Headache Medicine Certification Exam Set for Sept. 1-14

Practitioners Who Care for Patients with Migraine Disease and Headache Disorders Should Review Updated Qualifications and Register by Aug. 23

Chicago, IL, Aug. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Headache Foundation (NHF) has announced its Fall certification exam for its Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (AQH) program. The deadline for applying to NHF to take the certification exam is August 23, and the Fall exam will be administered between September 1-14.

Tom Dabertin, NHF executive director/CEO, said qualifications have been adjusted for this round of exams to reflect the increased patient incidence of migraine and headache disorders and to encourage caregivers serving our nation’s Veterans to become AQH certified.

To be eligible for the AQH competency examination, a candidate must be a licensed healthcare practitioner who evaluates and manages headache patients independently, including physicians (M.D. and D.O.), physicians assistants, advance practice nurses, dentists, and clinical psychologists.


Each candidate must provide documentation of the following criteria regarding license, continuing education, and experience:

  • License: The candidate’s license must be in good standing.
  • Continuing Education: Completion of at least 20 hours, over the last year, of continuing education focusing on headache medicine.
  • Experience: Meet one of the following options:
    • At least one or more years of experience at a headache clinic or Headache Center of Excellence (HCoE), subject to review by NHF’s AQH Oversight Committee, or
    • At least three years of experience managing headache medicine in other clinical settings, or
    • A professional who has completed an accredited neurology residency (MD or DO), or 
    • A professional who has successfully completed a headache fellowship, as approved by the NHF's AQH Oversight Committee.


“Practitioners who have earned the AQH certification report a greater competency in working with migraine and headache patients,” said Dabertin. “They have also had an uptick in patient referrals and recognition of skills when dealing with managed care and government agencies.”

NHF board member, Dr. Timothy R. Smith, MD, RPh, FACP, AQH, added, "The AQH certification examination was developed and implemented by the NHF as a direct response to requests from patients with disabling headache disorders who desperately want to identify healthcare providers who care about headache and have earned a reliable credential supporting competency in their field.  Clinicians working in the practice of headache management who want to assure excellent care for their patients and want to challenge themselves to be the best they can be, should consider sitting for the exam. Many who have already taken the exam point to the professional gratification of AQH certification as a career highlight."


In 2012, the NHF Board recognized the growing number of allied health care practitioners, along with primary care physicians, who had gained experience in the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders. A competency examination was then developed for eligible candidates. The goals of the AQH are to establish the standards for headache practice and to help those with migraine disease and headache disorders in locating clinicians who can provide optimal headache-related health care. 


As a resource to those seeking the full list of AQH professionals, the NHF maintains an online directory that can be found at:  https://headaches.org/resources/healthcare-provider-finder/


NHF said the Spring AQH deadline for applicants will be February 23, 2022, for the examination to be taken by healthcare providers from March 1-14, 2022.


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About the National Headache Foundation

The National Headache Foundation (NHF) is the premier educational and informational resource for individuals with headache, their families, physicians, allied health care professionals, and health policy decision makers. To obtain the name of a Health Care Provider interested in headache medicine, please visit www.headaches.org.