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Dignity Health John A. Schafer, MD Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Northern California residents living with the Multiple Sclerosis served 

Sacramento, CA (March, 2024) — During Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Dignity Health John A. Schafer, MD Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center (MSAC) celebrates an important milestone this year marking the tenth year they have been providing their services. The MSAC’s mission is to provide members and loved ones with information, support and care to help deal with the challenges of multiple sclerosis. 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects about 400,000 people in the U.S. MS results from an attack by the immune system on the myelin in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Multiple sclerosis most often appears for the first time in young adults and much less commonly in children and in the elderly. MS can be very difficult to diagnose properly because the symptoms are the same as those of many other diseases.

Upon enrollment to the program, each person’s specific needs are identified by the MSAC staff and their progress is monitored on an ongoing basis. When MSAC first began offering their services they had just 10 members and have since grown into an active community of 77. Over the last 10 years MSAC has served 247 people living with Multiple Sclerosis through the Empowered to Achieve and Achieving Wellness programs. 

“The programs we offer can help in the respect that they keep people mobile, healthy and informed about their condition. Our concern is that if multiple sclerosis patients decrease their activity level due to loss of function, they can develop other conditions,” said Brian Hutchinson, John A. Schafer, MD Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center Director. “MSAC provides members with the necessary resources and support for living a healthier life while building a sense of community and inclusion.” 

In August, 2023 the center’s name was officially changed to the John A. Schafer, MD Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center. The name was changed in honor of Dr. John Schafer, whose vision, dedication and generosity was instrumental in establishing and sustaining the MSAC in its first 10 years. “Through staff and member support, the members can learn to reduce stress and improve emotional status,” said Dr. John A. Schafer. “Looking back at the last 10 years our program has grown so much and been a great deal of help to the people in our community. The difference it has made in their lives and my own, to see the progress of our members and the services we now provide speaks volumes to what MSAC has to offer.” 

One of the center’s most recognized annual events is the MSAC Virtual Marathon where runners of the CIM are joined by dozens of individuals living with MS virtually as they pedal on stationary equipment and log their collective progress. Members gather at MSAC to engage in physical activity and focus on their health in a friendly, team oriented environment. 

Notable dates and accomplishments:

  • February 20, 2014- First day of 5 hour Empowered to Achieve program 
  • July, 2014- Added second day of Empowered to Achieve program 
  • March, 2015- Added third day of Empowered to Achieve program 
  • April, 2015- First Supporting our Loved Ones support partner group programs 
  • May, 2015- First Book Club 
  • June, 2015- First Writing As Healing workshop 
  • September, 2015- First ‘Road Show’ program in Chico 
  • December, 2015- First MSAC Marathon 
  • April, 2016- Living well with MS 12 week programs 
  • January, 2017- Launched ongoing Achieving Wellness program (a continuation of the Living Well with MS program) 
  • 2018 - Labe C. Scheinberg Award for Best Work in Neurorehabilitation, Poster Award 
  • March, 2019- peak membership at 91 members 

To learn more about the John A. Schafer, MD Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center, visit


About Dignity Health 

Dignity Health is a multi-state nonprofit network of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and 400-plus care-centers, including community hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. Dignity Health is a part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system committed to advancing health for all people and dedicated to serving the common good. For more information, please visit our website at

Publish date: 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

For Media and Press Related Inquiries

Media Contact: 

Lindsay Leszczynski 
External Communications Manager
[email protected]