More MS news articles for July 2001

New MS center chief a boost to research

Steven Beall succeeds Ben Thrower at Holy Family

Thursday, June 28, 2001
Carla K. Johnson - Staff writer

Multiple sclerosis expert Dr. Steven Beall is taking over the medical director post at the fast-growing Holy Family Hospital MS Center.

The center opened in February 1999 and now serves 2,000 MS patients from six states.

Beall succeeds center founder Dr. Ben Thrower, who took a similar job at Shepherd Center, a hospital in Atlanta.

Beall's appointment was announced Wednesday. He is a neurologist and clinical researcher at the University of British Columbia MS Center in Vancouver. He completed training fellowships at the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"Because of his national and international connections, Dr. Beall will bring more scientific research to the center on top of the trial studies we already participate in," said center administrative director Zo Woods.

Trial studies involve new drugs and devices. Scientific research looks for possible causes and cures.

Beall is expected to help the Spokane center develop its patient database as a resource for researchers, Woods said.

"We will be able to identify early and quickly candidates for various research opportunities," Woods said.

The University of British Columbia is well-regarded for its MS research, particularly its magnetic resonance imaging studies, said Robert Hansen, president of the Inland Northwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Thrower will be missed and was "100 percent instrumental" in getting the Holy Family MS Center started, Hansen said.

"Unless someone else like him had come along, it wouldn't have happened," Hansen said. "We'd been working on it for 10 years. It needed that degree of professionalism and commitment from a neurologist to make it happen."

The center coordinates not only health care and other services for patients, but also local participation in research.

The center provides rehabilitation services, nursing care, social services, disability specialists, mental health counselors and physician care.

It is located in the North Spokane Medical Building, 5901 N. Lidgerwood, just north of Holy Family Hospital.

The center is evaluated annually by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Thrower served on the board of the local chapter of the society for six years, two of those years as chairman. He received the chapter's highest honor, the Hopechest Award, for outstanding volunteer service in 1998. He now serves on the national clinical advisory committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.