Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MS 101 Briefing Raises Awareness and Educates Capitol Hill

On Monday, June 14th, the National MS Society's Public Policy Office hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill entitled "MS 101." The briefing is part of an ongoing effort to educate federal lawmakers and Congressional staff about multiple sclerosis, its impact on the more than 400,000 Americans living with MS, and key policy initiatives that could improve the lives of people living with MS.

Sponsored by Co-Chairs of the Congressional MS Caucus in the House Congressmen Russ Carnahan (MO-3) and Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), the briefing was kicked off by Congressman Burgess who shared with the audience his personal experiences as a physician, his interactions with patients living with MS and the importance of meeting their unmet needs. Dr. Tim Coetzee, Executive Director of Fast Forward, provided an overview of MS including symptoms, prevalence, potential causes, effective treatments, and drug innovation.

Rob Engel, an engaged volunteer with the National Capital Chapter, then offered a vital perspective as a person living with MS. Mr. Engel concluded by detailing important steps Congress can take including providing $15 million for MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), providing full funding for the Lifepan Respite Care program, and cosponsoring the National MS and Parkinson's Disease Registries Act (H.R. 1362/S. 1273).

The briefing was attended by over 30 Congressional offices and served as an important awareness-building and educational forum.

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