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Women in Migraine

Dr. Patricia Pozo-Rosich, MD, PhD

Dr. Patricia Pozo-Rosich, MD, PhD

Patricia Pozo-Rosich MD PhD, is a specialist in Neurology. She is Head of Section of the Neurology Department and Director of the Migraine Adaptive Brain Center at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona. She is the Principal Investigator of the Headache Research Laboratory at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR), which belongs to the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona(UAB).

She is the Honorary Secretary of the Executive Board of the International Headache Society, and past member of the European Headache Federation Council, past Coordinator of the Spanish Headache Study Group of the Spanish Neurological Society (


In this interview with Dr. Patricia Pozo-Rosich, we asked her about her thoughts on  migraine research, and her involvement in International Headache Society’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

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

Personally, I think that what I really want is to recruit the “best” physicians and researchers to the field. It can be women or not. However, I do think that there are many women who are in the field and that do not reach leading roles. Some of the ways are to have women in the leadership roles, so “role-models” which we already have. To give chances.

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

I liked many things. I would have never thought that I would become a headache specialist, but when I realized during residency that proper headache care had so much positive impact and that I understood sufferers without having prejudices, I thought I might pursue headache medicine. However, I needed to know whether if research could be done in headache, because I knew I wanted to become a neuroscientist too. So, as I didn’t have any headache scientific mentors or figures close by, I went out and searched for them, realized good science could be done, and I decided to dedicate my professional life to headache medicine and science. I started a research group back in 2007 and have grown the group since. We hope now to be attractive to international students, neurologists, and researchers. Barcelona is a good place to live!

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

Many. I initially thought that by doing headache, that would not create conflicts or problems within my department, but it did. So, both doing headache and being a woman have not been easy. Headache is not considered as a disease or as a science. I guess I like challenges. In regards to being a woman, I have faced different hostile situations with my head of department and some colleagues. Some certainly did not want women around. At a national and international level, I think I have been welcomed. Being a woman, I do think has more challenges and barriers – or at least it had. We need to start giving Brain Prizes and Nobel Prizes to women, allowing them to be Full Professors, etc. There are many out there who deserve it.

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

Work hard, find your mentors, be resilient, don’t give up, create alliances and networks. Don’t try to do it alone.

What motivated you to pursue your inspiring involvement in the International Headache Society’s Women’s Leadership Forum?

Responsibility. I never thought I would become a role model or inspire other women, or in fact, other researchers. But you come to realize that you are part of change. We can´t ask for things if we are not involved in leading that transformation. I want people to understand that there are men and women around the world that could help headache patients and headache science if we would involve them.