By Douglas G. Franklin, MSAA President and CEO
The upcoming months will be a busy time at MSAA. Among the many events is MS Awareness Month in March – a time when the needs of the MS community, along with the services and programs available, receive national attention. In April and May (respectively), MSAA will participate in the annual meetings of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC). MSAA is both an exhibitor and attendee of these important conferences. Additionally, a number of educational programs and events are planned throughout MSAA's six regions nationwide.
I am also excited about the work we are doing right now toward reaching more people with our educational information. MSAA has taken the opportunity in this issue of The Motivator to solicit your feedback in this vital area of service. A survey is featured in "Program Notes" (on page 29), asking how you would like to receive information from MSAA, and what topics are of greatest interest to you. Technology today affords us so many ways to provide information, and we are sincere in our efforts to be as flexible as possible. This includes our aim to have more publications available electronically, as well as to provide you with more online programming. I look forward to hearing from everyone who would like to take part in this important survey.
MSAA's second Board meeting of the fiscal year was held in January, and this meeting focused on technology as well. The Board members spent time "behind the scenes" of MSAA's virtual programming, to see firsthand the highlights of the MSi video educational program, as well as the many new interactive features of MSAA's website. The Board members showed much enthusiasm for this new technology and how these advances are helping MSAA bring more services to more people.
Also in January, a teleconference was held for the members of the MS Coalition. This presented an opportunity to look at gaps in services, see who is helping where, and allow us to coordinate services more effectively. Our goal is to avoid duplication of services, while making sure that no one is missed. We are still going through the process of developing a better degree of coordination, aiming toward the MS Coalition's theme of "One Team, One Dream." Members of the Coalition are actively planning a workshop for the CMSC conference scheduled for May in Denver, Colorado. The workshop will focus on advocacy, which ties in with the presidential election year.
MS Awareness Month in March was another area of discussion during the MS Coalition's teleconference, noting the activities that we each have planned and how we should promote them together. Recognizing those with MS is important at all times, but March is the month to unite in working with the media to highlight activities and bring as much attention as possible to the urgent needs of individuals with MS. As always, please be sure to check MSAA's website (support.mymsaa.org/calendar) for a listing of planned educational events and activities for the MS community, not only in March, but throughout the year.
On the topic of collaboration, MSAA and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) are co-hosting a conference on primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), sponsored by a grant from Genentech. Scheduled for Dallas, Texas in early February (during the printing of this publication), the conference features seasoned experts in the field of MS and aims to gain a better understanding of the experiences and needs of those affected by PPMS, including patients, families, and healthcare providers. Individuals with PPMS are often referred to as the "neglected population;" however, hope is on the horizon for new research and treatments in the coming years.
In other news, MSAA's public education program on MS drug therapies is moving right along as two TV public service announcements (PSAs) have been distributed and viewed in five major United States' cities, many of which being aired in prime time. A plan is in place to expand this program to other cities as well as include radio PSAs and billboard placements. A new MSAA brochure, Taking Steps to Feel Your Best, explains the importance of beginning and maintaining an MS treatment with one of the six, FDA-approved drug therapies. The brochure will be circulated through doctors' offices and MS centers. Along with the AAN, MSAA supports the idea that people with the most common forms of MS should be on a disease-modifying therapy to slow disease activity and to minimize exacerbations. As a neutral charity, we are free of bias – as we are not selling any drug – but we are dealing with people's inhibitions. These are good therapies, and they work, but only if taken. Please take the time to visit MSAA's website (www.mymsaa.org) to view the PSAs and read the brochure.
On a special note, MSAA's Board meeting in September was the first Board meeting in six years without former Board member Francisco Ramirez. During his time with the Board, "Pancho" shared his Board experience with the Maryland Society for Nonprofits and helped MSAA become a charity second to none in proper governance procedures. He had no connection to MS – just a biding interest in helping others – and during his tenure, he became what other Board members referred to as "the conscience of the organization!" Thank you Pancho! We will miss you!
Doug Franklin joined MSAA as President & CEO in 1999. He has a distinguished career in association leadership and is a former national trainer in strategic planning for the Peter Drucker Foundation. A published international expert in the field of social marketing, he is a graduate of four universities. He currently serves: on the National Board of the Key Philanthropic Organizations Committee of the American Society of Association Executives; on the Executive Committee of Health First -- America's Charities Board in Washington, DC; and as president of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition.
|Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 10:58|