Program Notes: New Resources Available from MSAA’s Successful MS Awareness Month Campaign

By Peter Damiri
Vice President of Programs and Services

As you may have recently seen, MSAA focused much-needed attention, education and resources on the topic of MS and the Family during our 2019 MS Awareness Month campaign. Activities during a busy March centered around two key and significant aspects that impact families living with MS: Relationships and Care Partner Needs.

Through the funding support of Sanofi Genzyme and EMD Serono, MSAA was proud to create new educational content and thoughtful conversations around helpful strategies to improve communication, strengthen Care Partner Needs, accept help when needed, obtain supportive resources, and more.

For those who were able to participate in our month-long series of program activities, MSAA greatly appreciates your engagement and we hope you gained valuable insights and useful information. If you were unable to connect with MSAA during these scheduled programs or would like to revisit the information presented, we are pleased to announce that our live webinars and podcasts have been archived on our website’s dedicated MS Awareness webpage for on-demand access. MSAA’s Ask Me Anything programs can be read on our My MSAA Community online forum at

For the topic of Relationships and MS, MSAA activities included:

  • A live webinar on “Intimacy and Family Planning with MS presented by licensed marriage and family therapist Kimberly Castelo, LMFT, CST, CIIP. In this one-hour program, Ms. Castelo addresses ways to understand MS as a couple; sexual dysfunction and intimacy issues; the effects of MS on family planning and treatment options; and effective strategies to improve communication, conflict resolution, and better health outcomes.
  • MSAA’s inaugural podcast, Exploring Relationships, presented by psychologist, social worker, certified guided imagery practitioner, and multiple sclerosis specialist Miriam Franco, MSW, PsyD, MSCS. Drawing upon her wealth of professional expertise, Dr. Franco discusses physical and mental fatigue, depression and anxiety, and how men and women communicate differently among many additional topics. The program also provides listeners with valuable insights to help spouses and couples living with MS address these issues and grow and strengthen their loving relationship.
  • The return of our very popular “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) live chat program hosted on MSAA’s online peer-to-peer forum, My MSAA Community. One week following her webinar, Ms. Castelo rejoined MSAA and continued the conversation on relationships and MS during this engaging question and answer session.

Photos of Kimbery Castelo (left) & Megan Weigel (right)
Marriage and family therapist Kimbery Castelo (left) hosted MSAA’s Intimacy and Family Planning with MS webinar.

MS nurse practitioner Megan Weigel (right) hosted MSAA’s The Partnership of Care: Redefining Caregiver to Care Partner webinar.

For the topic of Spotlighting Care Partner Needs, MSAA activities included:

  • The Partnership of Care: Redefining Caregiver to Care Partner” webinar conducted by MS nurse practitioner Megan Weigel, DNP, ARNP-c, MSCN. This well-presented webinar addresses the care partnership concept between MS couples and the family, the importance of good communication and the need to take care of yourself as a care partner.
  • Our Spotlighting Care Partner Needs podcast presented by licensed clinical social worker, therapist, and wellness educator Lara Krawchuk, MSW, LCSW, MPH. In this easy, conversational-style program, Ms. Krawchuk discusses the challenges associated with care partnering and steps couples can take to work together as a team, understand when to ask for and accept assistance, and how to build out a wide support system.
  • A live AMA chat program to further explore care partner needs featuring Ms. Krawchuk. This one-hour program, hosted on the My MSAA Community forum, touches on many real-life issues that impact everyone in the family.

MSAA would like to thank the above-mentioned presenters who provided a wealth of extremely helpful information and resources on these important topics, funders Sanofi Genzyme and EMD Serono, and all those who participated in the programs. We encourage everyone to view these archived programs by visiting