CHICAGO, March 17, 2014 — The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) opened its annual conference today at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. MDA hosts national conferences annually, with clinical aspects (medical care) and scientific research as the main focus in alternating years.
MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff and her parents Jenny and Joe helped kick off the 2014 MDA Clinical Conference in Chicago today. The “I Am Progress” theme references the crucial role that clinic teams nationwide have in improving lives through excellence in clinical care.
This year's 2014 Clinical Conference, titled "Optimizing Care: Improving Lives Through Clinical Excellence," is being co-hosted by MDA and the University of Minnesota. The conference runs through Wednesday, March 19. About 500 attendees — mostly physicians and other health professionals — are attending.
"For decades, MDA clinic teams have been dedicated to making life better for those affected by neuromuscular disease and, as a result, individuals are living longer and staying stronger," said neurologist Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA's chief medical and scientific officer. "But even with the tremendous progress that's been made over the years, our clinic teams know we still have much work to do in the fight against muscle diseases. I’m excited that so many of them will be participating in this conference and exchanging information; it’s another demonstration of their unwavering commitment to improving and saving lives."
The conference will emphasize progress in delivering care to children and adults with any of the more than 40 neuromuscular disorders in MDA's program, including nine forms of muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and many others.
Ericka Simpson, M.D., from the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, and John Day, M.D., Ph.D., from Stanford University School of Medicine, are co-chairing the meeting.
They, along with the conference planning committee, constructed a robust agenda on a wide range of topics of importance to medical professionals caring for those with neuromuscular disease.
The primary conference audience is MDA clinic directors and clinic team members, including physicians, registered nurses, physical and occupational therapists, genetic counselors, social workers, and more.
Presentations for neuromuscular disease professionals will focus on the following areas:
A poster session, where attendees can view and discuss visual presentations on neuromuscular disease care in an informal setting, will take place tonight.
New for the 2014 conference: A special forum for MDA families
A special family forum will take place Tuesday, March 18, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CT. The forum, hosted by Drs. Day and Simpson, provides an opportunity for MDA families to hear about key topics being discussed at the conference and to ask questions. The Family Forum will be live-streamed and archived on the MDA website. Questions can be submitted in real time during the forum via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MDA is deeply grateful to the following companies for their support of the 2014 Clinical Conference.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. Visit mda.org and follow us at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews.