Headache on the Hill - Tuesday
Greetings from Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. It's been an interesting day of meeting new people, catching up with other people, and learning how to handle ourselves tomorrow when we all hit Capitol Hill.
In case you've been wondering, this "Headache on the Hill" project is the brain child of Dr. Robert E. Shapiro from Vermont. He and Dr. Kathy Gardner have been putting together the relevant statistics, talking with doctors from all over the country, and getting everyone interested and motivated to be here to address the need for increased NIH funding for headache disorders research.
Dr. Shapiro started off our meeting today with introductions and acknowledgements. Later in the afternoon, he also briefed us on the main facts we need tomorrow when we're talking with our Senators and members of the House or their legislative assistants.
Linda Porter joined us from the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Porter is the Program Directory , Extramural Research Program, NIH/NIHDS. As a program director at the NINDS, she is responsible for administrative and research issues related to peripheral and central mechanisms that mediate pain, central processing of pain perception, disease-related pain disorders, and pain management.
Dr. Porter gave us an overview of NINDS pain and headache programs and explained some of the basics of NIH research grants.
Here's a name and face familiar to some of you -- Dr. Joel Saper of the Michigan Head Pain & Neurological Institute. Dr. Saper has also become very active in the issues involving chronic pain patients and worked with Congressman Mike Robert on the National Pain Care Policy Act, which is now before the House of Representatives. Dr. Saper provided us with a fascinating overview of the activities of the Pain Care Coalition.
Mike Amery of the American Academy of Neurology talked to us about the basics of visiting congressional offices, and Christopher Kush of Soapbox provided us with some basic advocacy training as well as valuable tips for getting out point across in a brief appointment.
The evening brought a reception at the new offices of MAGNUM, the National Migraine Association. I'll have some pictures from that event for you later in the week.
You're being well represented here. There are doctors here from 28 states. Suzanne Simons is here from the National Headache Foundation as is Michael John Coleman of MAGNUM.
Tomorrow, we're off to Capitol Hill. Each of us has appointments with our two Senators as well as our Representative in the house -- or their legislative assistant. As I understand it, appointments with the legislative assistants are just as productive as meeting with our Senators and Representatives. We'll be visiting the offices of more than a third of our Senators and Members of the House tomorrow.
For more information on this event and NIH research funding for Migraine and headache research, see Migraine and headache sufferers - We're off to DC on your behalf!