Empowering Patients and Families through Education: The RMMSC’s Robust Education Programming

An informed patient is an empowered patient. That belief is a key component of the Rocky Mountain MS Center’s mission, and informs the scope and core elements of our educational programming through growth over 40 years.

We strive to provide education and support for people no matter where they are in their experience living with MS. Our education programs provide patients and their families with materials and resources to help them make informed decisions about their care.

 

One of the greatest things about our education programming is that it really brings people together as a community.
Kelsey Lantz, RMMSC Education Coordinator
Getting diagnosed with MS can feel like being catapulted into a vast unknown. Dealing with the diagnosis and living well with MS is the process of slowly learning and one thing that has greatly evolved in the past four decades is the information that we can give to patients. It’s so much better now because we actually understand the disease better.

Our programs are open to all and we are continually making efforts to expand access through online resources, webinars, and livestreaming. Through all of our education programming, we emphasize our overall philosophy: the importance of maximizing lifelong brain health through early and effective treatment and an active healthy lifestyle.

“One of the greatest things about our education programming is that it really brings people together as a community,” says Kelsey Lantz, Education Coordinator. “A person will participate in our MS 101 class, and then we’ll see them at our Education Summits and the local Conversations on MS events. People are able to meet and connect based on shared experiences and the comfort of getting good information that they trust.”

Below and on page 22 is a brief outline of the key elements of our education programming. 

MS 101

RMMSC began offering MS 101 classes for newly diagnosed individuals in the early 1990s under the leadership of Patricia Daily, licensed clinical social worker, MS counselor, author and educator. Today, RMMSC’s MS 101 remains an indispensable orientation on MS where newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers can get answers that go deeper than clinical explanations and medical facts. The presenters go over the basics of MS, how our understanding of the disease has changed over the years, and what we know today. Participants are encouraged to bring their questions to the table so the presenters can tailor the session to those questions.

Topics range from “What is MS?” to the diagnosis process, symptoms, an overview of available treatment options, and how to maximize your wellbeing throughout your life. These classes are offered twice a month - at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for patients of the Rocky Mountain MS Center Clinic; and at the National MS Society in Denver for anyone.

We are also able to customize class material to bring this resource to organizations in the community that would benefit from up to date knowledge about MS. MS 101 sessions are now led by Elissa Berlinger, LCSW and MS Educator, and Kelsey Lantz, RMMSC Education Coordinator.

MS 101 TESTIMONIALS

“I feel a lot better about having MS. I feel more empowered and like I can handle having it.”

“Really calmed some of my fears.”

“MS is scary but the course really helped put things in perspective.”

“I liked that they had different experiences with MS and different backgrounds. It made for a more informed discussion.”

“They were patient with the variety of the questions and found ways to connect everyone’s experiences together.”

“I came to learn more because this is so new to us.”

“I wanted help my wife get some understanding of what I’m going through.”

“I felt overwhelmed with my MS diagnosis. I wanted to learn more about what MS was.”

Conversations on MS

Conversations on MS sessions bring our doctors around the region to talk to patients, caregivers and the public.

“I’m very proud that the Guild started the Conversations on MS,” says Marie Windlinger, a founder of the RMMSC’s MS Guild, “We came up with the idea of a smaller meeting once a month, about 25-30 people, no more than that. The doctors talk a little about the MS and the rest of the time people living with MS and their family members would have the opportunity to ask questions. It gives people the time to talk with MS specialist neurologists outside of their clinical appointment. To this day, the doctors travel around Colorado and Wyoming to host these events for MS community members.”

Cheryl recently attended Conversations on MS with Dr. Alvarez in Grand Junction. Cheryl is 60 years old and was diagnosed with MS 8 years ago and explained why Conversations was so valuable for her, “I just love to ask questions and learn from other people’s questions.”

MS Education Summits

The RMMSC has offered educational seminars and summits throughout our 40 year history. Our largest events are our twice yearly Education Summits which bring together leading minds in MS care and research to cover a variety of topics and gives people a chance to meet others in the MS community. We expanded access to the program in 2017 with the addition of livestreaming reaching people across the country and throughout the world.

To view our Fall, 2018 Education Summit video and presentations, please visit mscenter.org/edsummit. You’ll also find all of our past Education Summit presentations archived there.

EDUCATION SUMMIT TESTIMONIALS

“Really good information. Research and trials - insights you can’t find just by Googling.”

“Comforting to know someone knows and cares that much. It’s very encouraging to hear them make sense of it.”

“The Summits provide the opportunity for MS patients to talk to each other about treatments, symptoms, etc., which I find to be informative, relieving, etc. Great adjacent benefit.”

Webinars

Our webinar series and education summits are all online on our website at mscenter.org/webinars. You’ll find RMMSC’s archived Webinars here: RMMSC Webinars.