beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Carolyn Bernstein, MD

Dr. Bernstein, Clinical Director, with a patient

"My goal is to create a powerful partnership with my patients, help them understand their bodies and take control of their health.

My most important role as a physician is to be a good listener and clear thinker. I pay close attention to what my patients say-their stories and about their lives--and I think creatively, scientifically, and sympathetically.

Together, we create a personalized, realistic treatment plan. As a physician, I am in a unique position to help my patients live happier, healthier lives."


Carolyn Bernstein, MD, our Clinical Director, is a neurologist specializing in headache medicine in the Departments of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and Neurology at BIDMC. She is also an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Bernstein joined BIDMC in 2009, after 18 years as a staff neurologist and Founder and Director of the Women's Headache Center at Cambridge Health Alliance. A graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, she interned at Boston City Hospital. She did her postgraduate training at Boston City Hospital and New England Medical Center. Dr. Bernstein is board certified in neurology and headache medicine.

Early in her career as a neurologist, Dr. Bernstein was surprised to discover a real lack of solid medical data about migraines. That void, combined with the medical field's dismissiveness of headaches, made her decide to specialize in headache medicine, treat the many misunderstood and suffering patients and help find answers to the countless questions.

Professional Achievements

The meaningful awards she has received reflect Dr. Bernstein's success as an empathetic, compassionate physician. These awards include the National Headache Healthcare Provider of the Year, and the Leonard Tow award for Humanism in Medicine given by Harvard Medical School and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, both in 2007. As the Cambridge Health Alliance Neurology Clerkship Director for the Harvard Medical School Cambridge Integrated Clerkship, she received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.

Dr. Bernstein is the author of The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health (Free Press 2008).

Clinical and Research Interests

Her clinical interests include headache and migraine, hormonal headaches and women's issues in neurology. In the research area, her interests include PTSD and migraine disability, hormonal headaches and integrative therapies for headaches.

Contact Information

Comprehensive Headache Center
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
One Brookline Place, Suite 621
Brookline, MA 02445
Phone: 617-278-8080
Fax: 617-278-8099