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MS Comprehensive Care Center receives honor

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has recognized UC Irvine Healthcare's multiple sclerosis program for superior and innovative patient care by certifying it as an official Center for MS Comprehensive Care.

The program, which is based on the Irvine campus in the Gottschalk Medical Plaza, is one of only three in California to have earned this designation. On Dec. 1, Richard Israel, president of the National MS Society's Pacific South Coast Chapter, presented the certification plaque to program director Dr. Michael Demetriou.

Dr. Michael Demitriou, director of UC Irvine's comprehensive multiple sclerosis center

In 2009, UC Irvine received a collaborative multiple sclerosis research center award from the National MS Society, making it among the few institutions in the United States to be honored
by the organization for research and patient-care excellence.

"This certification recognizes UC Irvine's historical significance
and innovative approaches to MS care, which is centered on
always keeping the patient's needs foremost in our minds," said Demetriou, an associate professor of the Department of Neurology. "This requires a team effort by staff, nurses and physicians and is best exemplified by outstanding and compassionate care."

UC Irvine's MS program—one of the country's earliest and most successful—was founded by the late Dr. Stanley van den Noort, a towering presence in neurology and former dean of UC Irvine's School of Medicine, whose tireless efforts brought tremendous relief to many, Demetriou said. "He was the first chief medical officer of the National MS Society, and his influence on patient care practices is still felt today."

The National MS Society, which began its clinical affiliation/certification program focusing on the patient experience in October 2009, today has 45 comprehensive care centers across the nation. To become certified, programs must offer patients access to a full array of medical, psychosocial and rehabilitation services to address the varied and often complex issues related to living with MS. They also must demonstrate the ability to provide coordinated and comprehensive MS care and maintain a strong collaboration with the National MS Society.

"UC Irvine has a long and rich history as a center for MS care and research excellence," said Demetriou, whose recent studies have found that a glucosamine-like sugar may limit MS attacks by restoring a cellular deficiency that causes the disease. "The Center for MS Comprehensive Care will help us further assess this dietary supplement as an MS therapy."

The clinic's team also includes associate director Dr. Gaby Thai, Dr. Aimee Pierce, MS nurse specialist Diana Sistoza, nurse Judy Nguyen and medical assistant Cristina Romero.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 1.877.UCI.DOCS (1.877.824.3627).

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