My experiences both as patient and practitioner have provided me with a particular standpoint and set of insights about the ways our healthcare system serves women with chronic migraine leading to various advocacy and social initiatives. I have witnessed a significant lack of understanding, support and treatment funding for those who are challenged by chronic, difficult to treat health conditions. For example, common prophylactic treatments for migraine – such as nerve blocking agents – are often not covered by public health insurance and require patients to pay their neurologist out of pocket. To address this, I have been in contact with France Gelinas (an NDP MPP and opposition health critic) and Migraine Canada around petitioning the government to create a billing code for this treatment. It turns out we only need ONE specialist who offers this treatment to write to the Minister of Health and petition for a billing code to be created. Once this is done, the matter can be tabled at Queens’s park and the NDP would gladly help in pushing this agenda item. I have let Migraine Canada know this information in hopes that they can speak with their collegues in Ontario and make this a reality. In the mean time, please let your neurologist know this information at your next Botox appointment, especially those that are interested in Migraine health and advocacy. Please sign the following petition and voice your support on this initiative
Additionally, many patients are unable to access suitable supports to help them cope with the many emotional and social challenges that accompany chronic migraine diagnoses. My commitment to supporting people with migraine extends into various forms of community engagement, including developing and facilitating a free local support group for migraine sufferers through St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, extending that support group online and volunteering with agencies such as Migraine Canada to provide free webinars and conference presentations to patients. I have also created a social media platform on Instagram called @MigraineScholarCanada that brings attention to the research I am doing so that patient advocates can take up that information to inform advocacy initiatives of their own. It also serves as a platform to connect with the larger migraine/chronic illness community, to highlight the work of other researchers advocates, to keep them up to date about helpful free events/services and to disseminate general knowledge pertaining to migraine/chronic illness. I am excited as I continue to embark on a career dedicated to research, advocacy that seeks to improve the quality of life of those with underrecognized, under addressed and often contested illnesses as well as work to support those in that community.
Please reach out if you would like to collaborate on any advocacy initiatives
I can be found @migrainescholarcanada on Instagram, Facebook or can be emailed directly at firstname.lastname@example.org