Margie O'Leary Receives Nightingale Award from IOMSN

Pittsburgh, PA, December 7, 2022 – Margie O’Leary, MSN, RN, MSCN, has been awarded the Nightingale Award from the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN). The award is a special annual project on behalf of IOMSN to recognize the important role that nursing professionals play in the lives of multiple sclerosis patients. Each nursing professional that receives this award has made a significant contribution to multiple sclerosis nursing.

The Nightingale Award is presented with funding support from EMD Serono. With the funding from her award, O’Leary and her colleagues had the resources to buy materials and rent space to launch a free-to-attend pilot program of clinical education, MS-focused lifestyle tips and supportive community for Black women with MS. The eight-week program of two-hour weekly modules included one hour of topic-specific education, thirty minutes of exercise and thirty minutes of yoga; topics will included overcoming racial challenges within MS care, managing emotional health, healthy eating, exercise, community program and support, and disease and symptom management.

O’Leary says she was previously inspired by a Department of Neurology Grand Rounds presentation on racial disparity in healthcare by Jennings Gyedu, DO. With the timing of that presentation and the grant, O’Leary knew it was a project she was meant to move forward with. “Young Black women with multiple sclerosis have difficulty managing their healthcare for many different reasons… childcare, scheduling time off from work, financial challenges, etc.,” says O’Leary. “Everyday, I see the lived experience of their struggles and their lack of follow-up in the healthcare system, which makes it harder for them to acquire and maintain the care they need.”

The program was free to attend in order to encourage regular participation all eight weeks as well as to feel connected to a supportive community that understands the multiple sclerosis journey.

To learn more about the 2022 Nightingale Awards, please visit IOMSN’s website.