MIGRAINE BRIEFING EXPLORES WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS
In a panel discussion hosted by Research!America on October 3 on Capitol Hill, speakers called for more research and explored issues related to workplace accommodations for migraine patients. “We want to work,” said Eileen Brewer, a migraine patient who serves on the board of Clusterbusters. Twenty-two percent of migraine patients have lost jobs due to their condition, she noted, adding that employers should provide “compassionate” accommodations for employees who live with the disease. She described various cost-effective measures such as anti-glare screens on computers, quiet rooms and fragrance-free cleaning products. Migraine patients also have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to Stacey Worthy, JD, of the Aimed Alliance. “Migraine is the 6th most prevalent disability according to the WHO (World Health Organization),” she said, adding that the ADA allows individuals with migraine to request accommodations from employers and some may even qualify for disability payments. But, she noted, migraine is not included in the Social Security Listing of Impairments, known as the “blue book,” which would make it easier for patients to qualify. “Science must drive policy because policy drives change,” emphasized Amy Miller, PhD, President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR.). Women are three times more likely than men to experience migraine, she said, adding that more research could lead to a greater understanding, for example, of how hormones influence migraine. Kevin Lenaburg, the moderator of the panel and executive director of the Coalition of Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP) said funding for migraine research has yet to match the severity and burden of the disease.