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Doctor urges African Americans with multiple sclerosis to sign up for national registry

A Portland doctor wants African Americans with Multiple Sclerosis to sign up for a national registry that will help with future research and treatments.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland doctor is working hard to get African Americans to join a registry for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr. Stanley Cohan is the medical director at the Multiple Sclerosis Institute at Providence. He said Black people make up 13% of the population in the United States, but only 1% of the clinical studies.

Clinical trials are important for treatment and progress of MS, an autoimmune disease that damages the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. That's why the National African Americans with Multiple Sclerosis Registry was created, to collect data.

The registry will work to enroll Black patients across the country who have the disease and identify what barriers they face. This will allow providers to develop specific strategies, such as telemedicine, to help eliminate inequities and access to care. 

"The whole purpose of this registry ... is to improve the care and access to care for African Americans with MS," Cohan said.

Cohan hopes to have 20,000 people in the registry by 2023. All information shared on the registry will be private. You must use Google Chrome to access the website.