OSSD President’s Message by Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D.        

Rhonda Voskuhl M.D. is the current President of the OSSD. She holds the Jack H. Skirball Chair and is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and the Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. The author of this proverb is unknown, yet it has been spoken worldwide for centuries dating back to Plato. 2020 catapulted this old saying into the new age, the age of now. The tremendous challenges of 2020 gave birth to innovative solutions for everything from unprecedented vaccine development to how we as researchers interact with lab members and how we as physicians interact with patients. “Zoom”, like “Coke”, is no longer a company name, it is a part of life.

At OSSD we are excited about our Virtual OSSD annual meeting coming in May 3-6, 2021. Our Keynote speakers include Dr. Janine Clayton of the National Institutes of Health who will speak about research using sex as a biologic variable (SABV) and Dr. Roberta Brinton of the University of Arizona who will give research updates in Alzheimer’s Disease. Symposia from an extraordinary compilation of outstanding professors awaits. Our new Virtual platform and expanded list of award capabilities will provide infrastructure to support more researchers and trainees than ever before. In the coming months, we will roll out the details! While Virtual OSSD was indeed spawned by necessity, the ultimate result will be a highly innovative meeting with significant advancements. I expect that in years after the pandemic, many novel Virtual aspects will remain as adjuncts to future in-person OSSD meetings.

On a more personal note, as 2020 ends and the Holiday season begins, I would like to convey another message. It is one I learned from taking care of multiple sclerosis patients. While some have paralysis, others have blindness, and yet others coordination or cognitive difficulties, an inspiring shared aspect shines through. They have learned to live life focusing on what they can do, not what they can’t do. Most all of us have lost loved ones or very important facets of our lives in 2020. During this Holiday season, let us cherish what we have lost and in so doing hold even closer and with more appreciation and thanks what we still have … for “This too shall pass”.




Rhonda Voskuhl, MD