May 25, 2024

Leadership Spotlight: Admired Chair, Audrey Craven

A committed patient advocate for migraine and headache disorders, GPAC’s Chair, Audrey Craven, is motivated by the idea of bringing a global community together to raise awareness, reduce stigma and recognize the impact of migraine. 


“We have to be very prudent with both human and financial resources to optimize what we have,” she says. “I hope that we can be effective and make a difference in the lives of those who will never meet who are hidden in the darkened room.”


She wants people to know what a disabling condition migraine is and the impact it has on people’s personal and professional lives. She also hopes to improve the quality of life for people with migraine, including her children. 


Craven is the founder and president of the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) and Vice Chair of the European Brain Foundation. She is the past president of both the European Migraine and Headache Alliance (EMHA) and the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). 


Collaboration and Partnership 

According to Craven, collaboration and partnership are necessary components that will help GPAC achieve its mission. By working with world leaders in the scientific and neurology community, using reliable data and leading research, GPAC can create key messages that will encourage policymakers to create change. 


One example of policy change in action that she would like to follow is a migraine headache program that was set up in every hospital in the Republic of Ireland. The program was adopted through the work of many people advocating on behalf of the program and using data to show its value. 


She would like to see more programs like this across the globe, but recognizes there are challenges. There is much work to be done to address clinical, political, economic and social barriers to care for people with migraine and headache living in developing countries. 


“There are so many barriers and obstacles, whether it be myths or lack of training,” says Craven, “If GPAC is going to fulfill our mission and our goal, we’re going to have to reach these populations.” 


Ensuring that people living with migraine have the skills to feel more empowered is very important for Craven. One way that GPAC is working to do this is by creating patient advocacy groups across the globe. She hopes that raising the patient voice can amplify the educational work that is being done in many areas of the world. 


She is hopeful that there can be progress and in the 30 years since she started MAI, she has seen change in the way migraine is treated. She mentions a few of the medications that have been developed to treat migraine, from triptans to anti-CGRP therapies, as well as the fact that self-care is often stressed more often now. 


“I think we have we are in a very privileged position. Because there aren’t too many neurological brain disorders, where you can actually get your life back. I’m one of those people who got my life back,” she says. 


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