Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Collaboration is the Key to Improving the Lives of People with MS

Merriam-Webster’s definition of collaboration is “To work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.” That’s certainly true for the work being done by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC). 



Last week at CMSC’s “Forum for Collaboration” I listened to a jam-packed room of passionate, goal-oriented and gifted people discuss how their work will help those affected by Multiple Sclerosis.


As each CMSC member and industry sponsor introduced themselves I learned what an enormous amount of work was being done to help the MS community. Here’s a snippet of what was covered at the meeting so you can learn more too:

Approach: CMSC is all about the multidisciplinary team approach that’s vital to MS care. See the slide below:


Therapies: A brief discussion was devoted to ICER (Institute for Clinical and Economic Review) and the responses regarding their review of disease-modifying therapies.

Achievements of CMSC and the Foundation of the Consortium of MS Centers (FCMSC):

There was an 11% increase in membership in 2016 as well as a network of over 12,000 healthcare professionals.

collaborationProjects: There are many collaborative projects with other MS organizations that include educational programming with The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and co-sponsoring research updates with Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.


Advocacy: CMSC plays a key role in advocacy efforts as a founding member of the MS Coalition (check out their site to learn more about the Coalition!)


Training: A new special interest group was created through CMSC called Professionals in Training (PIT) that supports and fosters expanded MS training for healthcare professionals.


Funding: CMSC is dedicated to funding various scholarships, fellowships and mentorships to ensure the future of MS care.

CMSC also funded many research projects such as anorectal dysfunction in MS, social cognition in progressive MS, functional electrical stimulation cycling in MS and a pilot randomized control trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for treatment of pain perception in MS.

Education: CMSC provided hours of educational programming that included webinars, monographs, meetings and live webinars.

Mental Health in MS: With mental health finally garnering the media attention it deserves it should be noted that CMSC was already active by providing mental health professionals with a special interest in MS access to “valuable clinical resources and network with one another.” Click here to learn more about the International Organization of Mental Health Professionals (MS/MHP).

I was happy to speak with Chris Comish, Founder of BioNews Services, a phenomenal health, science and research website that offers comprehensive on-site news coverage for biotech conferences. I’ve come to rely on their Multiple Sclerosis News Today site in my own daily research for their reliably accurate information and simple interpretations of medical jargon for the non-medical reader. They cater to serving the MS community and for that I am grateful.

I also had an opportunity to network with attendees from pharmaceutical companies to discuss the ways they’re using patients’ voices to better serve our community. As I wrote earlier this year in The Huffington Post, the patient voice is creating positive change for the MS community. Our voices need to be heard.

The collaboration at CMSC filled me with renewed hope that better things are in store for us. In the unpredictable world of MS, where we don’t know how we’ll feel day-to-day or what surprises might be around the corner I believe the dedication of this group of people will bring us some light that we deserve. 

NOTE: All slides are courtesy of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. To find out more about them and their programs please click here.




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17 thoughts on “Collaboration is the Key to Improving the Lives of People with MS

  1. Tina Frisco

    Excellent post, Cathy. As an RN, I’m happy to see ‘Nurse clinician’ at the top of the Multi-Disciplinary Team Approach – whether or not it was intentional. In my experience, the nurse is often the hub of the wheel. You are an inspiration! Shared across my pages…

    1. Post author


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love nurses! I’ve written about them before because they’ve saved my life over and over again. Me and countless others. So thank you for all you do. Collaboration is what it’s all about!

      Best to you always~

  2. Sharon Greenthal

    I know how hard you’ve been working for the MS community and you continue to expand your knowledge and your connections all the time! In dealing with my own health issues, I have come to understand how frustrating it is to go from doctor to doctor and get no answers, and I am sure a collaborative team would be much more helpful.

    1. Post author


      I hope your health issues are resolved and that you find the medical or holistic care you need. Thank you for your kind words about my work for and with the MS community. It is my mission to do all I can for them.

      Best always~

  3. Tina Trott

    I am with you!! I always feel so energized after a meeting with the CMSC Board of Governors, partners and sponsors! Thank you for posting Cathy!

  4. Helene Cohen Bludman

    As they say, it takes a village .. with almost everything. Telling your own personal story as well as sharing the research from the field provides such an amazing resource to the MS community. You have helped so many!

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