Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 11:11 a.m. Epilepsy Awareness

Well, first of all, I did not want to miss the opportunity to make use of this unique date and time!  So, I am using it as an eye catching title for this week’s blog entry.  Now that I have your attention…  November is national Epilepsy Awareness Month!

        I have been thinking about opportunities for community outreach within our profession.  Last Saturday, Nov. 5th, I attended the 50th Anniversary Meeting of NESET (the New England Society of Neurodiagnostic Technologists) in downtown Boston.  I had been involved in the planning of the program for this meeting for the past six months.  We decided to include a community service outreach as part of the program.  So, we titled the educational event “Epilepsy Awareness Day”, and included local first responders on our invitation list.  We chose topics that might be of interest to EMTs for the 4 morning lectures, and applied to the local EMT governance organization for CUEs for EMTs who attended.  We offered the morning program free of charge to EMTs.  We included presentations on seizure and non-epileptic event differentiation, SUDEP, and TBI/Post Traumatic Epilepsy.  We were pleased to see EMTs signing up for the session, and had positive feedback from them, regarding the interest and value of the program.  I encourage other regional societies to consider doing the same.  Typically, EMTs can accrue their CEUs in the local community, free of charge, so this was important to our EMT attendees.  We also felt that we were serving our epilepsy patients, by helping first responders understand some of the complications surrounding epilepsy.

ASET has also recently found an opportunity for community outreach.  We were contacted by staff at Dell’s Children’s Hospital in Texas.  There neurodiagnostic lab was working on a project to bring several technologist trainees up from the Caribbean to train at their facility, so that they can provide better neurodiagnostic services back on their home islands.  Funding for the project was provided by the North American Regional Commission, a representative of the International League Against Epilepsy.  Various organizations are involved, to cover educational costs, travel and housing, and physicians from the institution have volunteered their time to assist in the training and education of these technologists.  ASET is pleased to announce that we will play an active part in this outreach program, and will provide some of our on-line EEG courses, for their use, free of charge.

ASET has been involved in community outreach in the past.  At our 2008 annual conference in New Orleans, we hosted an “Epilepsy Awareness Day” to interface with local residents, many of whom lost their connections with their neurologists following Hurricane Katrina.  This was also a rewarding effort, and ASET will continue to seek opportunities to expand our horizons and help others.  I encourage you to do the same, on a personal level, as a volunteer, or donor to a meaningful charity, or as part of a community outreach through your local society.

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