Program Notes: New and Expanded Educational Programs Slated for this Fall
By Peter Damiri
Vice President of Programs and Services
As cooler temperatures finally begin to replace the oppressive summer heat, MSAA is very excited to resume our active fall schedule of free, in-person educational programs across the country. Organized and hosted by MSAA’s Regional Directors, our “fall lineup” includes several new series that will explore the areas of progression, employment, and nutrition, as well as expanded programming on popular topics that include care partnering and technology.
To begin, we are pleased to add a supportive series of educational programs around an important, and often under-discussed, topic. Titled “Understanding MS Progression,” the series will look to help explain the meaning behind an EDSS score, the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess progression, how relapse rates can affect progression, effective MS-symptom management, and strategies to help slow disease progression.
Also new this fall will be a national series addressing employment issues and MS. Titled “Understanding Your Rights as an Employee with MS,” discussions will center on workplace accommodations and protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), options related to disclosure and career changes, and details on re-entering the workforce via vocational rehabilitation and Social Security’s voluntary “Ticket to Work” program.
“The information that is available at MSAA educational programs for people with MS and their spouse/caregiver is invaluable,” noted MS activist Jim from Orange County, California. “As a leader of the MS Brea Connection Group, I always recommend that people attend these programs, learn from the guest speakers, and about MSAA. It’s one more opportunity to get out and about, be social, ask questions, and get answers from the doctors who treat us and help us.”
With a growing interest to expand wellness topics into our programming, MSAA is excited to launch a new series on nutrition and MS. “Nutrition and Multiple Sclerosis: The Newest Information on Nutrition, and How It Can Help to Better Manage Your MS,” will focus on the latest innovations in the field of nutrition, utilizing the most up-to-date thinking from experts in the field. A specially developed curriculum will be presented by a nutrition expert and MS neurologist. The presenting speakers will provide an overview on research demonstrating the importance of managing nutrition to achieve overall high quality of life and developing practical, workable ways to include healthy nutrition in everyday living.
Based on the popularity and success of programs conducted earlier this year, MSAA is thrilled to expand coverage around several key topic areas, including care partners as well as technology. Our expanded care-partner series, “Taking Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Others,” examines the challenges faced within the patient and care-partner relationship paradigm, from tackling care-partner burnout, to intimacy and social issues. Important topics presented in this program include managing stress in a changing environment, adapting new methods of time management that include personal time, understanding intimacy and progressive disability, as well as identifying resources available to the care partner.
Also this fall, MSAA looks forward to continuing another very well-received series on technology and MS titled “What Have I Missed? The Newest Innovative Technologies, Tools, and Strategies to Help Better Manage Your MS.” With expanded content this fall, this series will present the latest innovative, technological advances and health-management tools that can be used to better manage MS and improve overall adherence and wellness. Topics explored include cognitive re-training tools, MS patient apps (including MSAA’s “My MS Manager™”), fitness tracking tools, assistive walking devices, and more.
While MSAA is very excited to spotlight several of these new and expanded series, please know there are many additional programs occurring throughout the year. We encourage you to visit mymsaa.org/calendar to see the full and updated listing of MSAA’s educational programs and also register to attend one or more of these insightful and worthwhile events. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call MSAA at (800) 532-7667, ext. 154.
We are sad to share the news of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Becky Remington. Becky was MSAA’s South-Central Regional Director since 2007 and conducted countless educational programs for the MS community. Becky was greatly admired for her commitment to helping those affected by MS and served as an inspiration to many. With her positive outlook and extraordinary dedication to serving the MS community, Becky worked tirelessly to improve the lives of MS clients and their families across her vast 11-state region and beyond. Her smile and compassion will be well remembered and cherished by all.