Patient Education

Headache and Migraine Patient Conference June 29!

The second annual headache and migraine patient conference will be June 29, 2014 in Los Angeles. Last year’s conference was really informative and, while my migraine was too severe for me to be social, I still learned a ton.

Multiple sessions will be held concurrently, so you can choose what topics you want to learn about, including managing cluster headache, brain changes during migraine, sex differences in migraine treatment, and complementary and alternative therapies. There will also be a session for loved ones to talk about the challenges they face as caregivers. Some top headache specialists will be presenting, including Dr. Andrew Charles (UCLA), Dr. Rob Cowan (Stanford) and Dr. Peter Goadsby (UCSF).

Get details and register. Scholarships of up to $500 will be offered for travel expenses. The scholarship application deadline is Friday, May 30. Help for Headaches has scholarship details.

I’m still not sure if I’ll make it this year, but leave a comment if you’re going and we can be sure to meet up if I do!

Community, Resources

Restaurants, Sightseeing & Shopping for AHMA Patient Conference-Goers

Wondering what to do in Phoenix/Scottsdale while you’re here for the American Headache & Migraine Association patient conference? Here are some highlights within a free shuttle ride from the Hampton Inn.

Food (listed in order of where I’d eat if I were visiting)

  • Pizzeria Bianco — This wood-fired pizza place has received rave reviews nationwide, including from Martha Stewart and Oprah. The original location boasts at least two-hour waits, but the new Town & Country restaurant often has no wait, even on weekends. It’s not cheap and the service gets spotty reviews on Yelp – and it’s so delicious that I still recommend it. (And you can walk here from the Hampton Inn.)
  • Beckett’s Table — My favorite restaurant in town. On the expensive side (for Phoenix), but well worth the price for perfectly prepared American and comfort food made with local, seasonal ingredients. Dessert offerings include s’mores with chocolate-covered bacon.
  • America’s Taco Shop — Excellent, relatively inexpensive Mexican street tacos (and burritos, tostadas and tortas). The meat’s the star here, though I’ve heard the vegetarian burritos are good, too. A casual, order-at-the-counter spot.
  • Los Dos Molinos — New Mexican food. Spicy and delicious.
  • Chelsea’s Kitchen — With old-growth trees, climbing bougainvillea, and a huge outdoor fireplace, this is one of the best patios in town. Good food, though pricey (part of what you pay for is organic and/or grass-fed meat). Only worth the cost if you can sit outside, IMHO, and the indoor dining space is loud.
  • Oregano’s — Calls itself “your neighborhood pizza joint,” but has a variety of pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. The decor is quirky and the food is tasty, it’s also fairly loud and there’s usually a wait.
  • La Grande Orange — Serves food all day, but breakfast is the best, particularly the housemade English muffins and sticky bran muffin.
  • Ajo Al’s — Typical Tex-Mex, fairly heavy and usually cheese-laden. And yummy.


  • If you’re a bargain clothes and accessories shopper, check out Nordstrom’s Last Chance. It’s the final clearance shop for Nordstrom and the prices are dirt cheap. Be forewarned: it’s often crowded with long lines.
  • Camelback Colonnade, where Last Chance is located, also has a smattering of discount chain stores, including Old Navy and a nice Marshall’s.
  • Biltmore Fashion Park is mostly high-end stores and boutiques. It’s a fun place to wander around and has a ton of restaurants to choose from.


  • Arizona Biltmore Hotel — Designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, this beautiful hotel was built in 1929. You can wander the grounds, take a guided tour, eat at one of the restaurants, or even visit the “secret” Sunday speakeasy (password required, find it on Twitter @Arizona Biltmore).

If you have a car…

  • Desert Botanical Garden — This is a stunning botanical garden that showcases the diversity of desert plants. Even better, there’s currently a Chihuly glass exhibit. Chihuly’s work is always spectacular, but it’s extra-special with desert as the backdrop.
  • Hiking — Only a short drive from the hotel, Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak/Dreamy Draw, and Papago Park are beautiful places to experience desert landscapes without leaving town. South Mountain is farther, but also a little more isolated and nature-y.
Chronic Migraine, Community, Patient Education

American Headache & Migraine Association: New Patient Organization

The American Headache & Migraine Association (AHMA), a new patient-centered organization for people with headache disorders, is now accepting members! Although the organization is in the early stages, it is already providing great opportunities for patients, including a free, daylong patient-focused conference in this November. The conference will feature presentations by some of the top physicians in headache medicine.

Here’s an overview from AHMA (I’ve done a little rearranging and highlighting):

Our goal in establishing AHMA is to: EASE the burden of migraine and other headache disorders, such as cluster and tension type headache and trigeminal and occipital neuralgia, through Education, Awareness, Support and Engagement.


It’s important to everyone involved in AHMA leadership for our members to help direct the course of AHMA programming. By joining AHMA this early, you can have a strong influence on the direction of our efforts and ensure they help meet your needs and desires and those of the other members.

Right now the most significant programs/events we have in place are:

  • A members-only support and information forum. It can only be accessed by joining AHMA. New members are sent the link and the password to access it upon joining.
  • A free, members-only patient conference, which will be held on Sunday, November 24, 2013, in Scottsdale, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix). We’re still hard at work planning the conference and finalizing details, but some of the most brilliant physician experts in the AHS  have already volunteered to present on topics of special importance to Headache Disorders patients and their loved ones. We’re working hard to make the event as affordable as possible.
  • AHMA has already started engaging in social media, so please like and follow us if you haven’t already:

Membership dues are reasonable. The membership types and respective dues are as follows. (Note: An effort to establish and set dues for a Lifetime Family Membership category is currently in the works.):

  • $15 per year: Standard Membership
  • $250: Lifetime Membership
  • $0: Active Duty Military and Immediate Family; Disabled Veterans and Immediate Family
  • $25: Family Membership for two or more members in the same family at the same address

Please visit to join AHMA.


  • Chair: Teri Robert; Co-Chair: Dr. Paul Winner
  • Chair Elect: Ellen Schnakenberg; Co-Chair Elect: Dr. Bert Vargas
  • Vice Chair: Bob Wold; Co-Vice Chair: Dr. Rob Nicholson
  • Treasurer: Julie Zellner McDonald; Co-Treasurer: Dr. Rebecca Wells
  • Secretary: Diana Lee; Co-Secretary: Dr. Rob Cowan

For more information about AHMA and to join, please visit