MS, Spinal Injuries Highlighted at Paralyzed Veterans of America Summit

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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Paralyzed Veterans of America recently held its annual health conference, called 2016 Summit + EXPO, focused on the latest research and discoveries in patient care for diseases that span multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury or disease to  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

This year was the sixth such summit, held Aug. 30–Sept. 1 in Orlando, Florida, and brought together 840 healthcare professionals from different disciplines to learn more about the scientific advances, and treatments and therapies in these disease areas of concern to U.S. veterans.

“Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only veterans’ organization to host a health summit of this kind and we are very proud of that,” said Lana McKenzie, the group’s associate executive director of Medical Services and Health Policy, in a news release. “Our goal is to ensure that health care providers who work in specialty care fields such as spinal cord injury and disease have the most up-to-date information in research and best practices so they can bring that information back to their respective hospitals and immediately put it to use to improve the care of their patients.”

More than 23 E-learning posters and 75 sessions were showcased at the event, with attendees having the opportunity to earn up to 23 Continuing Education Units while hearing from medical, policy and government experts.

Dr. David Shulkin, undersecretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, gave the keynote address.

Since its founding almost 70 years ago, Paralyzed Veterans has worked to ensure the quality healthcare for veterans with spinal injuries, and has expanded its commitment to serve all affected by spinal cord disease.

In 2013, the organization established the Advocacy/Clinical Excellence Awards to distinguish healthcare professionals who excel in professional achievement, and in contributions and advocacy for multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries or diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This year, the awards were given to Christopher Bever, MD, University of Maryland Medical Center (Physician Award); Susan Pejoro, RN, MSN, Palo Alto Health Care System (Nurse Award); Lisa Ottomanelli, PhD, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Center on Disability & Rehabilitation Research (Psychologist Award); and Jina Fritz, on behalf of Tony Chiari, PhD, MSPT, MHS (posthumously; Therapist Award).

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