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CMSC Outreach: CMSC Opens Weeklong Mental Health Program to Help Mentor and Train MS Specialists

Monday, July 15, 2019  
Posted by: Elizabeth Porco
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The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), working with the Foundation of the CMSC (FCMSC) and EMD Serono, launched a new Mental Health Mini-Mentorship Program to help clinicians better understand the psychological and mental health challenges that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) face on a daily basis.

The program, running throughout the summer, was jointly created by the CMSC, the FCMSC, and the Multiple Sclerosis Mental Health Professionals (MS-MHP) interest group, and funded by a grant from EMD Serono (known as Merck KGaA outside North America).

The program pairs specialists in MS mental health with professionals either planning or beginning a career in this field. The one-week, 35-hour intensive course is taking place:

  • July 15-19 and July 22-26 at the Holy Name Medical Center’s MS Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, under the direction of Mary Ann Picone, MD, and supervision of Fred Foley, PhD, the center’s director of Neuropsychology and Psychosocial Research;
  • Aug. 5-9 and Aug. 19-23 at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in Hackensack, New Jersey, under the direction of Florian P. Thomas, MD, PhD, MS, and with the participation of Brian Amorello, PhD, a counseling psychologist.

“We are excited to bring the MS Mental Health Mini-Mentorship program to life at Holy Name and HUMC this summer,” June Halper, chief executive officer of CMSC, said in a press release.

“This program was conceived to address a vitally important challenge faced by multiple sclerosis patients: lack of adequate recognition and treatment of their mental health-related symptoms, which are just as important as the physical obstacles that they face,” Halper added.

At each session, two mentorship participants selected from a pool of candidates will have the opportunity to interact and discuss with the MS care specialists that include physicians, nursing professionals, mental health clinicians, and rehabilitation therapists. Particular focus will be on how these experts work together to support MS patients with their psychological and mental health issues.

Each trainee selected will also be give a scholarship to attend the upcoming CMSC Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, set for May 2020.

“EMD Serono is thrilled to support this important program, as it aligns with our goal to raise awareness of and address the varied challenges faced by MS patients every day,” said John Walsh, MD, vice president, Neurology and Immunology, U.S. Medical Affairs and interim head of North America Medical Affairs at EMD Serono.

“This program allows us to utilize our educational partnerships with non-profit entities such as the CMSC and clinical partnerships with MS centers to assist in bringing the best possible care to the MS patient population,” Walsh concluded.

For more information about the Mini-Mentorship program, please contact Lisa DeSantis, CMSC education manager and FCMSC special projects manager, at

By Joana Carvalho

Multiple Sclerosis News Today

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