache disorders that will begin with a white paper on the subject and a strategic plan to both enhance advocacy efforts already underway in some countries, as well as launch and support advocacy efforts in others. This will aalso make good on our priority of meaningfully engaging our affiliate member countries/societies and aligning on a common vision.

These are a sampling of the work we’ve been doing over the past two years to realize the priorities established in our new strategic plan, and achieve our three-shield mission of delivering and supporting education efforts and clinicians and scientists around the globe, promoting and supporting research in the field, especially among young clinicians and investigators, and advocating for those who are burdened by disabling headache disorders. You can see why I am so hopeful for the future of this field, the future of our society, and most importantly, the future for patients.

I want to sincerely thank those who have made this all possible and do the work of the society behind the scenes. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with board members who are committed and have truly been focused on advancing the mission of the society. Other members have stepped up to lead important committees and many have become involved in these committees and give their time and expertise to develop and guide important initiatives and propel the society in a forward direction. A special thank you to Carol Taylor for her tireless efforts, meticulous organization skills attention to detail, and for keeping us all on task.

I look forward to continuing to serve on the new board for the next two years as Immediate Past-President at the pleasure of our incoming President, Professor Lars Edvinsson. Under Professor Edvinsson’s steady, thoughtful and wise leadership, the momentum we’ve gathered will be sustained and the future of the society will be in excellent hands.

David W Dodick

 

 

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