By Ed Coghlan.
In what could be a small but dramatic step to improve treatment and education of fibromyalgia, the Fibromyalgia Care Society of America (FCSA) announced it is launching a Fibromyalgia Center of Excellent Program (COE).
The FSCA, founded in 2015, has raised the funding necessary to identify and help fund the first COE aimed at the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Letters of interest will be requested in early January. They hope to have the program operational by mid-2019.
FSCA Board President and founder Mildred Velez said medical centers and the physicians who treat fibromyalgia are encouraged to reply.
“We think we can start something here that can help the medical community at large to understand and treat each fibromyalgia patient with his or her own care plan,” Velez told the National Pain Report.
She acknowledged that the first COE will essentially be an experiment to prove that the approach works, and that additional funding can be generated to extend the program nationally.
According to the Journal of American Medicine, a health care center of excellence can be established by a medical specialty’s professional society, a government entity such as the National Cancer Institute, or a consumer group organized in response to a disease like FSCA.
“Fibromyalgia receives a lot of stigma and lack of empathy from the medical community and the community at large,” she said. “Conditions and diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s all have institutions and therapeutic approaches devoted to research, coordinated clinical care and treatment. Up until now, there have been no concerted efforts to do this for fibromyalgia.”
“I was very fortunate to arrive at my diagnosis very early into developing symptoms because my mother has fibromyalgia” said Francisco Martinez, a US Marine. “There are millions out there who aren’t so fortunate.”
How many people have fibromyalgia?
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, the disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women —75-90 percent of the people who have FM are women — it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups.