The National Headache Foundation: February 2018

The National Headache Foundation: February 2018

Chicago, IL
To cure headache and end its pain and suffering.

The National Headache Foundation (NHF) is a 501 c-3 non-profit foundation which seeks to improve the lives of individuals with migraine and other severe headache disorders through education, research, and advocacy. The NHF was established in 1970 by one of the world’s preeminent headache clinicians, Dr. Seymour Diamond, and others who recognized the need for a patient organization in headache. Since its inception, the NHF has consistently distilled and amplified the voice of the patient in all matters related to headache care, research, and understanding. 

The National Headache Foundation’s primary focus has long been the funding, performance, and publication of research on the diagnosis and treatment of severe headache disorders. Specifically, over the years, the NHF has provided over $1.8 million through 212 research grants to physicians and scientists working in headache medicine. 

NHF-funded projects have been proof of concept studies, attracting over $600,000 of subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue research on those initial discoveries. Recently, the NHF has narrowed its research focus to prioritize and fund patient-centric research which improves the translation of scientific and bench discoveries into real world headache management success that can be impactful in the short run. 

One particular area of interest has been research on the barriers to care and their impact on patients’ lives and productivity. 

“We feel research that leverages the voice of the patient in research design and performance is of utmost importance,” said NHF Vice President Timothy Smith, M.D., R.Ph.

Besides research, the NHF also provides numerous resources and services for headache patients, their families, and health care professionals, providing opportunities for education, engagement and building community. 

NHF’s website is the most trusted and visited headache web presence on the internet, providing extensive and comprehensive information on migraine and serious headache disorders. The “Health Care Provider Finder” is another popular patient service. A new effort, recently deployed, is the community-building activity through which NHF engages directly with patients via its website, email, Facebook, and Twitter to solicit and share stories, opinions, preferences and descriptions of unmet need, and to focus the spotlight on opportunities to improve care. 

Established in 2003 as a service to patients across the U.S., the Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine is an NHF credential which may be obtained by healthcare professionals with expertise in headache management. An overarching goal is to grow our community of engaged advocates and champions to more than 30,000 individuals. Currently, NHF is over half way to that goal.

“We find great synergy between the missions of the NHF and Research!America. Better funding is crucial to the patients we serve, and we are dedicated to encouraging and securing meaningful new development in the area of patient-centered headache research,” said Dr. Smith. 

For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Terri Schwartzbeck
Director of Communications 

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco