Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
MS & Vets Podcasts
During every episode you’ll hear subject matter experts weigh in on MS issues and VA care and services for people living with MS.
COVID-19 & Vaccine Information
Get the latest MS news on the COVID-19 virus and vaccine.
Electronic Veteran Newsletter
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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
The Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence (MSCoE) are dedicated to furthering the understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS), its impact on Veterans, and effective treatments to help manage MS. By partnering with Veterans, caregivers, health care professionals, MS advocates, Veteran service organizations, and community health care institutes, MSCoE strives to minimize impairment and maximize quality of life for Veterans with MS.
MSCoE East and West have developed a national network of MS Regional Programs and MS Support Programs within the VA.
Given the size of the population of Veterans with MS seeking treatment in VA and their distribution across the country, it is feasible to provide access to high quality subspecialty care through a hub and spoke network with designated MS Regional Programs supporting local facilities.
Each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) will have at least one MS Regional Program that will serve as a source for MS specialty consultation and education.
October 2021: Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11, 2021
On Veterans Day, we take time to honor the brave and selfless Americans who have served in the US Armed Forces, and to recognize the time, commitment, and sacrifices of these soldiers, sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Mariners in order to protect the ideals and freedoms that we cherish.
July 2021: MSCoE West Associate Director of Research Transition
We would like to extend our appreciation to Dr. Michelle Cameron who has been the Acting Associate Director of Research for MSCoE West since 2017. For the last four years, Dr. Cameron has been instrumental in moving the research agenda for MSCoE West forward and translating research accomplishments to our Veterans with MS. Dr. Cameron will continue in her role as Co-Director of MSCoE West. We would like to thank Dr. Cameron for acting in this role and her many contributions to our research mission.
We would like to welcome Dr. Lindsey Wooliscroft, our new Associate Director of Research, to the MSCoE West team. Dr. Wooliscroft received her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She completed her medicine internship and neurology residency at Washington University in St. Louis before she was recruited to the VA Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) for an MS and Neuroimmunology fellowship. She is currently an Assistant Professor at OHSU. Her research interests include exercise and remyelination therapies in MS and she has been funded by the NIH, Medical Research Foundation, and Myelin Repair Foundation.
May 2021: Mask Wearing
CDC guidelines have changed for mask wearing in public. MSCoE would like to recommend caution.
You may have read the reports suggesting that people with MS taking fingolimod and ocrelizumab are not mounting an antibody response to the COVID vaccine. While antibodies are an important part of the protective response from a vaccine, they represent only one aspect of vaccine related immune response. At present there is not enough information to reach any conclusion about vaccine effectiveness in MS people on S1P inhibitors (fingolimod, etc.) and B cell therapies (ocrelizumab, rituximab, ofatumumab, etc.). Well-designed studies looking at these questions are in the process currently. Until we have more conclusive answers, we recommend all people with MS should continue pre-vaccination behaviors of distancing and masking.
December 2020: COVID-19 Vaccination for Veterans with MS
While people with MS were not included in the trials of the COVID-19 vaccines, there are no significant concerns that any of the COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of infection, MS relapse, or MS worsening in people with MS. If you have MS, the potential benefits of receiving a COVID vaccine for you and your family generally outweigh the potential risks. There are no data supporting that any one of the vaccines offer specific unique advantages or disadvantages for people with MS or related diseases.
For most MS medications we anticipate that the vaccine should have full efficacy. For those on “B-cell therapies” such as rituximab (Rituxan, Truxima, Ruxience), ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), or ofatumumab (Kesimpta) the protection from the vaccine may be reduced based on research with other vaccines. Despite the reduced response we still think the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk. In general our recommendation for people taking the B-cell therapies is to schedule the vaccination within a few weeks prior to your next scheduled infusion. Do not skip an infusion without talking to your MS doctor.
More information can be found at:
Links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by MSCoE of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization. MSCoE bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
VA MS Publications
The VA ranks as one of the nation’s leaders in health research. Thousands of studies are conducted at VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes each year. This research has significantly contributed to advancements in health care for Veterans and other Americans from every walk of life.
Recent VA Provider Publications
Disclaimer: Links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by MSCoE of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization. MSCoE bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
We are fortunate to have Veterans share their stories of living with MS. These stories are filled with life's challenges, the value of family and friends, lots of hopefulness, with a little sense of humor thrown in. We hope you will enjoy reading these stories and in a small way feel connected to others that are living with this disease.
Our YouTube series covers a variety issues effecting Veterans with MS. Each video shares perspectives from Veterans and their health care team.