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Guide for those Black and Newly Diagnosed 

 Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects Black people.  However, with the right education and skills, you can live a full, healthy, and active life with MS.

Up until recently, MS was treated like a "white woman's disease" - often making Black people feel isolated, or worse, undiagnosed and unheard. Today, we know that Black populations have an increased risk for earlier and greater disability from MS. It can feel like the healthcare system is set up against you, representation is lacking, and the search for people you can relate to is an ongoing struggle. The resources below were created for you to educate yourself on your disease and learn tips on receiving the best care so you can live well with MS. 

The videos below include:

Additional Resources:

What Your Diagnosis Means and What You Can Expect 

Understand the basics of multiple sclerosis and what you can expect living with this disease. 

Speaker: Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, FAAN, Neurologist

How Does MS Affect The Black Community Differently 

Understand why MS is different in the Black community and what can you do about it.

Speakers: Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, FAAN, Neurologist 

Ways to Manage Your MS Symptoms

Explore the treatment options, symptom management strategies, and healthcare professionals who can help. 

Speaker: Paula Hardeman, MPAS, PA-C, CRND, Physician's Assitant of Neurology 

What is Self-Advocacy and Why is it Important? 

Learn ways you can feel empowered as a patient and take ownership of your health. 

Speaker: Victoria Reese, Lives with MS, Activist

Tips for a Strong Relationship with Your Doctors

Learn ways to be open with your doctor and what to do when you feel you are not being heard. 

Speaker: Victoria Reese, Lives with MS, Activist

How to be a Prepared and Pro-Active Patient 

Hear from a Physician's Assistant what aspects of your care to pay attention to and why it is important for you to be involved.

Speaker: Paula Hardeman, MPAS, PA-C, CRND, Physician's Assitant of Neurology 

Faces of Wellness 

Everyone's story is different. Explore the unique experiences of MS, self-advocacy, and navigating the healthcare landscape in the podcasts and videos below.

Dr. Mitzi Joi Wiliams

"I think one of the biggest difficulties that I've seen as an MS specialist is that many of my patients don't recognize that they have a voice. They have a say. They are part of the healthcare team."


Tyler Campbell

"When I looked at my MS diagnosis, to get down that path of finding my voice, [I realized] my MS diagnosis is unique. Why? Because there's never been another Tyler Campbell, and no other voice can tell or share it or walk through it like I can."


Victoria Reese

Victoria Reese is Co-Founder and CEO of We Are Ill, a nonprofit organization for Black women with MS that provides support, sisterhood, and a space to learn from one another. "By being as knowledgeable as possible about your illness, you can be an active decision-maker in the healthcare setting, and one day feel empowered to say I have MS but MS does not have me.


Damian Washington

"It's part of the culture, this wariness of the medical profession for various well-documented reasons for hundreds of years...However, I'm the type of person who needs results, needs answers, now. I will go to whatever to get them. So...history was unimportant to me. I was going to get answers and facts, and the only way I was going to do that was if I went after them strong and confidently."


Additional Resources

Read more on why inequalities in MS exist and strategies you can use to overcome them. 

These Conversation Starters can help when you're not sure what to say

We Are Ill 

This program is possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.