Hello and let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Jim McAuley and I am the Clinical Pharmacist in our Multidisciplinary Epilepsy Clinic and a consultant to our High-Risk OB clinic at Ohio State University.
At this time of year especially, I like to look forward. For example, as I prepare to travel to the American Epilepsy Society meeting later this week (December 5th-9th 2014), I find myself looking forward. I look forward to learning from others so that I can better help patients and families affected by epilepsy. I look forward to connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. As a matter of fact, this meeting is an anniversary for me and this organization – MyEpilepsyStory. For it was at this meeting in 2013 that my friend Dr. Cynthia Harden introduced me to Brandy. After spending time at the meeting last year getting to know Brandy and learning about her goals and aspirations for this non-profit organization, I knew I wanted to help. At that point one year ago, I looked forward to working with Brandy and MyEpilepsyStory. Brandy and I became fast-friends and she invited me to serve as an Advisory Board Member. I’ve had the great fortune to co-present with Brandy on two occasions this past year. I’ve learned a lot from her and look forward to continue to working with Brandy and MyEpilepsyStory in the years to come.
To me, looking forward includes the notion of gaining new knowledge so I can better serve patients and their families. When I head to Seattle later this week for the 68th Annual American Epilepsy Society meeting, I will spend some of that travel time perusing the program book for which posters I will visit and which talks I hope to attend. In keeping with MyEpilepsyStory’s mission of “advocating, researching and educating for women and children living with epilepsy”, I’ve already searched the online database for papers being presented at this meeting on women’s issues. I found 13 posters I want to visit and learn more about their research projects. The topics range from pregnancy (6), reproductive issues (3), contraception (2), hormonally-sensitive seizures (1) and mechanisms behind drug-induced harm to developing babies (1). Additionally, there are scheduled live talks on women’s issues, including talks by Experts from this organization’s Board Members. There is even one session on “Controversies in Caring for Women with Epilepsy” examining the best available evidence in addressing key women’s issues in epilepsy. In summary, I look forward to learning from others through these multiple offerings. After the meeting, I look forward to interacting with women in our clinics and sharing with them the information I gained from the 2014 American Epilepsy Society meeting.
Though these presentations reflect progress in women’s issues in epilepsy, there is much to be done in advocating for, researching for and educating for women and children living with epilepsy. I look forward to being part of the effort made by MyEpilepsyStory. After all, looking forward is good, status quo is not.