HealthCentral MS Social Ambassador, Patient Expert, MS Advocate, Musician
A passionate concern and desire to help others are just two qualities that define Lisa Emrich. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2005, and then Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in 2007—two devastating blows for anyone—but for a professional pianist, horn player, and music teacher, especially crushing. Lisa experienced temporary blindness in one eye due to MS, and RA caused weakness and crippling pain in her hands. Both conditions not only threatened her health, but also her livelihood as a self-employed professional musician.
Lisa quickly discovered that very few resources existed to help her understand and manage her conditions, and to learn to navigate the healthcare and insurance systems. So she decided to chart them, not just for herself, but for everyone else with the same conditions to help others with the same challenges she was facing.
Lisa founded the “Carnival of MS Bloggers,” which became one of the best-known MS blogger communities online, to feature patient stories and connect the MS community to various treatment options. Her first-hand experience allowed her to benefit others, and she was so successful, that in 2016, Healthline recognized Lisa’s blog as a top destination for MS patients. Additionally, Lisa’s blog, “Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA” received countless awards including “Top 18 Multiple Sclerosis Blogs” and “Best Patient Weblog” by medGadget.
An accomplished speaker, Lisa has also brought the patient voice to healthcare conferences and meetings worldwide. Her recent speaking engagements include: “iConquerMSTM Patient-Powered Research: Kicking Butt and Taking No Names in the Fight Against Disease,” presented at the HealthDataPalooza conference in D.C. in June 2015; and “Turning Passion into Employment,” presented at the 1st International MS Patient Summit in Zurich, Switzerland in 2012.
As a dedicated patient advocate, Lisa now devotes much of her time to these endeavors, including as an MS Social Ambassador and Live Bold, Live Now Hero for HealthCentral. She continues to use her experience and influence to connect people—empowering patients with MS and RA the world over.