The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society plays an important role in driving research about this disease, which still largely remains a mystery to clinicians despite recent advancements. One of the ways it has invested in superior research and clinical care is by creating a number of programs to fund the training of future researchers and clinicians.
The fellowship programs funded by the National MS Society provide direct opportunities for promising young medical professionals to train alongside the leading minds in the field. These young people then launch their own, independent research or patient care careers, with their former trainers serving as mentors.
As proof of the programs’ efficacy, many of the most prominent researchers and clinicians making headlines today started as Society trainees. Money invested into these future medical professionals has resulted in more than $400 million in grant funding to fight MS from a wide range of different sources.
Some of the training opportunities available through the National MS Society include the following:
Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowships
This fellowship, which honors the memory of National MS Society founder Sylvia Lawry, teaches physicians how to conduct clinical trials focusing on MS so that opportunities for such testing are available as people develop new therapies. Recipients, who must have an MD or equivalent degree, are supported for up to three years of additional formal training under the direction of an experienced investigator. Individuals must also have some US-based training in neurology or physiatry to qualify for the fellowship.
Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Awards
Dr. Harry Weaver was a major contributor to MS research. Throughout his career, he dedicated a significant portion of his time to helping young investigators break into the field of MS research and understand the basic and clinical components of the disease. To further his work, this award financially supports individuals who have finished research training and started on academic careers as independent investigators in areas directly related to MS. The award provides a salary and research grant funding for a period of five years to broaden our understanding of MS and how best to treat and cure it.
Clinician Scientist Development Awards
Offered in collaboration with the American Brain Foundation, this award assists young physician scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to academic medicine with an emphasis on clinical MS research. The award supports recipients for a period of three years as they use current scientific tools to tackle issues directly related to MS.
Daniel Haughton Senior Faculty Award
Understanding that ending MS requires a wide range of different viewpoints, the National MS Society offers this award, named after one of its directors, to senior faculty members who want to expand their expertise in the field of MS. Recipients can use the award for specialized training in a new field that will enhance their ability to tackle MS-related issues. Often, people use the award, which they can renew annually, to support sabbatical activities.
These fellowships are available to those who have recently finished their doctoral work and wish to dedicate their future endeavors eradicating MS. Individuals can use the fellowship to support non-clinical and clinical fundamental or applied studies, and fellows who receive it can work in fields like rehabilitation and patient management.
Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship in Rehabilitation Research
This program supports the mentors and organizations that provide training for postdoctoral fellows devoting themselves to MS research. Funding from the grant is meant to aid in recruitment, selection, and training of fellows interested in rehabilitation research that can be directly applied to MS and related disorders. Mentors must already be established and active researchers in a related field. However, the grant supports a wide range of perspectives, with researchers coming from backgrounds in psychology, therapy, nursing, medicine, and other departments.
MS Clinical Mentorship for Medical Students
This four-week clinical mentorship program is designed for people who have finished at least the first year of medical school and wish to delve deeper into the issues related to MS. During the program, students learn about diagnosis and management of MS under the direction of leaders in the field of MS research. The opportunity is meant to inspire rising medical students to focus on MS care and become more aware of the challenges surrounding this complex disease. Students work directly with neurologists and other specialists at comprehensive care centers and community clinics. Various sites are available across the country, so interested students should visit NationalMSSociety.org to learn more about the dates, advisors, and opportunities specific to each location.