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Group sets educational goals
The Chicago-based National Headache Foundation has three educational goals for National Headache Awareness Week scheduled for June 3-9, 2001:
• To spread the word that headaches are a legitimate biological disease.
• To encourage headache sufferers to seek a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.
• To let people know that there are new treatment options available.
There are many ways patient education managers can get the word out. Suzanne Simons, MS, executive director of the National Headache Foun-dation, suggests they assemble an educational bulletin board in a high-traffic area, arrange a brown bag lunch with a headache specialist as
the guest speaker, or arrange to have the specialist interviewed on a local radio or TV program.
Organizing a public education seminar with a panel of physicians and headache sufferers also works well, or providing a demonstration of a complementary therapy, such as biofeedback, that might help headache sufferers.
Health care facilities who organize events for National Headache Awareness Week should contact the foundation for a form they can complete to have their events added to a master calendar of events the foundation posts on its web site and includes in its press kit. "In that way, health care facilities can get more exposure for their event," says Simons.
This year the theme is: "Headaches? Think Migraine." In keeping with the theme, the foundation is sponsoring a migraine artwork contest in which migraine headache sufferers are invited to paint or draw images of migraine. The artwork will be displayed at a show in Chicago during National Headache Awareness Week and then appear in a virtual gallery on the foundation’s web site (www.headaches.org).
There is also a lot of information available on
the web site, such as topic sheets and educational modules. These same materials also are available by calling the foundation’s toll-free telephone line.
National Headache Awareness Week is not just for headache suffers. The general public needs to learn that headaches are a legitimate biological disease, and headache sufferers are not hypochondriacs, says Simons. "Headache sufferers are not trying to get out of work or draw attention to themselves. They have a legitimate health problem," she explains.