I had the opportunity to moderate MS education programs recently, sponsored by the OhioHealth MS Clinic. I am a patient at this clinic and enjoyed being able to share my experiences as well as talk about ways we can get involved with our own MS care. I opened the program with my presentation on patient empowerment and shared ways people can be proactive with their health needs.
The program included talks from members of the OhioHealth MS Clinic team of physical therapists, occupational therapist, social worker, incontinence therapist and of course Drs. Jacqueline Nicholas and Aaron Boster. Dr. Nicholas talked about Women’s Issues in MS, with a focus on pregnancy and how women have a different course of MS than men. Dr. Boster presented How MS is Like a Leaky Swimming Pool, incorporating a newer theory from Dr. Stephen Krieger on how MS might be different than previously thought.
These programs are a new presentation offering from MS Views and News – they coordinated the details for the program (venue, reservations, meals, etc) and OhioHealth decided on the speakers and program content. OhioHealth was the financial sponsor of the program. No pharmaceutical industry dollars supported the program, but there was a small display area and the various companies were invited to participate and share their information in an exhibit area separate from the speaking venue.
A key point that was not just talked about, but demonstrated at these talks is OhioHealth has established a comprehensive MS care center. What might that mean? All the services we might possibly need as a person with MS are located at their center meaning we don’t have to travel to different sites for services – this includes:
- Neurologists who specialize in MS
- Infusion clinic staff, specifically trained for MS
- Physical, occupational and speech therapists
- Social worker knowledgeable on accessing services
- Wheelchair/equipment fitting and repair workshop
- Patient events on site
- And more that I am overlooking
There were speakers from these areas and others who came to observe and also to support the programs. Even Tisha, who handles the paperwork for patient assistance programs, came the second night to be a part of the team. Even if they weren’t on the stage speaking, the team presence was in the room.
I am waiting to hear the results from the participant surveys that were distributed at each program, and how these programs may be improved. It was an honor to be a part of this program and I hope the participants went home with new information and accepted the challenge to be engaged with their providers and with my favorite project iConquerMS™.
Congratulations go out to Stuart Schlossman and the MS Views & News organization for facilitating a great program, and offering their services to clinics such as OhioHealth. I hope other agencies will see the value in having the details of MS education programs handled by this group.
The program was presented on two nights at locations north and south of Columbus; there will be additional MS education programs sponsored by OhioHealth MS Center in locations west and east of the city in October 2016. OhioHealth MS Clinic staff is forward thinking, wants to include more for the people they serve and deserve recognition for this great step in education all of us.