Fred Cohen, MD

Dr. Fred Cohen is an assistant professor of medicine and neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai-New York City. Dr. Cohen received his medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by a fellowship in headache medicine at the Jefferson Headache Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Dr. Cohen is one of the few headache specialists in the country trained in both internal medicine and headache medicine. His research has been published in several medical journals, including Headache, Cephalalgia, Pain Medicine, and Neurotherapeutics, and he serves on the editorial board for Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

Alan Finkel, MD

Dr. Alan Finkel received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed his residency in neurology and his pain/headache fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is board certified in neurology, pain medicine, and headache medicine.

Dr. Finkel founded the nonprofit Carolina Headache Foundation. He was a Department of Defense contractor at the Intrepid Spirit Center’s Traumatic Brain Program of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Fort Bragg, where he treated and studied military post-traumatic headache. His interests include medical education, traumatic brain injury/concussion, and healthcare policy and practice.

Shirley Kessel

Shirley Kessel lives with chronic migraine, and is a mother of three daughters, two of whom also live with migraine. When her youngest daughter was diagnosed at an early age, they both decided that it was time to take action to bring awareness and raise money for migraine research. In 2013, Shirley helped bring Miles for Migraine to the Philadelphia community. In 2017, when it became apparent that the organization should take the race series nationwide, she was named the executive director of Miles for Migraine.

Shirley has worked in healthcare for the past 26 years and has served on various nonprofit boards since 1991. A former yoga therapist for eating-disorder recovery, she uses daily movement to help alleviate her migraine symptoms and boost her energy. She says she won’t retire until a cure is found for this disabling disease.

Messoud Ashina, MD

Messoud Ashina, MD is a professor of neurology in the faculty of health and medical sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Professor Ashina received his doctor of medicine degree at the Azerbaijan Medical University. He completed his residency in neurology at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Ashina received his PhD and DMSc degrees at the University of Copenhagen.

He is director of the Human Migraine Research Unit at the Danish Headache Center and Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet Glostrup.

Professor Ashina has been actively involved in headache research since 1995. His research interests include experimental migraine and cluster headache models, neuroimaging, novel antimigraine drug targets, the mechanism of migraine, and the action of antimigraine medications. He has authored over 400 papers, abstracts, and book chapters on the topic of headache, including migraine and cluster headache.

Professor Ashina serves as associate editor of three journals: Cephalalgia, Brain, and The Journal of Headache and Pain. He is also immediate past president of the International Headache Society.

Jelena Pavlović, MD, PhD

Dr. Jelena Pavlović is an associate professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and attending neurologist at the Montefiore Headache Center. In addition to being a practicing neurologist, she holds a PhD in molecular biology. Her research interests broadly focus on the hormonal regulation of migraine in women. Specifically, she aims to answer how hormonal fluctuations affect migraine symptoms during the menstrual cycle and across the transition to menopause.

Dr. Pavlović is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the American Headache Society (AHS), and the International Headache Society (IHS). She has published extensively on migraine in women and is funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Aging (NIH/NIA) to conduct research on this topic. In recognition of her outstanding achievements in headache/facial pain, she has been awarded the Harold Wolff-John Graham Award in Headache/Facial Pain Research by the AAN and is the recipient of the 2021 Women’s Health Science Award from the American Headache Society.

Allysa Seely

Allysa Seely is known for her competitiveness, determination, and breaking-barriers mindset. In 2016 she won two paratriathlete gold medals in Rio and was the Paratriathlete World Champion in 2015. She was diagnosed with Chiari II malformation, basilar invagination, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in 2010, which led to her lower leg being amputated in 2013. She suffers from muscle weakness and imbalance, chronic pain, and other medical issues but has the most amazing spirit you’ll ever meet.

After her diagnosis, Allysa was told she would be lucky if she ever walked unaided again. But being strong-willed and motivated, she wasn’t ready to give up on her passion for running and competing. To Allysa, rare diseases are no handicap. Currently, she trains seven days a week, two to three times a day; lifts weight in the gym three days a week; swims once a day; and bikes and runs four to five days a week.

Allysa was featured in ESPN The Magazine’s 2016 “The Body Issue,” in which athletes are featured nude, exposed, and unrestricted. In 2019, she won an ESPY Award for the Best Female Athlete with a Disability. She has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (psychology and exercise and wellness) from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She also has a bachelor of science in biology (genetics, cell and developmental biology) from the same university, and in 2009 spent time abroad studying human and medical genetics at the University of Leeds in England.