Ok, I’m finished with confessions and science lessons (at least for today). The last three talks of today’s morning session shifted the conversation from disease research to MDA clinics. And trust me, while Dr. Appel’s talk was about good guys and bad guys, these latter talks shined light squarely on the good guys!
My colleague, Jodi Wolff, MDA’s Director of Clinical Services and Summer Camp Program, gave an overview of MDA’s extensive neuromuscular clinic program. She made me proud! I see every day how dedicated, caring and hard-working my Health Care Services colleagues are, but it was heartening to see how many of our families agree. And Jodi used hard data from her “Tell Us About Your MDA Clinic” to support that conclusion. Of 1,867 survey respondents, more than three-quarters rated their MDA clinic experience as “excellent” or “very good.”
Nonetheless, Jodi didn’t suggest that MDA rest on our laurels. Many respondents told us that there is plenty of room for improvement, and we received some great suggestions for how MDA can improve the clinic experience. Jodi and our clinic team are taking those suggestions to heart, and are committed to making MDA clinics even better.
Dr. Irwin “Bud” Jacobs, who directs the MDA Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic, and Dr. Katherine Mathews, Co-Director of the MDA Clinic at the University of Iowa (and one of my very favorite people), presented heart-to-heart talks to their fellow clinic directors on challenges and solutions for managing an MDA clinic and providing their patients the very best care. Dr. Mathews emphasized that, while there are lots of challenges and solutions, every clinic is different and there is no one-size-fits-all way to do things right.
Dr. Mathews also spoke about her experiences running an outreach clinic — providing medical care throughout the entire state of Iowa to people who can’t travel to Iowa City. She was, as always, humble and good-humored, but I was blown away to see how hard she and her team work, enduring air sickness to fly across the state, dining on the road on Doritos, working 14-plus hours a day. Can you believe, with all that, she’s a member of MDA’s Medical Advisory Committee, and reviews piles of research grant applications twice a year?
Yep, MDA’s got only good guys — lots of really good guys.