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Women in Migraine

Prof. Cristina Tassorelli, President of The International Headache Society

Prof. Cristina Tassorelli

Prof. Cristina Tassorelli is President of The International Headache Society, Director of the Headache Science Centre and of the Neurorehabilitative Unit at the IRCCS C. Mondino Foundation, and Chair of Neurology, Director of the Neurology Residency Program and Vice-Director of the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Pavia.


In this interview with Prof. Cristina Tassorelli, we asked her about what inspired her to pursue a career in the headache field and the position as President of the International Headache Society.

How can we recruit more women to the field of migraine research and in leading roles?

By selecting bright and motivated young female scientists and clinicians. Then nurturing, training, and challenging and making them feel more confident in themselves and in the goals they can achieve if they try hard.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the headache field?

The beauty and complexity of the brain machinery that undergoes recurrent crash-downs associated with the ability to recover every time. For the very same reason, I was originally interested in the neurobiology of psychiatric diseases and in epilepsy.

What has been one main obstacle that you experienced as a woman in research?

Having to work at least twice as hard to be considered worthy.

What would be your advice to aspiring female researchers hoping for a future career in the headache field, possibly in a leading role?

To stay focused, to carefully select their partner (they will need a supportive one), to be generous with colleagues, to avoid complacency and aggressivity, and to believe in themselves and their ideas.

What motivated you to pursue your inspiring position as The President of the International Headache Society?

The support of male and female colleagues that slowly, but steadily, grew around me. Their support convinced me that I could do a good job for the society, and by doing so and being a woman, my work would have had a positive (possibly inspirational) impact on the multitude of wonderful female researchers and scientists working hard in the headache field. At the same time, it would have convinced gender-prejudiced people that female agency and competency can be a reality.