National MS Society recognizes UCI Health for innovation, exceptional care

One of only four Centers for MS Comprehensive Care in California

October 07, 2016

The National MS Society’s Partners in MS Care program has again recognized UCI Health as a provider of exceptional and innovative patient care by recertifying it as an official Center for MS Comprehensive Care. This formal recognition honors UC Irvine’s continuing partnership with the Society and commitment to addressing the challenges of people affected by multiple sclerosis.  It is Orange County’s only MS Comprehensive Care Center.

“It is a privilege to provide the highest level of care to those living with MS,” said Dr. Ardith Courtney, medical director of the UCI Health Multiple Sclerosis Program. “UC Irvine has a long record of innovative MS research and a daily commitment to compassionate care by our staff, nurses and physicians.”

The program, based at the Gottschalk Medical Plaza on the Irvine campus, is one of only four in California to have earned this designation. In 2009, UCI Health received a collaborative MS research center award from the National MS Society, making it among the few institutions in the U.S. to be honored by the organization for both research and patient care excellence. In 2011, the society certified UC Irvine as an official Center for MS Comprehensive Care. The program annually treats more than 3,700 MS patients.

In addition to Courtney, the UCI Health Multiple Sclerosis Program team includes:

The society’s designation of Centers for Comprehensive MS Care recognizes the need for patients with multiple sclerosis to have access to a full array of medical, psycho-social and rehabilitation services to address the varied and often complex issues related to living with MS, a chronic disease. This approach encourages a focus on the total care of the patient with MS and facilitates flexibility in operations and staffing for a variety of specialties and expertise, but upholding sites to a critical focus on coordinated and comprehensive MS care.

UC Irvine’s MS program—one of the country’s earliest and most successful—was founded by Dr. Stanley van den Noort, a towering presence in neurology and former dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine whose tireless efforts brought tremendous relief to many. He was the first chief medical officer of the National MS Society, and his influence on patient care practices is still felt today.

For information about this program, please visit

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. In 2011 alone, through our national office and 50-state network of chapters, we devoted $164 million to programs and services that improved the lives of more than one million people. To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $40 million to support more than 325 new and ongoing research projects around the world. We are people who want to do something about MS now.  For information about the National MS Society, visit or call 800-344-4867.

About Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and over 2.1 million worldwide.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 16 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit