The best way to find a neurologist is certainly a recommendation from a person’s primary care physician. So oftentimes your primary care physician will have a good relationship with people in the area and know a good neurologist to refer to. If you’re looking specifically for an MS specialist, the MS Society has a directory of centers of excellence for Multiple Sclerosis. So you can go to their website, plug in your zip code, and it will give you a list of MS centers that are closest to you.
And oftentimes a person will have a local neurologist and an MS specialist. So I may have many patients that will come and see me once or twice a year and then they’ll have a local neurologist, especially if they live an hour or more away, who will handle some of those issues if they’re having a relapse or need hospitalization or need other things very quickly. We partnered together to make sure that we’re taking care of that person’s MS, holistically.
When you think about looking for a good neurologist, many people don’t necessarily have access to a specialty center and many general neurologists are very good at treating multiple sclerosis. One of the most important things I think is to make sure that you have a good rapport, a good relationship with that physician because you will be telling them about very intimate things about your life and you may have to see them very regularly, especially early on in diagnosis. So making sure that you feel comfortable with your physician or healthcare provider is extremely important.
Also, make sure that they do know something about the different treatments for multiple sclerosis or at least have someone that they can consult with or contact if they have questions about treatment. And then finally make sure you have someone that listens to you and listens to your concerns because MS is a disease that’s very dynamic and just as our lives are dynamic and we change over time, your needs can change over time. And so you must have someone who can change with you and know the new advancements that are going on and be able to adjust if your treatment needs change.
Dr. Mitzi Joi Williams is a top neurologist and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Specialist in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and her Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Williams completed her internship and residency in neurology as well as a Clinical Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. Dr. Williams has a strong interest in understanding and furthering research in MS in ethnic minority populations. She is a sought-after speaker and presenter and has discussed her research both nationally and internationally at various scientific meetings. She has spearheaded and participated in multiple Steering Committees and Work Groups to further research in underserved populations with MS. She also has recently increased involvement in efforts to increase diversity in clinical research and educate the community about the importance of research participation. Dr. Williams is the author of MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis. Because of her passion for teaching and advocacy.