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MSYPN: The MS Center’s MS Young Professionals Network

By December 28, 2020May 26th, 2021eMS News

In Colorado, approximately one in 550 people live with multiple sclerosis and individuals between the ages of 15-40 experience some of the highest rates of diagnosis. When anyone is diagnosed with MS, it can be a very isolating experience, but it is especially so for a young person in the prime of life. The RMMSC felt it was important to support this specific population and initiated a young professionals group. The MSYPN provides regular opportunities for young peers to share their experiences with, learn from, and support one another.

The needs of the group have evolved in 2020 since we added our mentorship program, and especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Timothy Vollmer, “In-person conversations are special, but not practical now.  But many of us have found that meeting virtually can be similarly beneficial and easy to do.  Supporting the MSYPN so they can continue their important work on bringing MS patients and their families together with others dealing with MS is important for the mental and physical health of persons with MS. These programs are needed now more than ever, in that, feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression have dramatically increased in our patients due to restrictions placed on all of us by the coronavirus pandemic.” Thanks to the support of Bristol Myers Squibb, the RMMSC is able to continue MSYPN meetings and our new mentorship program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March of 2020 the RMMSC began offering virtual meetings and opportunities for MSYPN members including Q&A sessions with the doctors, educational webinars, and networking. We have focused on creating a safe environment for members to ask questions, and to connect with others dealing with the same issues during “stay at home” and “safer at home orders.” 

 We also pivoted our MSYPN mentorship program so that children with MS have support. The goal of the program is to cultivate supportive relationships between mentors and mentees to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, intellectual and interpersonal growth, enhanced self-esteem and confidence, and an open perspective about MS. Dr. Teri Schreiner, a RMMSC Pediatric MS Specialist, agrees that the RMMSC Mentorship Program helps to fill a significant gap in services for children and teens living with MS. “The experience of being diagnosed with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis can be isolating given its rarity. For my patients, the ability to connect with someone young but further along in his/her course of the disease can be a powerful example of resiliency and hope.  A mentor provides these examples in a way that parents, friends, and doctors cannot.” The MSYPN Mentorship program was able to continue because of the generous support of Bristol Myers Squibb. We now have 4 mentorship pairs in our program, and we look forward to expanding in the future.

 Our next MSYPN Meeting will feature a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccines with RMMSC’s Medical Director and Co-Director of RMMSC at University of Colorado, Dr. Timothy Vollmer. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 19th at 5:30 pm. 

We are grateful to have Dr. Vollmer give us an update on COVID and the vaccines. We’re also happy to welcome fellow MSYPN member and Chronic Disease Resource Nurse for Denver Public Schools (DPS), Dr. Dulce Warren, PhD, RNC, WHNP-BC, who’ll give an update on how DPS is handling the virus and what’s currently happening with schools. We will also have a q&a session so that you can ask any questions you might have live over Zoom.

 If you’re interested in attending this meeting or learning more about the MSYPN and our mentorship program, please contact Sarah at and check out our MSYPN Facebook page.


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