On March 30, 2012 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on the public health dimensions of epilepsy. Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding has a number of recommendations to engage people in advocacy. The goal as always is to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy. Recommendations include:
- improving access to care
- coordinating public awareness efforts
- greater education about epilepsy for people living with the disorder and their caregivers
- engaging people in advocacy for improved epilepsy care and services
The Canadian connection
The IOM is an American-based independent, nonprofit organization that provides authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. Despite being rooted in the United States, the report includes Canadian data. As such, many of the findings apply to Canadians just as much as it concerns our American neighbours.
Canadian epilepsy experts take an active role in the IOM, offering their input for reports such as this one. Among these experts are:
- Dr. Lionel Carmant
- pediatric epilepsy specialist at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montréal and neuroscience researcher with the Université de Montréal
- a member of the committee that reviewed the evidence and prepared the IOM report
- Dr. Nathalie Jetté and Dr. Samuel Wiebe
- members of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Programme at Foothills Hospital in Calgary
- among the experts who reviewed a draft of the report
The IOM report makes reference to the National Population Health Study on Neurological Conditions, an on-going study conducted by researchers across Canada. Epilepsy is one of the 14 priority neurological conditions of this health study.
Epilepsy Across the Spectrum
The main themes of the report are:
- Epilepsy is a common and complex neurological disorder.
- Epilepsy often affects quality of life.
- Whole-patient perspective needed.
- Effective treatments available but access falls short.
- Data is needed to improve epilepsy knowledge and care and to inform policy.
- Strengthen health professionals’ education.
- Bolster education efforts for people with epilepsy and their families.
- Eliminate stigma.