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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Summer/Fall 2010 > Program Notes

Program Notes

MSA to MSAA: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Old Photo of Multiple Sclerosis Association (MSA)

In looking back 40 years to the summer of 1970, the cost of a new home was $26,000, a gallon of gas was 36 cents, and a first-class stamp was just over a nickel. Also in 1970, Richard Nixon was president, America tuned in to see "Here's Lucy" and "The Mod Squad," while top hits included new releases from The Four Tops, Elvis Presley and The Partridge Family. Certainly times have changed! But what has not changed is MSAA's commitment to enriching the quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

Founded 40 years ago by a woman with multiple sclerosis and her husband in a small southern New Jersey community, the then named "Multiple Sclerosis Association" (MSA) was an active, grassroots organization that provided direct services to local MS patients in the Philadelphia region. During the next two decades, MSA developed a highly successful core of services such as Equipment Distribution, a toll-free Helpline and public education programs.

As the need for these services grew, MSA expanded nationally and brought its unique brand of compassionate care and tangible services to many more MS patients across the country. In 1988, MSA incorporated "of America" into its name, reflecting this expansion. The organization now began delivering vital services to the MS community throughout the nation while increasing MS awareness, visibility and education.

MSAA marched into the 1990's, forging a historic partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In working with NASA scientists and several prominent MS centers, MSAA helped advance the study of microclimate cooling and multiple sclerosis. These studies proved the positive effects of cooling on MS patients and ushered in a new national initiative for the organization: MSAA's Cooling Program.

As the world prepared to enter a new millennium, MSAA's board and staff also looked eagerly to the future and took significant strides to enhance the organization as a leader in the MS community.With the national expansion of its board of directors and a new executive management team led by current MSAA President and CEO Doug Franklin, MSAA refocused its efforts, expanded the size, scope and breadth of its programs and services nationwide, and embarked on its most successful period of its 40-year history.

The development of positive, working relationships with the leaders of the MS medical community, corporate partners and fellow MS service organizations allowed MSAA to flourish during the 2000s. One of the many highlights is the creation and continuous expansion of the MRI Institute, a program that has assisted people with MS in acquiring nearly 4,000 MRI scans. Other highlights include the publication of numerous brochures, booklets and multiple issues of MSAA's magazine, The Motivator, along with the development of an extensive on-demand video library, and the creation of a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate website. MSAA's publications, video library and website have all been honored with top awards in the field of health-related communications.

Additional MSAA accomplishments include: the formation of new regional offices with increased localized services; a professional staff of Helpline consultants with a highly effective resource database to offer assistance; the distribution of tens of thousands of mobility, safety and cooling products; the expansion of the Lending Library, Networking and other programs introduced to better serve the MS community. All of these services have been provided free of charge through the generous donations of our loyal supporters and corporate partners.

Until a cure is found, we are very honored and proud to continue our mission of serving individuals with MS and their families. As we begin the next decade in this millennium, MSAA remains committed to reaching more people in more places than ever before through the expansion of technology, social media and other channels.We are also committed to developing additional programs and services that further enrich the quality of life for everyone affected by MS.

As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you and allowing us to be a part of your life. To learn more about the full array of MSAA programs and services, please call (800) 532-7667 or visit www.mymsaa.org.

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 12:33