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MSYPN: Mentorship Program Connecting Young Professionals with Pediatric MS Patients

By December 20, 2021February 7th, 2022eMS News

Thanks to the generous support of Genentech and Bristol Myers Squibb, the Rocky Mountain MS Center has connected with and helped young adults and children with MS. We’ve been able to reach more newly diagnosed young patients than ever before, we’ve connected our members to resources and peers, and we’ve expanded our programs and services through our Multiple Sclerosis Young Professionals Network (MSYPN) and our Mentorship Program for young people living with MS.

The Multiple Sclerosis Young Professionals Network (MSYPN) is a group of 104 (and growing) young professionals, ages 21 – 45, who have MS or have a connection to MS. The mission of the MSYPN is to provide peer-to-peer support and networking, as well as opportunities for education about MS, fundraising, and volunteering on behalf of the Rocky Mountain MS Center. The monthly meetings focus on MS support and education, volunteerism, fundraising, networking, and building leadership skills. This provides both a means of connection for the group as well as a way to reach out to those with potential interest in the group and its activities. With the help of Genentech and Bristol Myers Squibb, we’ve been able to host some of our meetings on a virtual platform and some in-person so that we can support our members who are in the Denver Metro area and outside of the Denver Metro area.

In addition to providing opportunities for peer support among members and raising awareness about MS, the RMMSC has been working to strengthen connections between the MSYPN and the Neuroimmunology Clinic for Children, a multidisciplinary clinic for the care of children and adolescents with MS. Specifically, in 2019 the RMMSC began piloting the MSYPN mentorship program, and we’ve continued to add two mentorship pairs every 6 months since its formation. MSYPN mentors meet virtually with young patients and their families to form positive connections while sharing their experiences of living with MS. Mentors understand what it is like to have MS, help mentees navigate issues that may arise, and are able to listen and motivate mentees. The program also helps mentors develop leadership and mentorship skills, and allows parents/caregivers to expand their network of support to include mentors and other parents. One of the benefits of this virtual program is that we are able to connect youth who live in more rural areas to mentors and resources that they might not normally have access to due to location and distance. Thanks to sponsorships from Genentech and Bristol Myers Squibb, we are also able to support mentees whose primary language isn’t English by translating mentee documents, providing an interpreter for orientations, and connecting mentees/their families to programs and resources.

We are so grateful to have the support of Genentech and Bristol Myers Squibb so that we can continue to provide necessary programs, and so we can share MS resources. If you’re interested in joining our MSYPN, please contact Sarah at skyger@mscenter.org.

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