Teresa Frohman, PA-C authors multiple sclerosis book for physician assistants
By Julie Kirchem, Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics
DALLAS - June 13, 2011 - Teresa Frohman, PA-C, Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at UT Southwestern, recently published a book that will serve as a valuable resource for physician assistants and others who work with MS patients. Frohman is co-author of Multiple Sclerosis for the Physician Assistant. She brought together the contributions of a large group of experts on MS from UT Southwestern for the 160-page text.
"All of the book chapters are from UT Southwestern faculty, our nurses, social workers, neuro-opthalmic technicians," Frohman said. "We also reached out to the American Academy of Physician Assistants and they were very excited about it. It was a long time in coming."
Frohman started work on the book while she was studying at UT Southwestern to become a PA. Her goal was to create a primer that PA's could carry around while visiting with patients, an idea that coincided with the educational efforts of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which wanted to create a resource for physician assistants.
The practical, pocket-sized guide covers every major symptom an MS patient may experience, as well as information on diagnosis and treatment.
"The book covers everything from how do you diagnose, what do you look for to diagnose, MRIs that would be typical of MS," Frohman said. "Once you diagnose, how do you go about treating, what is the first line of treatments, what are the treatments for exacerbations? What if you blow through all the treatments and nothing is working, what are the X-file drugs?"
Frohman says the primer is also for nurses and residents who work with MS patients and can be useful to physicians who have only a few MS patients.
"We wanted to make sure the material wasn't too complicated that it would push people away, but also not too remedial, and I think we've reached a fine balance."
One reason Frohman geared the book toward physician assistants is because they are integral in the care of MS patients.
"MS is a chronic care disease. It's really a disease where we may have patients that we see every month and it's impossible for the physician to make themselves available for all those treatment visits," she said. "So how we do it in the MS clinic is that in between doctor visits, the patient will see our physician assistants and nurse practitioners."
Frohman has worked with patients at the UT Southwestern MS Clinic for the past 13 years as Clinical Research Director. Her interaction with patients led her to pursue her P.A. so that she could become more involved in patient care.
"Our patients really become part of you. You get to know them, get to know their families. I couldn't imagine not doing it," Frohman said.
Ultimately, Frohman's book will benefit MS patients by giving physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other caregivers ready access to well-vetted information and methods.