MS Living Well Podcast. MS Care Equity: Empowering Underserved Communities

Sep 12 2023

Health equity represents the pursuit of the highest level of well-being for all individuals, ensuring that every person, regardless of their background, enjoys a fair and just opportunity to achieve their optimal health.

Disparities exist within the multiple sclerosis community. It’s a stark reality that Black individuals with MS face an increased risk of disability, while Black women are disproportionately affected by this condition compared to their White counterparts based on a Kaiser study.  Additionally, Hispanic patients often contend with an earlier onset of MS, occurring 3-5 years before it typically manifests in White individuals. Both social determinants of health and genetic factors play significant roles in shaping outcomes for these communities. Strategies to enhance MS care in underserved communities include increasing the availability of healthcare providers, providing crucial translation services, and addressing biases both within the healthcare team and the communities they serve.

Rural MS patients experience unique challenges, often encountering barriers in accessing specialized care.  Connecting lower-income patients to vital resources, including medications and MRI scans, is essential. Innovative approaches like telehealth and improved transportation options can bridge the gap for those with higher levels of disability. As an MS community, we can all advocate to ensure that everyone regardless of their circumstances receives the comprehensive care that they deserve.

This podcast episode is sponsored by EMD Serono.

Lilyana Amezcua MD

Lilyana Amezcua MD is an Associate Professor of Neurology and the fellowship program director at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from University of California Irvine and her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, followed by neurology residency and clinical fellowship in neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis at USC. She spearheaded the collaborative research consortium Alliance for Research in Hispanic MS (ARHMS) and serves as principal investigator. Dr. Amezcua serves on numerous national and international committees including as an elected member to the NMSS National Medical Advisory Committee and NIH NINDS Health Disparities Strategic Steering Committee.

Dr. Jacqueline Rosenthal

Jacqueline Rosenthal MD joined Shepherd Center’s medical staff in July 2019 and treats patients in Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute. Dr. Rosenthal graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans and received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She completed her residency in neurology at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. She completed her fellow in neuroimmunology at Emory University School of Medicine and at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: September 12, 2023 TOPIC: Podcasts