Fighting Stigma: “Coming Out” as a Person with Migraine

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Key Questions
  • How significant is the disability caused by migraine and headache-related disorders or disease?
  • How are diseases compared to each other in terms of the burden they cause and the amount of research funding they receive?
  • What is a “DALY?” What does it have to do with migraine?
  • How much funding does migraine receive each year?
  • How much funding should migraine receive if it was proportionate to its impact on the population and to other diseases?
  • What percent of employers consider migraine a valid reason to take sick leave from work?
  • What implications does this have for our behavior as an employee?
  • What influence does the media have on stigma?
  • What advocacy efforts are needed to advance research and create new therapies for migraine?
  • What is Headache on the Hill?
  • What kinds of stigma confront people with migraine in terms of attitudes, access to treatment, research funding, employability, and eligibility for disability compensation?
  • Why is now the time to destigmatize migraine?
  • What can we do ourselves?
Interview Notes

Find more about Robert Shapiro, MD, PhD and his work here:

Robert Shapiro, MD, MA, PhD

Professor of Neurological Sciences
University of Vermont

Dr. Shapiro is a practicing neurologist and professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at the Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont. Dr. Shapiro holds an MA (philosophy/psychology) from the University of Oxford, a PhD (anatomy) from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MD from Columbia University. He completed his residency training in neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

His research studies were recognized by the American Headache Society (AHS) with the Harold G. Wolff Lecture Award. His publications have appeared in Nature, Science, Headache, Science Translational Medicine, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

He is the founding president of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. His national advocacy efforts have been recognized by the American Academy of Neurology with their Palatucci Advocate of the Year and Viste Patient Advocate of the Year awards, and by the AHS with their Above & Beyond and Distinguished Service awards. He is the past president of the Headache Cooperative of New England and winner of their Lifetime Achievement (“The Megrim”) Award. He also serves on the steering committee of Migraine at Work.

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