December 2013 Leader - Barbara Leonard - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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December 2013 Leader - Barbara Leonard

The National MS Society works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Arkansas and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.

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Barbara Leonard

Meet Barbara Leonard, Community Health Relations (CHR) Volunteer Coordinator and this month’s Leader in the Movement for South Central.

The CHR program, designed to strengthen our relationship with healthcare providers throughout the region, was implemented in 2010. Barbara was among the first group of volunteers to be trained as representatives of the MS Society and she dove right in, committing to 4 visits a year with a neurologist in her area.

She found she couldn’t stop there and quickly began reaching out to additional healthcare providers in New Mexico. As time went by, staff partner Gail Lindsey realized Barbara possessed both the skill and enthusiasm to assist with managing the program; when asked to do so, Barbara immediately agreed. Here is a sampling of her many contributions:
  • Serves as mentor to other CHR volunteers
  • Facilitates telephone trainings for volunteers joining the CHR team
  • Develops and shares quarterly newsletters (Making Connections) in an effort to keep CHR volunteers informed and motivated
  • Worked with programs staff to develop an online toolkit for healthcare professionals that includes links to our Clinical Care Network website
  • Developed “County Plans”; a strategic approach for reaching out online to healthcare professionals in rural and underserved areas across our region
  • Serves as liaison to UNM Brain & Behavioral Health Institute, a statewide resource dedicated to improving brain and behavioral health of New Mexicans across the lifespan through research, clinical service, and education
  • Co-presented with Dr. Burton from the University of New Mexico at a conference for healthcare professionals in Taos, NM
  • Co-leads the Access to MS Care Committee with Dr. Jesus Lovera which is a workgroup made up of Clinical Advisory Committee members interested in expanding access to quality MS care throughout the Region
  • Co-presented with MS Society staff at conferences in both Albuquerque and Los Alamos
  • Co-led Clinical Advisory Committee and operational planning discussions
  • Co-leads the Access to MS Care Committee with Dr. Jesus Lovera which is a workgroup made up of CAC members interested in expanding access to quality MS care throughout the Region

Barbara’s reach expands far beyond the New Mexico borders, educating, mentoring and leading volunteers from across the region. While her dedication is making a difference now, it will also help us realize our long-term vision of implementing MS Care Link, a program that will not only connect healthcare professionals to the Society, but to one another. She is a perfect example of a dedicated volunteer leading other volunteers to do great things!
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