For Nim Singh, MPH, the focus of the American Migraine Foundation has always been on the patient. 

“My commitment has always been to infuse the perspective of the patient, in everything we do, ensuring that their voice is accounted for and that all experiences of migraine are accounted for because we know it’s not a heterogeneous experience,” she said. 

Singh serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. In her role she serves in a supportive role to the Chair and helps execute the strategy the Board has outlined for the organization. In her role she also ensures that the Board is amplifying their reach and maximizing on available  opportunities to sustain the organization and connect with the patient community, the broader public health community and the public. Singh served as the Executive Director of the American Migraine Foundation for more than four years before taking on the volunteer role of Vice-Chair which allows her to bring her historical knowledge to her position on the Board. 

Migraine Is Personal

She originally came to the organization because of her own background with migraine. She was diagnosed incorrectly with complex migraine when she was an undergrad. She went to the Emergency Room after having numbness and tingling on one side of her body and experiencing symptoms that felt like a seizure. After much trial and error with many medications she was diagnosed with hemiplegic migraine. 

“I saw the opportunity to join the organization and work towards a mission that hits so close to me and my personal experience,” she said. “I was really committed to the mission and the community to ensure that people impacted by migraine don’t have to experience what I experienced, with being diagnosed by exclusion criteria.” 

Because getting a diagnosis of migraine can be so challenging, it’s important to Singh that the AMF focuses on education and resources as well as reaching all types of providers. 

“We need to reach all types of providers, not just specialists who specialize in headache medicine, but any type of provider where a migraine patient or potential patient with migraine might present with symptoms,” she said. 

Collaboration Provides Opportunity to Share Your Voice

It is also important for people with migraine to know that they are part of the AMF and that they have a voice and a seat at the table. Singh says they are the ones who bring the ideas, opportunities, suggestions for programming and fundraising that the Board uses to build its agenda. She believes the organization grows stronger by being involved and presenting a variety of information and events and by working with other organizations. 

“We are showing a commitment to our mission by partnering with organizations that are either like-minded and similar in focus, or that fill an opportunity that we may not have the resources or expertise to fill,” Singh said. 

Strong Partnerships Creating Movement

One such organization that AMF partners with is the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA). AMF isn’t an expert on legislative advocacy, but by partnering with AHDA, sitting on their board and sending advocates to their Headache on the Hill event, AMF is able to lend its voice to policy initiatives. 

Having a shared history of uniting physicians and patients to serve the migraine community AMF also partners with the American Headache Society (AHS) which is a professional organization of healthcare providers that studies and treats headache and facial pain. AMF was formed in 2010 by leaders of AHS with the goal of providing patient resources, raising awareness and supporting research. By partnering with AHS, AMF seeks to educate and mobilize providers and educate them about the challenges people with migraine have in receiving care and provide information about the opportunities for improvement. 

Because getting a diagnosis of migraine can be so challenging, it’s important to Singh that the AMF focuses on education and resources as well as reaching all types of providers. 

“We need to reach all types of providers, not just specialists who specialize in headache medicine, but any type of provider where a migraine patient or potential patient with migraine might present with symptoms,” she said. 

Singh is excited about where we are right now with migraine. She says there have been advancements with targeted therapies for treating migraine recently and thinks continued research is important, which is also a critical part of the partnership with AHS. 

“We know doctors would really love to have an opportunity to be able to diagnose migraine appropriately from the very first encounter with someone and know exactly what therapy would work for them,” Singh said. “We can’t get there without the effort of research and the effort of collecting that data to get closer to precision medicine. I think AMF, alongside AHS, are trying to tackle that challenge.”