October 21, 2019

Migraine Leaders Align at GPAS II

Highlights from the Second Global Patient Advocacy Summit

Last month, more than 40 organizations came together at the Global Patient Advocacy Summit (GPAS II). Attendees were united under the common mission of improving the lives of those impacted by migraine and other headache disorders. Representatives from over 25 countries shared insights and advanced advocacy efforts. The summit generated conversations with representatives from all over the world.

“Since our first summit in Vancouver in 2017, we have built considerable momentum in driving global awareness for those affected by migraine and other headache disorders,” says IHS-GPAC Chair David Dodick, MD. “GPAS II was about celebrating our collective progress and energizing our drive as we focus on the unmet needs of those living with migraine.”

Throughout the day, advancements in treatment, the role of healthcare providers, patients and patient advocates in migraine advocacy, and advocacy priorities around the world were discussed. Speakers included: Dr. Tarun Dua, World Health Organization (WHO); Prof. Wolfgang Grisold, secretary of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN); Elena Ruiz de la Torre, Executive Director of the European Migraine and Headache Alliance (EHMA); Nim Lalvani, executive director of the American Migraine Foundation, and patients and advocates from around the world.

Migraine’s Economic Impact

A significant portion of the summit was dedicated to the economic burden of migraine. In one presentation, Prof. Fumihiko Sakai of the Japanese Headache Society shared his experience working alongside a global employer to identify the unmet needs of patients with migraine in the workplace. Prof. Sakai, IHS-GPAC and the Japanese Headache Society collaborated with the employer on a survey to assess work-related disability caused by headache. Over 70% of the participants reported the presence of migraine or tension-type headaches.

“Through IHS-GPAC, we can demonstrate how advocacy groups and employers can collaborate to drive change within the workplace,” Prof. Sakai said in his presentation. “This leads to improved quality of life of employees with migraine and other headache disorders.”

IHS-GPAC is prioritizing awareness, education and intervention programs within the workplace. This is a key step in promoting advocacy for those living with migraine.

“The economic burden of migraine is profound,” says Dodick. “Involving employers in the conversation is a great way to promote support, compassion, and understanding for employees with migraine.”

Giving Patients a Needed Voice

Migraine can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. During the summit, we heard from patients who dedicate their lives to raising awareness around migraine, cluster headache, and other disabling headache disorders. Through moving stories and inspirational panels, GPAS II demonstrated once again that IHS-GPAC can move the needle in global migraine awareness.

“Those who suffer from migraine and headache disorders urgently need a voice,” says Alan Balch, CEO of the Patient Advocacy Foundation. “They need access to the right treatment, to raise awareness about the pervasive impact of migraine and other headache disorders on their lives and within their workforce, their countries and their healthcare systems.”

Thank you to all who participated in IHS-GPAC’s GPAS II. Together, we will continue to advocate on a global level to improve the lives of those affected by headache disorders.

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