Patricia Arlene Olson, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist who joined Indiana University School of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor of neurology in fall 2023.
Dr. Olson is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in headache medicine, with headache fellowship training from the Graham Headache Center at Mass General Brigham and Harvard Medical School. While at the Graham Headache Center, she was awarded the Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Migraine funded by Amgen, Inc. and the American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology. She received her adult neurology residency training from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine where she was chosen from over 900 GME trainees to receive the prestigious Saha Award for Patient-Centered Care in 2022.
In her headache clinic, she sees a wide range of headache disorders including migraine, cluster headache, trigeminal neuralgia, and post-concussive headache (among others) and has a particular interest in treating refractory headache disorders including refractory migraine. Dr. Olson is also a trained neuroscientist, earning her PhD at Northwestern University Department of Physiology as part of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (formerly the Institute of Neuroscience). Her doctoral research focused on dopamine modulation in the basal ganglia, which led to a collaboration with colleagues that yielded a publication in Science. Dr. Olson’s experience in researching neural networks and second-messenger systems informs her approach to and study of various headache conditions. Her interest in refractory migraine drives her research interests as well, specifically pertaining to the neural mechanisms involved in brain retraining programs and how treatment response to pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions can be applied to the understanding of chronic headache states.
Dr. Olson is an active member of the American Headache Society and is currently an assistant editor for the journal, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. She is also involved in advocacy for patients with headache disorders. In addition, Dr. Olson is a member of the IU School of Medicine Disability Accommodations Committee and has recently joined the IU School of Medicine Professional Learning Community Physician Mentor Program.
As a native Hoosier (who grew up in The Region), and as both an IU Bloomington (BS ’96) and an IU School of Medicine (MD ’18) alumna, Dr. Olson was very excited to return to Indiana upon completion of her training to work as a headache specialist and researcher at IU School of Medicine. When not in clinic or working on research projects, Dr. Olson can be found spending time with her husband either visiting their favorite coffeehouse in Bloomington or trying a new restaurant in Indianapolis. She also enjoys watching college football, texting with Bitmojis and crocheting.