The program of excellence in Headache Medicine (Headache Specialist) set up by the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches (SISC) is an ambitious project and, as the Anglo-Saxons would say, “visionary” of which, as the Director of the school, I am particularly proud. The program, a two-year course that can be modulated according to the different needs of the participants, allows the participants to achieve three different levels of certification of expertise in the field of headaches: basic level certificate in headache medicine, advanced level certificate in headache medicine and, after passing a multiple choice examination, the SISC certification as an expert in higher-level headache medicine.
An exclusive worldwide feature of the school is the possibility of obtaining advanced and higher level certificates for both adult and developmental age headaches (or both, for those who are interested). Another peculiarity, designed to facilitate the completion of an undoubtedly demanding program, is the "mixed" mode, in which the levels are organized partly in distance learning and partly in modules which in turn, are accessible in person or remotely, in synchronous mode on the date of registration or in asynchronous mode, for a period of 6 months.
My personal suggestion, for those who have the opportunity, is to attend at least some of the modules in person, because the sense of community that is created between teachers and participants in the three days spent together (maybe, why not, even at meals …) favors learning and the exchange of information and ideas, precious for improving didactics and sometimes a harbinger of new scientific insights. The other aspect that I would like to emphasize is that the advanced course also requires a practical session with clinical training at a third-level headache center. In my opinion, this is a fundamental part of the course, because theory, in a discipline like ours, which is also art as well as science, must always be lowered into “in corpore vili” to acquire practical effectiveness. The last point that I would like to highlight is the extreme flexibility of the modules, which are intended to adapt to different and diversified needs. The general practitioner, for example, who has a special interest in headaches, may be more than satisfied with obtaining the basic level certificate, while those who treat headaches as a priority at the assistance and/or academic level, will necessarily want to achieve the higher level certification. Veterans who have already been active in the field of headaches for many years and wish to have a formal qualification certifying their status, finally, can, after careful examination of the documents regarding their activity, directly access the examination for the achievement of the higher level.
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