Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s Named Center of Excellence

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has been named one of 10 clinical centers of excellence for headache, the only pediatric center in the United States to receive this designation.

The designation as an Advanstar Clinical Center of Excellence was made by Medical Economics, a business resource published to help physicians manage their practices.

Established in 1996, the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s was organized as a multidisciplinary clinic -- combining child neurology with child psychology, nurse practitioners and nursing -- to diagnose and treat children with headache disorders. Clinicians at the Headache Center conduct approximately 500 new evaluations and nearly 2,000 follow-up examinations each year. The Center’s inpatient unit was the first pediatric-specific headache care inpatient unit in the nation. The Headache Center has an international referral base.

"This recognition reflects the dedication of the entire Headache Center staff and support personnel to improving the lives of children and teens who have headache disorders," says Andrew Hershey, MD, PhD, director of the Headache Center. "This multidisciplinary approach has been demonstrated to be highly effective, not only in the standard methods of measuring outcome but also in the development of tools to characterize disability and quality of life."

The Headache Center at Cincinnati Children's has also been designed to develop and expand research into childhood headache disorders by examining new treatment options, improved characterization of childhood headache and response patterns, and understanding the genetic pathophysiology of childhood headaches. The Headache Center established the first pediatric fellowship for the study of childhood headaches in the country. It also developed PedMIDAS, a tool to assess disability in children and teens due to headaches, now used throughout the world.

Institutions under consideration by Medical Economics to be named Clinical Centers of Excellence were asked to self-report data, including quality improvement initiatives underway, outcomes data, patient satisfaction, number of referrals and evidence of incorporating research and clinical care.

Headaches in children have a profound effect on daily function and overall quality of life. The Headache Center medical team at Cincinnati Children's has seen the impact of headaches on school, social and family activities significantly reduce over time with treatment. Multidisciplinary care has improved outcomes because it focuses on many levels of headache management -- including medications, teaching new coping skills and educating the patient about the treatment plan. Standardized diagnostic criteria are used, along with evidence-based guidelines, to evaluate headaches.

Some 80 to 85 percent of children report improvement in headaches that is maintained over time. In addition, school absences per semester are dramatically reduced after receiving treatment by the Headache Center team.

The Center is co-directed by Scott Powers, PhD, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of America’s top three children’s hospitals for general pediatrics and is highly ranked for its expertise in digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care and neurosurgery, according to the annual ranking of best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For its achievements in transforming healthcare, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize ® for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases, so that children with the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions receive the most advanced care leading to better outcomes.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656,