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Mental Health Professionals Clinical Discussions


About the Mental Health Professionals Clinical Discussions

Join the National MS Society and mental health practitioners for a bi-monthly educational discussion series designed to enhance the knowledge base of mental health professionals. This is an interactive video discussion and participation by all is encouraged.
Target audience: Those from mental health fields, including professionals who are new to MS or those with advanced MS knowledge. All interested disciplines are welcome to attend. 
Format: Each 60-minute web meeting will focus on content related to mental health counseling. The discussion will be centered on individuals living with MS and their families. 

Schedule and registration


2024 Schedule

Date: Thursday, December 14, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Topic: Shared Decision Making in Treatment
Description: Shared decision making (SDM) will be defined and key questions discussed regarding the importance of SDM in working with underserved patients living with MS focusing on Black, Hispanic and Asian populations. The discussion will look at the key ingredients needed in allowing shared decision making to become an actuality in our work and identify and address barriers to SDM.
Presenter: Aliza Ben Zacharia, MSc, DNP, ANP-BC, Assistant Professor, Hunter College and Co-Director of the Research/EBP Fellowship at the Mount Sinai Phillips School of Nursing

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 2 p.m. ET
Topic: Living Loss - Identifying Grief and Building Resilience in Care Partners
Description: It is widely documented that grief can be a precursor to clinical depression. In the care partner community, there is a particular kind of grief that can best be described as a real time, “living loss” due to the complex and rapid changes that people living with MS and their care partners experience. Complicating things further, caring for those living with MS presents a unique set of challenges. This presentation will focus on how clinicians and helpers in the MS community can identify grief, why it matters and how to build resiliency as a factor in assisting care partners.
Presenter: Audra Sbarra, MSW, LCSW, MSci, Manager, Case Management at the National MS Society

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2024, 2 p.m. ET
Topic: Research Topic from Kessler
Presenter: Lauren Strober, Kessler Foundation

Register to attend

Please email Sallie Stephens to be added to the distribution list.
(Note: You will not receive immediate confirmation of your registration, but will receive an email with additional information prior to the calls.)



  • July 20, 2023 - Access to Quality Mental Healthcare for Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals Living with MS, led by Grace Tworek, Psy.D., Clinical Health Psychologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Cleveland Clinic
  • May 18, 2023 - Speech, Language and Swallowing Difficulties in People with MS, Medical and Psychosocial Implications, led by Marissa A. Barrera, PhD, MSCS, CCC-SLP. Access the slides here.
  • March 16, 2023 - National MS Society Mental Health Policy Priorities, led by Shannon Wood, Director of Advocacy and Policy, National MS Society; Natasha Silva, Senior Director of Federal Government Relations, National MS Society
  • December 16, 2021 - Trauma and MS, led by Mary Gossett, MSW, LGSW, Manager, MS Navigator, National MS Society
  • October 21, 2021 - The Interdisciplinary Team Model: Challenges and Opportunities for Mental Health Providers. Pre-read article 
  • May 20, 2021 - What Mental Health Practitioners Need to Know, led by Alyssa Leonard, MS, OTR/L, MSCS Senior Occupational Therapist, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, NJ
  • January 21, 2021 - Abuse and Neglect of People Living with MS. View the accompanying journal abstract. Download the powerpoint presentation.
  • November 19, 2020 - Social Isolation in MS and the Pandemic, led by Elizabeth Vincent, LCSW, TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Adult/Pediatric. Download the accompanying journal article
  • September 17, 2020 - Telemental Health vs. In-Person Visits, led by Andrea Arzt, LCSW, MSCS and Ronnie Hochberg, CRC, LMHC. Download the powerpoint presentation 
  • June 18, 2020 - Intervention to Promote Tolerance for Uncertainty in Multiple Sclerosis – Evan Smith, PhD, rehabilitation psychologist at Michigan Medicine. Download the accompanying journal abstract
  • April 27, 2020- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, led by Kimberly McGuire, PhD, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Download the accompanying journal article

Lead a call

For more information, to suggest a topic or to lead a discussion call, contact Deszarae Busi.


© 2023 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.