Academic Excellence - MSfit Opens For People Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Academic Excellence - MSfit Opens For People Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Msfit is the brainchild of WSSU alumnus and former WSSU employee Brian Murrill, whose mother Patsy Murrill is living with multiple sclerosis. A teacher at North Hills Elementary School, she was diagnosed with MS in 1995.

Physical Therapy just one part of MSfit"It's been a challenging yet rewarding experience seeing this program come together.  I originally came up with this concept in January of 2013 to honor my mother. My original goal was to create a program that would directly address the physical and emotional needs of people living with MS," said Brian, who received a certification in Non-Profit Management from Wake Forest University School of Business in spring 2014.

He said since 2013 his organization has developed key partnerships with the Gateway YWCA, National MS Society, and the WSSU Department of Physical Therapy.

Here is his view of the future for the program. "Today we have three main objectives: the first one is to provide the MS community with a free fitness and wellness program that is designed to improve the quality of life of our participants and their families. The second one is to take the results from our program and share them with physicians to better understand the role fitness and wellness plays in managing MS.  The last one is to create an opportunity for graduate level PT students to get hands on experience working with our participants.  MS is the most common disabling neurological disease of young adults in the U.S.  It is our hope to grow this program and improve the overall quality of life of as many participants as we can.  When you support MSfit, you are empowering people to move beyond their MS by giving them the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors, actively co-manage their disease and live their best lives through health and wellness," Brian said.

This unique program combines range of motion, aquatic, aerobic, and balance exercises.  Other program activities include wellness, nutrition, and general MS education.

Since MSfit announced the launch of the program in October, it has received an overwhelming response from potential participants.  The program officially opened its doors to participants on January 26 at the Gateway YWCA in Winston-Salem.

Dr. Sara Migliarese, a physical therapy professor at WSSU, said, “The WSSU Department of Physical Therapy is excited about the partnership with MSfit. Our third-year students performed the fitness screenings and developed exercise programs for the clients with MS based on their abilities. 

"Under the supervision of DPT faculty, the students will educate each client on safe and effective exercise using the YWCA facilities, classes and equipment.  This service-learning opportunity will benefit the students, as well as the clients, and the WSSU PT Club is already involved in early fundraising activities to help support the MSfit Foundation and cover the cost of the YWCA memberships for the MS clients. WSSU is committed to the success and sustainability of this community service," Migliarese continued. 

As a part of their coursework, the WSSU Department of PT will return to the Gateway YWCA once a month to reevaluate participants and document their successes.

For more information on MSfit and how you can support contact

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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