Joseph Berger, MD: The Need for More MS Specialists


The professor of neurology spoke about the challenges faced by MS specialists as their numbers dwindle and the number of patients surpasses 1 million in the United States.

“We don’t have a sufficient number of MS specialists, nor is the distribution appropriate for the care of the number of people we have in our country. It’s now estimated that there are close to 1 million individuals with MS in the United States and with the amount of time that’s required in caring for these people—who you will often see 2, 3, or 4 times per year—it’s simply insufficient.”

The medical field is facing a shortage of physicians across all specialties, with many estimates suggesting a lack of more than 100,000 doctors in the coming years. This is compounded by rising numbers of morbidity and an overall aging population. One area which has been hit particularly hard is those specializing in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is already a complex disease to treat, and adding to that complexity are more than a dozen disease-modifying treatments which require a solid understanding to properly use, as well as a number of resources and monitoring. Joseph Berger, MD, the associate director of the MS Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, knows this all too well, and has seen the landscape evolve over the years he’s treated the disease.

At the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) 2019 Forum in Dallas, Texas, Berger spoke about the need for more resources and physicians to tackle the increasing number of patients and the complexities of doing so. To discuss these challenges, the professor of neurology spoke with NeurologyLive in an interview.

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