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Task Force on Combination Therapy, and the Task Force on Clinico-Pathological Correlates of the MS Lesion.

In 1987, the society formalized a program to attract proposals in management, care, and rehabilitation. These research grants are of one to five years' duration. In 1988, an HCDP research program was developed to fund studies on access, quality and funding of health care and quality of life for people with MS and/or family members. In FY 1996, HCDP research began to focus on large contracts addressing society-established priorities.

Research to find the cause of MS and its cure is only one of several roles of the National MS Society. The society also supports professional and public education, legislative advocacy, information referral, and programs to help people with MS cope with their disease.

The society counts on the voluntary services of members of six advisory panels and numerous task forces to help determine which projects are worthy of support. One panel, the Research Programs Advisory Committee, provides oversight and helps direct the society's overall research programs. This senior committee is an international panel that includes top basic and clinical MS researchers and lay leaders who are members of the society's National Board of Directors.

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FIGURE 7.1 Relationship between NIH disease-specific research funding in 1996 and disability-adjusted life-years for 29 conditions. The axes are drawn to logarithmic scale. The line represents funding predicted on the basis of a linear regression with disability-adjusted life-years as the explanatory variable. A disability-adjusted life-year is a summary measure of population health status that represents the burden of disease in the form of lost years of healthy life due to either disability or premature death. SOURCE: Gross et al., 1999.8 Copyright 1999 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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