Career Advancement in the Headache Field: What Are the Obstacles? A Podcast with Irene de Boer and Gisela Terwindt

By Lincoln Tracy | November 10, 2022 | Posted in

In this Migraine Science Collaborative podcast, two co-authors of a recent cross-sectional survey study discuss what is holding back the careers of headache professionals.

In a recent study published in Cephalalgia on September 7, 2022, an international group of researchers reported results from a global online survey looking at perceived barriers to career progression in the headache field. The survey focused on career obstacles in four domains: professional recognition, opportunities in scientific societies, clinical practice, and salary and compensation.

Nearly 600 professionals in the global headache field responded to the survey, with gender emerging as the most important barrier in nearly all of the four domains. Country of birth also surfaced as a key barrier.

In this MSC podcast, Irene de Boer, first author of the study, along with senior author Gisela Terwindt, sit down with Lincoln Tracy, a research fellow and freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia, to delve deep into the findings from their new work. Listen to the podcast below, which is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Lincoln Tracy is a research fellow and freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. You can follow him on Twitter @lincolntracy.

Perceived barriers to career progression in the headache field: A global web-based cross-sectional survey.
de Boer et al.
Cephalalgia. 2022 Sep 7. Online ahead of print.

More about the podcast participants

Irene de Boer (left) and Gisela Terwindt

Irene de Boer, MD, received her MSc in biomedical science and her MD in medicine at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. She started her PhD project at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and is currently finishing her dissertation. Her research aims to gain insight into the genetics of migraine and the clinical spectrum of associated hereditary disorders (for more information see and She is vice chair of the Juniors Group of the International Headache Society and participates as a committee member in the Membership Standing Committee and the Women’s Leadership Forum.

Gisela Terwindt, MD, PhD, is consultant neurologist and director of the Leiden Headache Center (LUMC, NL). She is chair of the scientific and headache guideline committee of the Dutch Headache Society and chair of the International Headache Society (IHS) Clinical Guideline Committee and Women’s Leadership Forum, and participated as a committee member for the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD)-3. Her research focuses on neurobiological and molecular triggering mechanisms that lead to migraine attacks, in order to identify treatment targets for prevention of attacks and disease progression. Her group is also studying the pathogenesis of monogenic disorders such as hemiplegic migraine and cerebral hereditary angiopathies, which serve as models for migraine pathogenesis and help improve insight into the pathophysiology of common neurovascular disorders including stroke and vascular dementia. Terwindt is involved in exploring the migraine-stroke relationship, with a special focus on female-specific triggers for migraine and stroke. She has published approximately 350 scientific papers, and received a prestigious personal grant from the Dutch Research Council.

Terwindt received her MSc in biology and MD in medicine at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. Her PhD centered on the epidemiology and genetics of migraine and resulted in the discovery of the first migraine gene. Also see:,, and


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Dr. Lincoln Tracy is a researcher and freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. As a researcher, he uses data from an international clinical quality registry to explore burn injuries in Australia and New Zealand. As a freelance writer, he turns basic, translational, and clinical research into high-quality news, features, interviews, meeting reports, and podcasts. As a person, he is one half of one of two sets of twins in his family. Follow him on Twitter @lincolntracy.



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