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University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford Offering Headache Fellowship Program



Jeffrey Royce, MD, FAAFP, FAHS

Rockford, Ill. – The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford started a Headache Medicine Fellowship Program, and Sarah E. Robertson, MD, is the first fellow.

Dr. Robertson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Valparaiso University, in Valparaiso, Ind. She also earned her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Queensland School of Medicine, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and UQ-Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans, La. She completed a family medicine residency at the Mercyhealth Graduate Medical Education Consortium in Rockford.

The Headache Medicine Fellowship Program offers training in pathophysiology, recognition, headache management and related disorders. At the conclusion of a one-year fellowship, fellows will have the knowledge and skills needed for a career in headache medicine.

The curriculum is broken into three sections: clinical, which offers patient exposure at the UW Health SwedishAmerican Hospital Neuro and Headache Center; education, which includes didactic sessions conferences and interprofessional sessions; and research, which allows fellows to select projects that interest them, including studies started by faculty members.

Jeffrey Royce, MD, FAAFP, FAHS, a clinical assistant professor in the UICOMR Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the fellowship program’s director. A certified headache specialist, Dr. Royce uses specific techniques to treat chronic and acute headaches and he has a special interest in migraine headaches. He is a graduate of Rush Medical College who completed his family medicine residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford and is board-certified in both family medicine and headache medicine. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Headache Society.

“There’s an urgent need to train doctors to manage headache patients because at least 36 million Americans suffer from migraine headache disorder and around half of them are undiagnosed,” Dr. Royce says. “There are 3.2 million Americans who suffer with chronic migraines and only a tiny portion have seen a provider and received satisfactory diagnosis and treatment.”

The goals of this fellowship program are to teach fellows skills needed to offer headache medicine care for ambulatory and inpatient patients; to create an understanding of factors that impact patients with headache disorders; and to foster the skills needed to improve patient care.

“A very low number of available physicians are trained and capable to handle headache disorders,” Dr. Royce says. “UICOMR recognized the pressing need and partnered with the Neuro and Headache Center to form this fellowship.”