Grand rounds education in neurology, with a focus on headache medicine

Headache. 2021 May 15. doi: 10.1111/head.14116. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To quantify the proportion of headache-related grand rounds in academic neurology programs and to compare this with adult neurology residency director views on the need for an increase in headache-related grand rounds.

Background: Although headache are among the most prevalent and most burdensome neurologic conditions, headache medicine is often considered underrepresented in neurology departments. Additionally, prior studies have shown that many neurology residency directors feel that training programs do not include an adequate amount of exposure to headache clinics or headache-related didactics. One important aspect of didactic education in neurology departments is adult neurology grand rounds. Previous publications have evaluated neither the proportion of headache-related grand rounds in academic neurology departments nor the residency program directors' views on appropriate amount of headache-related grand rounds. Our study has attempted to quantify this information to elucidate opportunities to improve practice educational gaps.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we surveyed adult neurology residency directors (from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education [ACGME] listing of academic adult neurology residency programs) between October 2018 and September 2019. In addition, we used two methods to obtain the proportion of headache-related grand rounds in neurology: (1) emailing residency directors a questionnaire asking for a list of prior grand rounds topics and (2) an online search for each academic neurology program.

Results: First, for our grand rounds analysis, headache medicine consisted of 3.7% of the lectures in 2017-2018 and 6.3% of the lectures in 2018-2019 (average of each institution; 17 institutions and 411 total lectures in 2017-2018, 21 institutions and 463 total lectures in 2018-2019). The most common number of lectures on headache medicine for each grand rounds series was zero (for 7 of 17 grand rounds series in 2017-2018 and 7 of 21 in 2018-2019), followed closely by one lecture (for 6 of 17 grand rounds series in 2017-2018 and 6 of 21 in 2018-2019). Second, for our survey, the response rate was 19.3% (29/150). No residency director thought their institution had too many grand rounds dedicated to headache medicine, and 62.1% (18/29) thought they had an adequate amount of headache grand rounds. Within the survey responders, 75.9% (22/29) of adult neurology residency programs have a board-certified headache specialist at their institution.

Conclusions: Although most adult neurology residency directors believe that headache is adequately represented in adult neurology grand rounds, headache medicine makes up 4%-6% of all neurology grand rounds. Compared with other neurology subspecialties and the other core ACGME milestones, headache makes up the fewest grand rounds lectures that were assessed in this study.

Keywords: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; academic neurology; headache rotation; milestones.