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Epilepsy event to educate, encourage families

by Mary Helen Yarborough
Public Relations
Despite enjoying the services of MUSC’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, patients and their families in the Lowcountry area are generally removed from networking opportun-ities and support systems available in other cities.
MUSC’s team of epilepsy specialists intends to change that with the first-ever gathering expressly for epilepsy patients, their friends and family.
 “It’s just a time for patients and families and other health care providers to come for an informal program,” said Janelle Wagner, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center team member. “We are trying to raise awareness about epilepsy and resources in the Lowcountry; we also want to encourage families to mingle with each other.”
The primary goal is to create an epilepsy network and encourage families to get involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of South Carolina and discuss the current legislative work regarding epilepsy in our state, Wagner said.
The center, which is the only Level 4 (advanced care) epilepsy center in the state, is working with the S.C. epilepsy foundation to generate community and patient interest in coming together where they will be provided information and encouraged to ask questions about their concerns.
“We plan to talk about Epilepsy Foundation programs, fundraising, and epilepsy research in South Carolina,” Wagner said.
In addition, Wagner said the Lowcountry epilepsy community could influence decisions of the foundation’s legislative committee, created through the Epilepsy Act 168, which is preparing a report on the needs of persons with epilepsy.
Between 1  percent and 2 percent of South Carolinians have epilepsy.
“I cannot emphasize enough how unique the issues persons with epilepsy and their families deal with each day in this state,” said pediatric nurse practitioner, Gigi Smith, who is part of the clinical team. “We not only want to be a sounding board and share info about things we are doing to try to help with this, but also encourage families to get involved and be heard and seen.”
The meeting will be held 6-8 p.m. May 8 in Room 214, College of Nursing. Refreshments will be provided.
More information about the epilepsy bill can be found at
For information on MUSC’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, go to,


Friday, May 2, 2008
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