International Headache Society Global Patient Advocacy Coalition (IHS-GPAC)

IHS-GPAC recognizes Fujitsu as a world leader in migraine awareness, education, and employee support in the workplace

Fumihiko Sakai, David W. Dodick

On behalf of Prof David Dodick, chair of IHS-GPAC (right, on the screen), Prof. Fumihiko Sakai (third from the left) in Japan presented the plaque “International Headache Society Global Patient Advocacy Coalition recognizes Fujitsu Limited as a World Leader Migraine Workplace Awareness, Education, and Employer Support Program,” 2019-2022. CEO of Fujitsu; Takahito Tokita (second from the left). Dr. Hitoshi Miyake (head of Health Promotion Unit-left) and Dr. Hisaka Igarashi-right). Also speaking at this event were Prof. Cristina Tassorelli, president of the International Headache Society and Prof. Wolfgang Grisold, president of the World Federation of Neurology.

The impact of migraine on people’s professional lives, work productivity, and interpersonal relationships at work eventually affects everyone, has a significant detrimental effect on people with migraine, and exacts a huge cost in terms of lost productivity. People with migraine want to work, so they do their best to work despite intense pain and debilitating neurological symptoms. Most of migraine-related productivity loss1 is due to presenteeism. People are less than half effective during a migraine attack due to the pain, neurological symptoms, attack unpredictability, other diseases associated with migraine, emotional impact, under-diagnosis and under-management, and stigma. Migraine-related productivity loss may negatively affect people’s career choice, job security, opportunities for promotion, financial status, work relationships, mood, and confidence.

The International Headache Society Global Patient Advocacy Coalition (IHS-GPAC) was created to “understand and promote the global, regional, and local interests of people with recurrent headache disorders”2. Given the significant impact of migraine during people’s peak productive years, one of the priorities of the IHS-GPAC was to create a migraine at work fitness program to enhance awareness and disease education, empower employees to seek treatment, reduce stigma, and ensure access to support and care3.

The IHS-GPAC has collaborated with Fujitsu, one of the largest information technologies (IT) companies in Japan. This project has an emphasis on migraine awareness, education, and employee support. Fujitsu and the IHS-GPAC developed and implemented training programs for employees globally in the workplace to promote awareness and treatment of headache disorders, as well as prevention programs for employees who have headache disorders. Fujitsu’s efforts were recognized by the IHS-GPAC, and a certificate of excellence was awarded on March 2, 2022, as a model case of corporate measures to support employees living with headache disorders4.

IHS-GPAC Awarded Fujitsu Project

The CEO of Fujitsu reported in his bulletin on the company’s Headache Project:

“Since 2018, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the International Headache Society, and the Japanese Headache Society, Fujitsu has conducted employee surveys on the degree to which chronic headaches interfere with work in the workplace. As a result, we learned that 85% of employees were aware of having headaches, of which 84% had never been treated. The knowledge prompted us to start the Fujitsu Headache Project in 2019. To date, 73,000 employees in Japan have completed an e-Learning module that is designed to improve understanding of headaches, the impact they have on our lives, and how to deal with them. In addition, in cooperation with Fujitsu Clinic, we started a headache counseling program run by specialists for employees and their families. In recognition of these initiatives, on March 2 the Global Patient Advocacy Coalition of the International Headache Society named Fujitsu as “a world leader” in migraine workplace awareness, education, and employee support programs. Fujitsu is the first corporation in the world to be designated as a leader in this way.

What is most important in dealing with headaches is raising everyone’s awareness of headaches and getting them to think about headaches as an issue that may affect them. For people who suffer from headaches, it is important for them to learn and put into practice appropriate ways of dealing with headaches, and for people who do not suffer from headaches, it is important that they learn the true facts about headaches and support their colleagues who suffer from them.

In Japan, already over 90% of employees have taken part in Fujitsu’s headache education e-Learning program, and we also want to promote a better understanding of headaches to our employees outside of Japan, as well.”

One of the typical examples who received benefit from the project was a woman with chronic migraine whose work productivity was negatively affected by migraine, yet she was patient and diligent. Since she has been receiving migraine treatment through the headache clinic, the negative impact of migraine on her functioning and quality of life decreased to 10% to 20% of the pretreatment. Her senior colleagues congratulated her success in regaining healthy work.

The leadership demonstrated by Fujitsu serves as a model to emulate and will guide future IHS-GPAC activities. We will continue our effort to implement the migraine fitness at work program in other companies throughout Japan and around the world. •



  1. Shimizu T, Sakai F, Miyake H, Sone T, Sato M, Tanabe S, et al. Disability, quality of life, productivity impairment and employer costs of migraine in the workplace. J Headache Pain. 2021 Apr 21;22(1):29.
  2. Dodick D, Edvinsson L, Makino T, Grisold W, Sakai F, Jensen R, et al. Vancouver Declaration on Global Headache Patient Advocacy 2018. Cephalalgia. 2018 Nov;38(13):1899–909.
  3. Dodick DW, Ashina M, Sakai F, Grisold W, Miyake H, Henscheid-Lorenz D, et al. Vancouver Declaration II on Global Headache Patient Advocacy 2019. Cephalalgia. 2020 Sep;40(10):1017–25.
  4. Fujitsu Honored by the International Headache Society – Global Patient Advocacy Coalition as a World Leader in Migraine Workplace Awareness, Education, and Employee Support Programs [Internet]. Fujitsu Global. [cited 2022 Mar 19]. Available from:

Note: The WFN has no financial relationship or any other conflicting interests with Fujitsu.