Education Program Targeted to the African American/Black Community

Thursday, June 2, 2016
Exhibit Hall
Craig D Wesley, MPA , Advocacy, Services, & Research, National MS Society, New York, NY
Craig D Wesley, MPA , Advocacy, Services, & Research, National MS Society, New York, NY

Background: Living with multiple sclerosis presents challenges that are unique to each individual and for African Americans/Blacks living with MS the challenge can be even more complex. We know from research that African Americans/Blacks are more likely to have an aggressive course of the disease and in general experience greater health disparities in terms of access to care and the quality of care received. Using a program model that has proven to be successful in North Carolina for the past 14 years, the MS Society will pilot an expansion of the education program into three new communities in 2016 including Detroit, MI; New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA. Programs will be delivered during March - June 2016 time frame.

Objectives: Deliver half-day program featuring formal presentations by experts in the field, an expo of community resources, and faciliated small group discussions all in an effort: To empower and connect African Americans/Blacks affected by MS to each other and share life experiences and solutions; and to information and resources so that they can take fully informed actions.

Methods: Deliver half-day programs in Detroit, MI; New York, NY; and Philadelphia, PA and Raliegh, NC. Expected attendance is 300-350 people. Will conduct program evaluation and identify common themes from small group discussion.

Results: We plan to measure: number of people who attend the program; number of first time participants in a Society program; number of people who report that they are more knowledgeable about MS, more inspired/empowered to face the challenges of living with MS; number of people who report that they feel more connected to other African Americans/Blacks with MS and their families; number of people who report that they will seek out volunteer opportunities with the MS Society; number of people who report that they find the MS Society's information on MS valuable; and the number of people who report using the National MS Society as a resource to find information about MS.

Conclusions: The expected results and key outcomes include: Engage and register new people who are not connected to the MS Society; connect with the African American/Black community in a way that we haven't before; leverage opportunity to learn how the Society can have a deeper impact within the African American/Black community; learn what it will take to be successful to implement the program in additional markets in FY2017.