Aims to Help Veterans and Active Duty Personnel with Headache Disorders and Migraine Disease

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2023) – The National Headache Foundation (NHF) announced today it is hosting the second listening session affiliated with Operation Brainstorm at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C. from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13. Operation Brainstorm is a NHF dedicated program created to offer enhanced services to veterans and active duty military personnel with headache disorders and migraine disease.

Tom Dabertin, CEO/Executive Director of NHF, said the active American Legion Post 20 at the Press Club was a deciding factor in why the event is being hosted there. He also said the timing coincides with many advocates for headache and migraine issues involved in Headache on the Hill the following day on Capitol Hill. Dabertin is encouraging Veterans and military personnel to bring their families, caregivers, and medical providers. There is no cost to attend, and free migraine survival kits will be provided, courtesy of NHF.

Jason Sico, M.D., the National Director of the Headache Centers of Excellence (HCoE) Program within the Veterans Health Administration, will answer any questions about resources available and the diagnosis, treatment, and research on headache and migraine. The HCoE is a national initiative to improve headache care delivery through educational programs, innovative care delivery models, including telehealth, and standardized care algorithms that incorporate patient self-management and interdisciplinary headache care.

Sico, who joined the NHF board in October 2022, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine and a board-certified neurologist and primary care internist within the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, providing both specialty and general care services for veterans with neurological disease, specifically headache and ischemic stroke.

Joe Wasson, a Veterans Service Officer who sees Veterans daily with headache and migraine concerns, will talk about connecting with military personnel and their families.

The National Press Club is located at 529 14th Street, N.W., 13th floor, Washington, D.C. Parking garages and Metro are nearby. The link to register is

Dabertin said Operation Brainstorm was launched in July 2022,  and program leaders soon learned that much more can be done to broaden services. “We need far more resources to increase access and quality of care for the service members and Veterans who bravely protect our country,” said Dabertin.

In partnership with Nurtec, NHF has been offering enhanced health resources for veterans and active-duty military. Initiatives include:

  • Production and distribution of migraine survival toolkits.
  • Sponsoring Veterans Views, a syndicated radio show hosted by veterans and focusing on issues affecting veterans.
  • Primary care provider training via the NHF’s Primary Care Migraine (PCM) educational program. PCM is available to healthcare providers throughout the VA medical system.
  • A series of listening sessions, hosted at American Legion halls and other venues, that brings veterans together to learn about chronic headache and migraine.


Dabertin said U.S. service members and veterans disproportionately share acute barriers to care that millions of Americans face trying to treat headache and migraine disorders. “Studies show that veterans are more likely to develop migraine or other headache disorders,” said Dabertin. “Headache and migraine disorders are a pervasive issue among veterans in the United States, but less attention and fewer resources are devoted to treatment than to more visible physical traumas.” According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 36 percent of veterans who served at least a one-year tour in Iraq or Afghanistan have a diagnosis of migraine or a headache disorder.

From 2000 to 2020, more than 430,000 U.S. service members have a diagnosis with traumatic brain injuries. These brain injuries can lead to post-traumatic headache disorder. Headache and migraine can show up weeks or months after an injury, and the debilitating symptoms can last for years. A study from the Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health discovered a significant link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and combat-related injury among veterans who experienced migraine and tension-type headache. More than 300 veterans visited the Center for services during the study in 2009; nearly half reported experiencing migraine or headache.

Dabertin said, “The more we learn about the compelling migraine and headache disorder treatment needs of veterans and active-duty military, the more we want to accomplish on their behalf. NHF goals include adding other resources and direct programs, such as companion dogs, to support veteran and military patients, their caregivers, and healthcare providers.”

Additional NHF listening sessions in 2023 are planned for Chicago, Ill., Detroit, Mich., and Nashville, Tenn.