Stanford Headache and Facial Pain Program Team

Niushen Zhang, MD, FAHS
Division Chief, Headache
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Zhang is a board-certified neurologist and Chief of the Headache Division in the Department of Neurology. She has a special interest in developing personalized treatment plans for headache patients which incorporate the use of complementary and integrative medicine. She is the Chair of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Special Interest Section of the American Headache Society (AHS). Her research interests include acupuncture for the treatment of migraine, the impact of diet and nutrition on migraine, and the relationship between cannabis use and medication overuse headache in people with chronic migraine. In addition, she participates in clinical trials of new headache treatments for migraine and cluster headache. Dr. Zhang is also actively involved in medical education. She is the Director of the Headache Fellowship Program at Stanford. She serves as a member of the AHS Match Task Force and the AHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. She is also a curriculum developer for AHS's REACH Program. She spearheaded the design and creation of the AHS National Headache Fellowship Opportunities website which serves as a central resource for all headache fellowship applicants and promotes the AAN's unified fellowship application timeline.

Dr. Zhang graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. She earned an MD from the New York University School of Medicine. She completed neurology residency and fellowship in headache and facial pain at Stanford University.

Meredith Barad, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Anesthesia

Dr. Meredith Barad is a Clinical Associate Professor, Anesthesia (Pain Management) and Neurology and Neurological Sciences, at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. She is also co-Director of the Facial Pain Program. She is also the Program Director of the Pain Fellowship.  Her current clinical research involves the treatment of headache and facial pain in the context of concurrent chronic pain. 

Dr. Barad attended Stanford University Medical School and completed her residency at Stanford Hospital and Clinics where she was Chief Resident of Neurology. She is board certified in the areas of Neurology, Pain Medicine and Headache Medicine and holds memberships with the American Academy of Neurology, American Headache Society, and the American Academy of Pain Medicine where she is the chair of the Headache and Orofacial Pain Special Interest Group. She is on the board of the American Interventional Headache Society. She is a director-at-Large of the American Pain Program Directors and on the Editorial Board of Pain Medicine.  

Robert P. Cowan, MD, FAAN, FAHS
Higgins Family Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Robert Cowan is Higgins Family Professor of Neurology and Director of the Headache Research Program at Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford he was the founding medical director of the Keeler Center for the Study of Headache (Ojai, CA) and senior clinical research scientist in molecular neurobiology at Huntington Medical Research Institutes (Pasadena, CA). Prior to that he founded and directed the Headache program at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine.

Dr. Cowan attended University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, completed a residency program at USC Department of Neurology and served on faculty there until 2000. He is Board Certified in the areas of: Psychiatry and Neurology and Pain Medicine. He also holds subspecialty certification in Headache Medicine.  Dr. Cowan is widely published in various scientific journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Cephalalgia, and Headache. In addition, Dr. Cowan has held several nationally elected positions, including chair of the section on Chronic Daily Headache for the American Headache Society. He is past-President of the Headache Cooperative of the Pacific, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society.  He sits on the boards of the Alliance for Headache Diseases Advocacy and the Headache Cooperative of the Pacific. He is an ad hoc reviewer for a variety of journals, and an active mentor in the Stanford BioDesign Program.

Addie Peretz, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Addie Peretz, MD, is a board certified Neurologist and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences. Her clinical interests focus on the diagnosis and treatment of headache and facial pain conditions. She is involved in medical education and received the Robert S. Fisher Teaching Award for excellence in neurology resident teaching of medical students at Stanford in June of 2015. Her research interests include understanding the biological underpinnings of migraine and chronic daily headaches. She also participates in clinical trials of new headache treatments. She is currently a member of the American Headache Society as well as the International Headache Society.

Dr. Peretz received her bachelor's degree in Neuroscience at Brown University and earned her medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine. She completed her internship at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, DC, followed by residency in Neurology and fellowship in Headache and Facial Pain, both at Stanford University.

Liza Smirnoff, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Dr. Smirnoff is a fellowship-trained board-certified neurologist who specializes in comprehensive neurology and in the management of chronic and atypical headaches. She completed her MD at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, her Neurology training at University of Southern California and Headache training at Stanford University. Dr. Smirnoff’s passion for a strong patient-physician relationship as well as her research shapes her clinical practice. She develops a personalized care plan for each patient that is designed to achieve symptom relief and improved quality of life. She is dedicated to the education of the next generation of doctors from undergraduates to residents and fellows, in both Neurology and patient-centered care. 

She was an investigator in a study of the safety and efficacy of a migraine treatment during pregnancy and has made presentations on topics such as emerging therapies for the management of migraine and cluster headache. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Neurology, and other publications. She is a member of the American Headache Society, International Headache Society, and American Academy of Neurology. She has served as a peer reviewer for the American Headache Society. For the American Academy of Neurology, Dr. Smirnoff has served on the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Committee and the Women’s Health Committee.


Leon Moskatel, MD
Clinical Instructor, Neurology & Neurological  Sciences

Dr. Leon Moskatel completed Headache Fellowship at Stanford before joining as a Clinical Instructor. He is trained in Internal Medicine and is excited to bring that perspective to Headache Medicine. He obtained his Bachelor of the Arts from Columbia University and his medical degree at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. During that time, he also researched organic chemistry and microbial metabolism at the California Institute in Technology. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, where he served as president of the Residency Advisory Committee. His research interests focus on the overlap between health economics and headache medicine. His 2019 paper “Did UberX reduce ambulance volume?” received national attention and he received the American Headache Society's 2020 "Frontiers in Headache Research" award.


Jake Van Orman, MD

Jake Van Orman will join the Stanford Headache Medicine fellowship after completing a categorical neurology residency at the San Antonio Uniformed Service Health Education Consortium (SAUSHEC) in San Antonio, TX where he served as chief resident in his final year. Prior, he obtained both a BS and MD from the University of California, Riverside. He currently serves as a Medical Corp Captain in the US Air Force with research and clinical experience addressing traumatic brain injury, headaches, and epilepsy in US servicemembers and retirees. He intends to use his training at Stanford to enhance the quality and delivery of headache care throughout the Department of Defense.

Kendra Pham, MD, MPH

Kendra Pham is a Headache Medicine fellow at Stanford. Prior to fellowship, she completed her residency in Adult Neurology at the University of Utah, where she also completed medical school, received her Master of Public Health and completed her undergraduate studies in exercise physiology.  Her research interests are in procedural treatments for headache and mental health aspects of headache.  She enjoys going on outdoor adventures with her husband and daughter in her free time.

David Walker, MD

David Walker is one of our current Stanford Headache Medicine fellows. He graduated medical school and completed both his internship and Neurology residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where he served as the program’s Wellness Chief during his final year. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with a minor in Neuroscience at Carleton College in Minnesota. He believes in a multifaceted approach to treating headache pain, tailoring pharmacological and complementary therapies to create optimal treatment plans that align with each patient’s goals. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a particular interest of his.


Carol A. Barch, MN, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner IV

Carol received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Wayne State University, and a master's and post-master's nursing degree from Emory University.  She is a board-certified family nurse practitioner, has received national specialty certification in critical care nursing and neuroscience nursing, and added Qualification in Headache Medicine.  

Carol has been nationally recognized for her work in cerebrovascular disease.  However over the past 10 years, her focus has been on headache medicine.  She has presented at local, national, and international programs, published multiple articles and an active member of the American Headache Society. 

As a nurse practitioner on the team, she provides follow-up care to patients working to meet their goals in medication and lifestyle management for headache and facial pain. Her areas of interest include integrative medicine and patient education.


Michelle Krzanich, SCPM

Michelle received her bachelors in Public Relations, with a minor in Sociology, from San Jose State University. She is a Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM) and has been working in the Stanford umbrella since 2013. She started with the School of Engineering and then moved to the School of Medicine. As of May 2018, she joined the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford Neurosciences Health Center.