Holy Name Medical Center Awarded $75,000 Grant for MS Center

Patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis face not only physical challenges but often fears and anxieties when their disease interferes with their work. A $75,000 grant, awarded by Women United in Philanthropy to the MS Center at Holy Name Medical Center, will be used for a program that helps women retain their jobs by developing a plan of action and offering free screenings, neuropsychological evaluations and consultations. Holy Name’s MS Center, the only center in Bergen County affiliated with the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is known throughout the region for its comprehensive and integrated care.

“Holy Name Medical Center is enormously grateful to Women United in Philanthropy for its generous funding of our project, said Michael Maron, President and CEO of Holy Name. “It will benefit women in Bergen County with MS who will receive systematic screening for potentially devastating symptoms and offer them better access to expert neuropsychological and psychological care plans in order to prevent them from losing their employment. This grant is significantly impactful to our patients.”

Women are diagnosed with MS at a rate of 3 to 1, compared to men; and the majority of female MS patients will be unemployed 10 years after diagnosis. This is due to cognitive impairment, depression and/or extreme fatigue. Staff members from Holy Name’s MS Center will use the grant to do proactive screening and then follow-up with problem solving interventions to help them retain their jobs.

More than 1,800 patients from across New Jersey come to Holy Name’s MS Center. They are treated with integrated, comprehensive care and have access to the latest medical discoveries with the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials.

“As their disease progresses, so many women with MS struggle to keep their jobs,” said Dr. Mary Ann Picone, Medical Director of Holy Name’s MS Center. “This funding will help us perform screenings and work with women to develop preventive steps they can take to stay employed.”

Multiple sclerosis is a commonly diagnosed neurological disease that develops when the fatty tissue surrounding nerves (myelin) forms scar tissue and inhibits the flow of messages from the brain to various parts of the body. It can trigger symptoms such as impaired coordination, bladder or bowel dysfunction, speech and visual problems, numbness and fatigue.

Women in Philanthropy is a group of women who donate $1,000 annually and are dedicated to helping lift women out of poverty. Each year, the group collectively decides how to distribute the annual grant. It has been in existence for 10 years and has, to date, given $775,000 in funding to benefit the lives of women and children in Bergen County. Though the county is one of the wealthiest in the nation, the cost of living pushes some individuals and families into poverty and Women in Philanthropy is determined to help those facing economic hardships.

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