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Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine

Laurel Short DNP, MSN, FNP-C, has been working with Dr. Atul Patel for nearly nine years, treating a variety of medical conditions including musculoskeletal pain, neurologic rehabilitation, and spasticity. In addition to this, they began treating chronic headaches and migraines one year into their collaboration. Since adding this condition into their practice, she has found a passion for treating patients with headache and chronic migraine.

With this newfound mission, she has been working quietly and diligently to earn her Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine from the National Headache Foundation. We had a sit down with Laurel recently to find out a bit more about her developing interest in treating patients with chronic migraine, and how she is helping this population.


Tell me about your passion for this condition?

“My father suffered chronic migraines and seeing a family member directly affected by this planted a seed of awareness for the condition.”


How did the practice adopt treating headache and chronic migraines regularly?

“When I started working at KCBJ, collaborating with Dr. Atul Patel, the practice of treating headaches with Botox was becoming more common. Slowly through word of mouth from patients and neurologists who referred to them to us for Botox treatment, we put our heads together and felt treating headaches and chronic migraine was a natural fit for our practice. We then started to promote awareness for our new undertaking and our specialized treatment clinic for headache and migraines. This was over eight years ago!”


What have you done personally towards development of treatments for headache and chronic migraine suffers?

“I began my doctorate in 2015 and wanted to choose a project that could be used long- term for patients with headaches and chronic migraine. In the three years that it took to complete my Doctorate degree, Your Migraine Toolkit was born. This toolkit helps patients identify and manage symptoms of their migraines and provides tools and resources all in one convenient location.

As nurse practitioners we take more time with the patient; learning their history and story. We create an entire plan that’s not just about the problem. It’s about the patient as a whole- a whole toolkit that is going to help them feel in control of their headaches.  I also discovered there was a Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine while in school for my Doctorate. A nurse practitioner colleague and I supported each other to prepare for and take this exam.”

Can you describe the test for us?

“The test was comprehensive questions about headache and migraines; symptoms to assess; types of headache; when to order diagnostic tests; different medications that are used. An important portion included as ruling out serious other problems like a stroke or aneurysm.”


What does having this certificate offer your patients that other headache practices don’t?

“I feel like our headache clinic provides a comprehensive and holistic approach. We are not just treating headaches, we are learning about the patient as a whole and giving them an entire toolkit to work from to get their headaches under good control. Patients and insurance companies take comfort in knowing a practice has additional certification and expertise on conditions they manage.”

Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ)
in Headache Medicine from the National Headache Foundation

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