M.A.G.N.U.M.: Migraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding for Migraineurs, is a non-profit health care public education organization conceived in 1993 and incorporated in 1994 to bring public and government awareness to the medical seriousness of the migraine disease.
Migraine disease affects approximately 30 million Americans, with up to 38 million Americans having migraine genetic propensity. Those who suffer from the most serious and disabling type of migraine, Intractable Migraine, work against great odds to hold jobs and to support families. It was out of the personal experiences of MAGNUM founder Michael John Coleman, who has suffered from Intractable Migraine since the age of six, that MAGNUM was formed.
Migraine having disrupted his life severely, Coleman, as a nationally-ranked award-winning fine-art photographer, turned, as a last resort, to the disability laws for assistance. Coleman spent two years fighting for his disability rights through a process which normally takes 30 to 60 days. While preparing for his case, he found that one must be granted disability if determined to be disabled by a disease that is of equal severity to an impairment on the Listing of Impairments' even if the disease itself is not on the Listing. (In his case, the Administrative Law Judge included in the record the comparison of migraine to epilepsy, a disease which is on the Listing.) Coleman was ultimately granted his disability, but was forced to go through an unnecessarily long and expensive process.
Through extensive research conducted during this disability process, Coleman and Terri Miller Burchfield, Stanford University engineering graduate, investment banker and Congressional investigator, found wide-spread misinformation about migraine and a general lack of knowledge about the medical cause and treatment of migraine among migraine sufferers, the government, and others. Dangerous misinformation regarding migraine was reported in the mainstream press, from Women's magazines to medical literature.
After Coleman's disability was granted, Coleman and Burchfield, now MAGNUM Executive V.P. and Legislative Director, decided that the knowledge they gained should be shared with other Migraine sufferers. In addition, they decided that the misinformation about migraine reported in the press and the outdated information about migraine contained in medical literature should be addressed. In order to do this, Coleman and Burchfield, also a migraine sufferer, decided to form a non-profit migraine health care education organization, ultimately called M.A.G.N.U.M.: Migraine Awareness Group: A National Understanding for Migraineurs. Coleman's experience in communications and Burchfield's experience in corporate and political matters made a good partnership to build such an organization. In addition, Coleman being a nationally-ranked artist, his work is collected from people from all walks of life, including members of Congress, corporations, and doctors. From such acquaintances, MAGNUM has built a strong base of support for its activities and has built a strong Board of Directors to address this problem. MAGNUM was originally headquartered in the Principle Gallery, owned by Robert King, Michele Marceau, and Susan Hogan, in Old Town Alexandria, which had allowed Coleman to divide his time between Migraine disease awareness advocacy and his career creating his unique alternative process photography. Today Coleman focuses on Migraine disease awareness, and continues to create art which is used in ongoing disease awareness activities.
Overall, MAGNUM's objective is two-pronged: first as an organization dedicated to bringing public and government awareness to migraine as a true organic neurological disease; and second as an organization working to change existing Social Security Administration (SSA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Law, and/or HHS implementing regulations, to include Intractable Migraine on the Code of Federal Regulations Listing of Impairments. MAGNUM's educational and health care reform efforts will help to save the industry and government migraine-related costs associated with ineffective medical treatment and lost productivity, estimated at billions of dollars per year in this country alone. In addition, MAGNUM's efforts to include Intractable Migraine on the Listing of Impairments will save the federal government money associated with the current, and unnecessary, reconsideration process. MAGNUM is working with, and received endorsements for its activities from, many government officials including: Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; U.S. Senators Charles Robb, John Warner, Barbara Mikulski, Paul Sarbanes, Paul Coverdell, Tim Johnson, and Charles Grassley; U.S. Congressmen James Moran, Thomas Davis, Frank Wolf, Bill Paxon, Cliff Stearns, and Rick Boucher; and Congresswomen Connie Morella, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nita Lowey, and former Congresswoman Susan Molinari. In addition the Congressional Caucus for Woman's Issues sponsored a MAGNUM migraine awareness art exhibit in the U.S. House of Representatives' Cannon House Rotunda in 1997, as co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.
MAGNUM continues to work with many other offices on a bipartisan basis. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton sent greeting from the White House in 1996 to those attending MAGNUM's Second Annual Small Works Exhibition in Washington, D.C., and MAGNUM continues to work with the Office of Women's Issues & Outreach for the Fist Lady. In 1998, Tipper Gore, Office of the Vice President, Office of Tipper Gore, supplied the Keynote Letter for the Third Annual Migraine Awareness Exhibition. MAGNUM is also working with the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Health Care Policy and Research on developing the Clinical Practice Guideline for Chronic Pain: Headache, and testified before HHS accordingly in October 1995. MAGNUM continues to obtain endorsements from, and establish working relationships with, leading medical and research centers around the country, such as: the Michigan Head-Pain & Neurological Institute, Directed by Joel R. Saper, M.D., F.A.C.P.; The New England Center for Headache, Directed and Founded by Fred Sheftell, M.D., F.A.C.P., also President of the American Council for Headache Education (ACHE); Spectra Biomedical, Inc., Stanford University, Stephen J. Peroutka, M.D., Ph.D., President and Founder; The Comprehensive Headache Center, Co-Directed by Stephen D. Silberstein, M.D., F.A.C.P.; The Neurology Center in Virginia, Directed by Stuart M. Stark, M.D., The Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Hospital, Nabih M. Ramadan, M.D., Director, Ambulatory Headache Clinic; The Rocky Mountain Headache Association; The American Association for the Study of Headache (AASH); and The Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research, Duke University. MAGNUM's Board of Directors includes leading medical experts, such as: Medical Advisor Chair, Fred Sheftell, M.D., F.A.C.P., President of the American Council for Headache Education; Medical Research Chair, Stuart M. Stark, M.D., Co-Director, The Neurology Center; Medical Advisor, William Bruce Barham, M.D., Heron Medical Center; M.D., Co-Director, The Neurology Center; Pharmaceutical Advisor Chair, Alvin Burwell, RPh; and Medical Information Chair, Jean Crosier, MLS, of the Phoenix Indian School Medical Research Center.
MAGNUM has been fortunate to receive positive national media coverage on its activities, including stories in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News and World Report, The FDA's Journal-FDA Consumer Magazine, The Washington Post, HealthWeek Magazine, NurseWeek Magazine, Boston's MiddlesexNews, The Washington Times Journal Newspapers, The Philadelphia Inquirer, many syndicated health colums around the country, and the local Washington D.C. press. M.A.G.N.U.M. is currently working with other national media publications and has been asked to appear on various television programs. In October 1995, the Washington DC affiliate of CBS aired a news story on MAGNUM. The story generated calls from all over the country. CBS aired a follow-up piece on MAGNUM's activities for which it interviewed MAGNUM's Founder and MAGNUM's Legislative Director. ABC News, Cables News Networks, Reuters TV News, and many others continued To feature MAGNUM interviews.
In the very early 90's when the concept of MAGNUM was formed, we began operations as an unfunded, grassroots organization. Since then MAGNUM has operated primarily by donations and unrestricted educational grants since its incorporation in 1994. MAGNUM has received educational grants from such corporations as Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Elan Pharmaceuticals/Carnrick Laboratories Inc, GlaxoWellcome, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and Zeneca, now AstaZeneca Pharmaceuticals. In addition, MAGNUM had also received donated services for specific projects from such companies as Proxicom, WebFirst, Darby Digital Communications; Fannon Color Printing; Mitchell Color Cards, Heath M.D. Wiggins Graphic Design; Extra Touch of Class, Inc.; Gordon King, Owner, Bullfeathers Restaurant; and Broadway Gallery in Fairfax, Virginia.
In a short period of time, MAGNUM has accomplished a great deal in the areas of public education, media coverage, and Congressional support for its activities. Hundreds of requests for assistance continue to pour into MAGNUM, including requests for proper treatment, detailed information on migraine, obtainment of medical benefits, speaking engagements, media appearances, and legislative and regulatory work. MAGNUM received hundreds of thankful calls after an article MAGNUM wrote on the myths surrounding migraine, entitled Migraine: Myth and Reality, was published and distributed in many of MAGNUM's supporting neurologists' offices. MAGNUM continues to work on other long-range projects, such as implementing a tri-city study of emergency room standing operating procedures for acute migraine patients.
In 1996, MAGNUM launched its Web site http://www.migraines.org to which it continues to add information. This site was made possible by the Clio-award winning company, Proxicom, owned by Raul Fernandez, which was kind enough to donate its time and expertise.
MAGNUM believes that its efforts combined with efforts of those in the media, government, and medical community who treat the migraine disease with truth and respect will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of Migraineurs and their loved ones in general.
MAGNUM, Inc. is located 100 North Union Street, Suite B, Alexandria, VA, 22314, (703) 349-1929 phone. Fax To: 1 (800) 884-1300.
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