Closing the Gaps in Underserved Multiple Sclerosis Communities: Yahaira Rivera, MBEd


The director of Mission Delivery and Program Development for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America provided perspective on a study presented at CMSC 2024 highlighting factors that play a role in access to resources and healthcare for patients with MS. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Bringing cultural humility to practice, listening to your patients, understanding, valuing what they have to say, their perspective and talking about the social and emotional aspect of MS. According to the survey, lots of these patients feel alone. They reported isolation, saying 'No one understand me.'"

Over the years, the treatment landscape for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) has certainly expanded, with over 20 disease-modifying treatments available. Despite this, some patients still face unmet needs that are unique to them and their community. Additionally, there is empirical evidence that social determinants of health impact health outcomes in Black and Hispanic and Latinx individuals living with the disease across not just the US, but the entire world.

At the 2024 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 29-June 2, in Nashville, Tennessee, members from the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) shared data from a national survey analysis of patients with MS. The study, which included 620 respondents, collected demographic and geographic data to contextualize the pressing needs of underserved and unrepresented MS communities. Here, results showed that demographics, socioeconomic status, age, race, ethnicity, and community play a significant role in the ability to access resources and health care.

Led by Yahaira Rivera, PhD, more than 43% reported not being able to work due to MS disability and 42% reported not seeing an MS specialist to manage their condition. Rivera, who works as the director of Mission Delivery and Program Development for the MSAA, sat down with NeurologyLive® following the meeting to discuss the greatest takeaways from the study and how the clinical and patient community can work towards resolving some of the concerns raised. She spoke specifically about bringing cultural humility to practice as well as highlighted some of the silent symptoms of the disease that often plague patients the most.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2024.

1. Rivera Y, Kline A, Montague A. A means to close gaps in multiple sclerosis care. Presented at: 2024 CMSC Annual Meeting; May 29-June 2; Nashville, TN. Abstract QOL20.
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