Christopher Perrone was the June 2011 medical student fellow and has completed his first year at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Having served as a volunteer emergency medical technician and coordinating a weekly free clinic in Shrewsbury, MA, he was attracted to the clinical facet of this fellowship. Prior to medical school, his interest in MS care was stimulated through his research efforts at MassGeneral Hospital, where he conducted cognitive behavioral therapy research, and then at the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine, where he investigated potential stem cell therapies for multiple sclerosis.
Did you know almost every National MS Society program in the Northeast is available to anyone affected by MS? To learn about programs available to you, please select “Northeast Programs & Services” from the left navigation menu, then select the chapter you wish to review.
Great turnout at our first Maine Wellness Expo
The first Maine Wellness Expo was held. It took place at the Muskie Community Center in Waterville on June 4.
The goal of the Expo was to provide a unique educational opportunity for people with MS and their families so that they could explore the various dimensions of health and learn how to increase their own well-being. The day was focused on positive ways to live with MS and being well. Vendors from local organization offering programs, services, and products for people with disabilities, were set up in the Expo area all day and included the state’s Independent Living Center, Alpha One, representatives from one of the state’s Career Centers, a company that modifies vehicles and other equipment, and an orthopedic and prosthetics company. Workshops were definitely the highlight of the day, with many filled to capacity. They included Preventive Health and CAM with Tai Chi, Qigong and Meditation guided sessions with Wai Nei Academy of Healthy; Year Round Adaptive Recreation Opportunities with Maine Handicapped Skiing; Eating Well for Your Health with LIVE HEALTHY Public Health Education; Getting Help for Going to Work with Tri-County Career Center as part of the Maine Disability Employment Initiative Grant; Adapted Gardening with AgrAbility and Alpha One; and Foot Drop Treatments and WalkAide with Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Maine Handicapped Skiing also brought out their two newest adapted cycles, one recumbent and one hand cycle, and set them up outside for people to try.
Several local occupational therapy students also attended. The comments were overwhelmingly positive and we hope to offer this program again next year.
MS Update 2011
In response to the Society’s strategic goal to increase the numbers of specialized MS care professionals, the chapter was pleased to co-sponsor MS Update 2011 with the Partners MS Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Massachusetts MS Center, on June 24 and 25, 2011 in Cambridge. Among the 50 participants were neurologists, neurology residents, physician assistants, and the chapter’s three medical student fellows. Seven expert faculty members from Harvard, Yale, University of Massachusetts, and Boston University presented on a variety of topics aimed at increasing the clinical competencies of direct care clinicians. Topics included up to date information about the immunology of MS, new diagnostic techniques, making a differential diagnosis, using Vitamin D, and making treatment decisions.
Attendees from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had the opportunity to hear from and network with our MS clinical and research experts. It is hoped that some of them will pursue MS fellowships in the near future and continue their MS training. Drs. Peter Riskind (Chair of the Chapter’s Clinical Advisory Committee), James Stankiewicz (from Partners MS Center) and Howard Weiner, were co-chairs in the development of the conference.
Collaboration Makes Home Modification Possible
Sue Barrows of Meredith, New Hampshire will have a more accessible bathroom and a safer wheelchair ramp leading into her home, thanks to the Chapter’s efforts to secure total funding for the project by collaborating with other agencies and organizations. Dawn Russo, Senior Program Manager of Direct Services, put out the call to other organizations when the total cost to remodel Sue’s bathroom exceeded the Chapter’s limit for financial assistance. It took over five months to pull together all the details and funding for the project, but Sue is excitedly looking forward to having these home modifications to make her living environment more accessible. A total of $6,397 was contributed to the project by the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter, Kelly Packowski Foundation, bike the US for MS, Altrusa Women’s Club, and the National MS Society Stepping Stones Foundation. None of us could have funded this project on our own, but collectively we have made Susan’s accessibility projects a reality.
MS Wellness Fair, Attleboro, MA
Close to 50 people attended the MS Wellness Fair held on June 25 in Attleboro, MA. The Wellness Fair, a collaborative program offered by the Greater New England Chapter and the MS Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, had something for everyone. Health care professionals with a particular interest in the wellness of people with MS offered their expertise and information at interactive booths.
Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital offered balance evaluations, and Tina Walsh, yoga instructor and massage therapist, held seated yoga sessions and chair massage throughout the day. Judy Byrne, PT from the MS Center demonstrated the Wii Fitness interactive game, which had Fair participants competing in bowling and water skiing! A local garden specialist brought plants and terrariums and gave tips on gardening for your health. The “Ask the Pharmacist” booth was very busy with people getting their questions answered about medications used for MS. Other professionals included a Reiki master, a nurse providing skin checks and blood pressure screenings, and local YMCAs with information on their wellness programs. There were some very relaxed happy faces by the end of the day after participating in yoga, Reiki and massage!
CogniFitness: Keeping the Mind Moving, Plymouth, NH
On June 11, twenty-three people attended the CogniFitness: Keeping the Mind Moving program in Plymouth, NH. The program was facilitated by Christine St. Laurent, MSN, RN, MSCN formerly of Sturdy Memorial MS Center in Attleboro, MA. Through discussion and engaging in small group activities, the group learned strategies to help improve the following key areas: attention, memory, planning, and problem solving skills.
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Self-Help Group making changes in their area!
Stella Scrosati and Joe Rubano, both of Orleans County Vermont, have been hard at work increasing awareness of MS and providing opportunities for people with MS to network. The Northeast Kingdom Self-Help group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the North Country Hospital. In August the group hosted an Ice Cream Social at the Gateway Center in Newport. Recently Stella contacted the management at Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC) in Derby & they have agreed to add multiple sclerosis to the list of chronic conditions that can take advantage of their Healthy Changes Initiative which allows for a significantly reduced rate to enroll. If you have any questions about Healthy Changes please contact Katy Murray, Healthy Changes Coordinator, at 802-334-8511 or email KMurray@orleansrecreation.org.
Kids Get MS Too Fenway Park Experience
On July 23, twenty-one teens with MS and their families created wonderful memories at Kids Get MS Too - A Day at Fenway Park! Participating families from New England, New York and New Jersey had a great time as they socialized, shared experiences and made new friends. They were treated to a Fenway Park Tour and had the chance to watch the Red Sox warm up during batting practice.
Officially announced to the Fenway crowd as “Pediatric MS Day at Fenway Park” during the traditional pre-game activities and announcements, this event was a great opportunity to increase awareness about Pediatric MS, the Society and the Chapter. During these announcements, several representatives from the Chapter and the Kids Get MS Too program had the opportunity to wave to the sold out crowd from the field. The day concluded with the successful win by our hometown boys against the Seattle Mariners. This amazing opportunity was made possible by the generosity of our donors and individual gifts from the Van Houten Family and the Partners Pediatric MS Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
Two teens with MS, Brianna & Corey; Paul Van Houten (chapter board member); and Sarah MacIsaac, Program Manager; Dr. Tanuja Chitnis, Director of the Partners Pediatric MS Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children; Dr. Mark Gorman, staff physician at Partners Pediatric MS Center and at Children’s Hospital, Boston; and Dr. David Rintell, family counselor at Partners Pediatric MS Center represented the Chapter and the face of Pediatric MS on the field in front of the Fenway crowd!
Disability Awareness Day
Government Center, Fall River, Massachusetts
Thursday, October 6, 2011 • 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Greater New England Chapter will participate in Disability Awareness Day in Fall River. The Fall River Commission on Disabilities is sponsoring its third annual Disability Awareness event.
- Demonstration of home modifications for persons with disabilities.
- Demonstrating how movies can be viewed through Audio Description.
- Presentations about independent living, technology, and employment. Demonstration of the new Automark voting machine for the Blind and visually impaired.
- Information from agencies and vendors that provide services to people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
For More Information Contact: Brenda Ritz in the Dept. of Health and Human Services at 508-324-2413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.