Independence Care System’s (ICS) Senior Vice President of Clinical Programs and Population Health Rachael Stacom was recently recognized as a Hope Honoree by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the organization’s Dinner of Champions.
Rachael—who was joined by ICS colleagues, friends and family—was honored at the event at the Grand Hyatt NYC in Manhattan on September 17. The annual Dinner of Champions is the National MS Society’s premier gala that pays tribute to the vast network of generous corporations, organizations and volunteer leaders dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Rachael is a multiple sclerosis-certified nurse practitioner who created ICS’ MS program, which has been designated an MS Society Partner in Care. During her speech, Rachael detailed how she made a career change from an oncology/bone marrow transplant nurse to a care manager at ICS after caring for a man with a disability who received sub-standard medical services because he relied on a wheelchair for mobility.
It was that experience that inspired Rachael to become an advocate of people with disabilities, and she eventually found her home at ICS.
“I was drawn to ICS because they offered programs and services for people with disabilities so they could remain not just in their home, but with the right supports to be mobile and active in their community,” she said.
Discussing MS and people with disabilities
Rachael immediately noticed the high rate of people ICS cared for with MS, and she later earned a fellowship through the National MS Society where she learned about MS in an academic medical center and traveled the country to witness the different aspects of care delivery.
“It was interesting to see where the worlds of MS center/clinic-based health care connected with home and community-based supports, and where they were oceans apart,” she said, citing the care of people with advanced MS as an example.
Supporting people with advanced MS
In remarks at the Dinner of Champions, Rachael thanked the National MS Society for what she considered a tremendous honor, and emphasized that although much progress has been made to enhance the lives of people living with MS, there is more work to be done, especially for people living with advanced MS.
“This award is without a doubt a testament to the kindness and generosity of people who have helped me throughout my career,” she said. “I am a reflection of family, friends, coworkers, and organizations like the National MS Society and ICS that believed in my potential and invested in me.”
Rachael added: “I hope one takeaway that everyone in the room leaves with is an expanded awareness of what it means to help people living with MS and continue to support and honor wonderful organizations like the National MS Society and ICS that are dedicated to helping people with advanced MS get the support that they need to restore joy in their lives.”