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Understanding Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Needs

Dr. Malachy Bishop has received a $329,000 research grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to increase understanding of what people with multiple sclerosis (MS) want from their health care.

Malachy Bishop
Dr. Malachy Bishop

Previous studies have shown health care works best when patients participate in its design and delivery. However, the health care priorities and preferences of people with MS are not well understood. Bishop and his team are conducting research to explore what types of health care people with MS want, how well these expectations are being met, and ways to provide better health care for all people with MS.

The research team is conducting a series of projects, including a nationwide survey of 3,000 people with MS and National MS Society members, to determine how well different health care settings and health care professionals are meeting their needs and expectations. They are also exploring whether people have different health care priorities and needs based on such characteristics as their age, general health, ethnicity, educational level, where they live, and type of MS.

The team includes collaborators from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Florida Atlantic University-Boca Raton. The team will provide the National MS Society with an action plan and recommendations for optimizing MS health care through increased understanding of and attention to the priorities and preferences of people with MS.

Bishop is a professor and doctoral program coordinator in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bishop conducts research primarily in the areas of quality of life, adaptation to disability, and the psychosocial aspects of living with MS and other chronic neurological conditions. Bishop has served as an appointed member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of the Epilepsies, and is past recipient of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association’s Research Award and the National Council on Rehabilitation Education’s New Career Award. He has authored more than 90 professional journal articles and book chapters in rehabilitation and health care, edited 3 books, and made over 60 research and training presentations throughout the U.S. and internationally. He is an editorial consultant for several professional journals including the Journal of Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education.

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