Up Front: Another Successful Year in Improving Lives Today!

Photo of Gina Ross Murdoch
Gina Ross Murdoch

By Gina Ross Murdoch
MSAA President and CEO

With our previous fiscal year wrapping up in the summer, I am excited to share some of MSAA’s highlights that occurred. I am very happy to announce that we had another successful year in Improving Lives Today for the entire MS community, by providing a record number of programs and services.

I’m also happy to note that our “Navigating MS” global shared decision-making initiative moved into phase two. This part of the project compiled and reviewed survey feedback from the United States, Europe, and Australia. We asked healthcare providers, nurses, and patients to discuss their experiences in having honest and open conversations about the progression of multiple sclerosis – conversations that are occurring between patients and healthcare providers. We also asked these healthcare professionals whom they feel the patients are the most comfortable with in having those conversations. In addition, we reviewed tools from all over the world for improving both sides of that conversation.

The next steps will be focused on creating tools to help foster more substantive, collabo-rative, and informed conversations about treatment decisions. The Navigating MS project will have a profound impact on conversations here in the United States and across the globe. MSAA is proud to be a proactive leader in the MS community in focusing on the importance of shared decision making.

In addition, we are excited to have the robust feedback from our needs assessment survey. This survey is a follow-up to our needs assessment conducted in 2012. Our true thanks and appreciation to everyone who completed the surveys. Your responses, comments, and perspectives are critical in how we approach and prioritize our upcoming strategic plan. This information is our guide to ensure we are doing all that we can to Improve Lives Today and plan for tomorrow.

Another exciting announcement is with the expansion of our MSAA Board. We are honored to have Dr. Lilyana Amezcua and Mr. David Herzog join as our newest members. Dr. Amezcua is a multiple sclerosis specialist at the University of Southern California. Her research is focused on collaborating with basic researchers in the field of immunology, employing new imaging techniques to assess disease progression, as well as defining racial disparities that may exist within the multiple sclerosis population. Dr. Amezcua currently serves as co-investigator to several clinical trials within the MS department.

Mr. Herzog, who comes to us from St. Louis, retired from AIG in April 2016 after more than seven years as the Group Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Herzog serves on several national and international Boards of Directors, in the fields of finance and insurance. Welcome Lilyana and David!

As much as we are pleased and honored to welcome these new members to our MSAA family, I must also acknowledge our loss of Robert Rapp, former chief operating officer for MSAA, in July of this year. Bob was an integral part of MSAA for more than 16 years. Bob’s dedication to MSAA, his kindness toward everyone he worked with, and his passionate care for people affected by multiple sclerosis made him a unique individual that you would be honored to know. He cared deeply about our mission and infused all of our work with a sense of purpose. Bob’s passing is a true loss for the MS community, but his spirt and legacy are evident in every part of MSAA. We are thankful to have called him our friend.

Gina Ross Murdoch is a seasoned executive in non-profit management. Her career includes leadership positions with chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the American Diabetes Association. Earlier, she spent 14 years overseeing development activities at a large chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, leading explosive growth initiatives and ground-breaking strategic projects. An active member of the community, Ms. Murdoch has held several town positions and volunteers for her college alma mater, Drew University.