The National Headache Foundation (NHF) welcomed 21 new healthcare providers who passed the recent certification exam for its Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (AQH) program. Tom Dabertin, NHF chief executive officer and executive director, said “the September graduates have fully mastered the standards for headache practice and have a stronger capability to help their patients with migraine disease and headache disorders.”

The NHF AQH graduates include six physicians, a physician’s assistant, and 14 nurse practitioners from 15 states:

  • Wyatt Biel, MS, FNP-BC, AQH – Winchester, Mass.
  • Stefanie Brackin, FNP-BC, AQH – Paragould, Ark.
  • Tracey A. Carpenter, FNP, AQH – Wildwood, Mo.
  • Thomas Drahos, MPAS, PA-C, AQH – Parnell, Iowa
  • Kamel Ghandour, MD, AQH – Stamford, Conn.
  • Katie Johnson, ARNP, FNP-BC, AQH – Longview, Wash.
  • Sarah Denes Morris, NP, AQH – Greenville, S.C.
  • Autumn Nye, NP, AQH – Bennington, Neb.
  • Swetha Pedavally, MD, AQH – Omaha, Neb.
  • Lindsey Plato-Johnson, DNP, FNP-BC, AQH – Brunswick, Md.
  • Chelsea Presson, MSNc, APRN, AQH – Sherwood, Ark.
  • Daniel Victor Rodriquez, MD, AQH – Billings, Mont.
  • Laxmi Shah, DO, AQH – Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Toni Sorenson, CPNP-AC, AQH – Temple, Tex.
  • Lucas A. Stenzel, MD, AQH – Omaha, Neb.
  • Caroline Stowe, MSN, FNP-BC, AQH – Annandale, Va.
  • Andrea L. Svoboda, APRN – CNP, AQH – Boardman, Ohio
  • April D. Swoner, FNP-C, AQH – Mount Juliet, Tenn.
  • Jessica Ventura, DNP, ANP-BC, AQH- North Attleboro, Mass.
  • Amrita-Amanda Vuppala, MD, AQH – Bennington, Neb.
  • Rebecca L. Zwanziger, ARNP, AQH – West Burlington, Iowa

For those seeking to apply for the Spring AQH certification, the deadline for applicants will be February 23, 2022, and the online examination will be March 1-14, 2022.
Dabertin said qualifications have been adjusted for the AQH program to reflect the increased patient incidence of headache and migraine 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:

  1. 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
  2. At least three years of experience managing headache medicine in other clinical settings, or
  3. A professional who has completed an accredited Neurology residency (M.D. or D.O.), or
  4. 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.”
The NHF Board created the AQH certification program in 2012. Patients seeking the full list of 248 active AQH certified professionals can review the NHF online directory that can be found here.