MS Association of America Opens COVID-19 Webinars, Other Resources to Community

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by Vanessa Pataia |

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is opening its resources to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) during COVID-19, including a webinar series on the pandemic and easier access to its support programs, the association announced.

MSAA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of people with MS through services and support. In light of the current pandemic, the group streaming a webinar series called “What You Need to Know About COVID-19 and MS,” that addresses how this virus can affect people with the disease, and helpful updates like using MS therapies during COVID-19, what to do if diagnosed with it, and how best to travel. 

Four programs in the webinar series are available so far via this link, featuring Barry Hendin, MD, MSAA’s chief medical officer, and Carrie Hersh, DO, MSc, MSAA’s healthcare advisory council chair. The fifth program will be streamed on Monday, June 8.

One MSAA webinar addressed the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S, especially the African-American and Hispanic communities. It featured Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, a neurologist with expertise in MS, discussing health disparities in the MS community.

MSAA also offers a MRI Access Fund to help individuals who qualify get necessary scans, and runs cooling and assistive equipment distribution programs to support qualified MS patients who are sensitive to hotter temperatures or need help with mobility in daily life.

Access to these programs require that a patient’s income, as reported on an applicant’s most recently filed income tax form,  meet the group’s eligibility limits. However, in recognition of the financial crisis many families are experiencing under the pandemic, the MSAA has added a COVID-19 economic hardship statement to all three programs. 

For some programs, certain application documents are also now optional if individuals cannot reach their physician due to stay-at-home restrictions.

MSAA also provides a toll-free helpline and chat service that allows people with MS, their family members, care partners, and friends to speak directly with one of MSAA’s service specialists, who have a background in social services and/or counseling. 

Another resource offered by MSAA is the My MSAA Community, a free, peer-to-peer online forum for people with MS, their families, and care partners to connect and share information, stories, and experiences. 

More information about free MSAA resources related to COVID-19 can be found here.

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