fbpx Our plans for the future | Overcoming MS

How we built our plans

“I really enjoyed the workshop on Friday: not only because it was a pleasure to meet, listen to and talk with a group of such inspiring people, but also because I felt that the conversation developed some very useful ideas and possible directions for OMS - and was very worthwhile”, Helen, OMSer, Wales, UK

To develop our new strategy, in autumn 2020 we organised four community focused Theory of Change workshops. 25 community members, representative of different types of MS, diverse backgrounds and geographies, worked as equal partners with the OMS team, to help us define what our success will look like, what change is needed to achieve our goals, what assumptions we're making, what activities are needed to achieve our vision and required resources. We spoke with healthcare professionals, colleagues from other MS focused organisations and other charities, alongside analysis of data available to us.

Here is some of the feedback we received that we will work hard to address over the next three years:

  • We need to be even more inclusive
  • Our language and resources need to be more tailored to diverse audiences
  • We need to hold people’s hand to help them adopt the programme recognising that lifestyle change is not easy
  • We need to work with Healthcare Providers and systems to alleviate pressure
  • We need to influence change so that lifestyle modification approaches become more widely accepted
  • We need to be more open to emerging new evidence in the international research community as to the efficacy of lifestyle and self-management approaches
  • We need to build a bridge between community of people with MS and researchers.

As a result of this extensive engagement exercise, we formulated our new strategic framework 2021-23 and a new business plan 2021. 

Our measures of success will focus on meaningful community growth and engagement, positive impact on OMSer quality of life in a broad range of areas, expanding funding sources, productive partnerships and effective campaigns to help make healthy lifestyle approaches widely acceptable and accessible.

We will continually review, refine and further develop our strategy and approaches, as we gather more feedback from the communities we serve, learn from what works well and strive to improve.

strategic goals

Our three-year plan

Looking ahead to the next three years, Overcoming MS will continue its drive to be the world’s leading multiple sclerosis healthy lifestyle charity.

The path ahead of us is uncertain, but we will work our hardest to respond to and fulfil the needs of our communities.

2021 will be marked with significant organizational development, focused on:

  • Getting to know the OMS community better so we can support them fully;
  • Welcoming new colleagues to the team, new Trustees to the OMS Board and further growing the number of committed volunteers so that we’re ready to face the challenges ahead and explore new opportunities;
  • Building new and strengthening our existing partnerships with healthcare and patient-focused organisations and communities, in recognition that we are stronger together
  • Developing and launching a new fundraising strategy so that we can grow as a charity and with bigger impact.

Our values will guide all of our activities and projects over the coming three years and beyond.

1. Inform

We will ensure people affected by MS are fully informed about evidence-based ways to help self-manage multiple sclerosis

What we’ll be doing:

  • Listening to the diverse OMS community to make sure we understand and serve their current and future needs better.
  • Developing and launching a new webinar series, focusing on topics most relevant to the OMS community.
  • Airing a new season of the Living Well with MS podcast including special series such as Coffee Break, to keep our communities connected.
  • Testing and introducing the new OMS smartphone app to help our community adopt and better follow the OMS program.
  • With the better understanding of our community needs, we will be developing new support initiatives such as a digital helpline, whole family-focused support and peer-to-peer mentoring.
  • Presenting Prof Jelinek’s new book “Roadmap to OMS” offering fresh and diverse perspectives on living well with the OMS approach.
  • Expanding our informative events offering as soon as the external environment allows, to inform both people with MS and healthcare professionals of the benefits of MS self-management


What we’ll be hoping to achieve:

  • More people will be aware of the work of OMS and the impact we achieve.
  • Informed of the benefits of MS self-management, more people with MS will be following the OMS program worldwide.
  • We will have introduced more personalised and practical information resources to make the OMS program even more accessible to people with MS and their families, across diverse communities.
  • More OMS information resources will be distributed across treatment centers.
  • More healthcare professionals will be supportive of holistic self-care in the treatment of people with MS, alongside medical therapies.
  • The OMS website hosting our digital information resources will be considered the go-to platform for practical, current and relevant evidence-based healthy lifestyle advice.
  • More people with MS following the OMS program, will be reporting positive health outcomes.
  • More people with MS following the OMS program, will be recommending OMS to their family and friends.

2. Support

We will help people living with MS to feel supported through OMS Circles, our growing global volunteer community network. OMS Circles will be accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of people affected by MS. 

What we’ll be doing:

  • Developing and launching a new community engagement strategy responsive to the diverse needs of people with MS, so that OMS Circles can grow and flourish, providing local peer support and motivation.
  • Improving how OMS Circles work and our support to Ambassadors and Circles members by listening to their feedback.
  • Welcoming new Ambassadors to expand local OMS Circles and communities, providing vital support to more people with MS.
  • Providing OMS Ambassadors with support and practical tools to help increase local community engagement and making being an OMS Ambassador an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
  • Creating a safe, welcoming and effective environment for Circles online through our new custom-built platform.
  • Growing the Circles program across targeted global geographical areas.
  • Developing a training and mentoring program for Ambassadors, to increase access to community resources for all.
  • Developing and launching themed Circles bringing together OMSers with shared interests, experiences and challenges.

What we’ll be hoping to achieve:

  • Sustained growth in the number of Ambassadors willing to create supportive Circles in their local community.
  • More people will be aware of the work of OMS and the impact we achieve across local communities.
  • More people with MS and their families will be feeling less isolated, more resilient, understood, better supported and hopeful about their future.
  • More Ambassadors will feel supported by OMS and energised, retaining them in their role for longer.
  • Increase in funding by community groups and events, fuelling our effort to achieve our ambitious goals.
  • Building meaningful connections with community organisations, local to Circles so that additional support can be accessed by Circles members.

3. Empower

We will advocate for and with people living with MS to demonstrate how self-management and lifestyle choices are a vital part of living a full life. We will influence policymakers and campaign to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of MS self-management.

What we’ll be doing:

  • Giving OMSers a voice and creating a platform for speaking out about the benefits of MS self-management by convening a Patient Advocacy Group.
  • Shaping an influential Advocacy Strategy to influence MS treatment policy and practice and engaging with regulators in fruitful ways.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of MS self-management by launching a campaign for International MS Awareness Day.
  • Developing and sharing across our expanding communication platforms persuasive “narratives of hope” to empower more people with MS to champion healthy living.
  • Creating and evolving healthy lifestyle resources and education programs on the OMS website designed for healthcare professionals by increased engagement with them.
  • OMS advocates speaking out about the benefits of our whole-person evidence-based approach to MS self-management in publications, at influential conferences end events, both digitally and physically in the post-pandemic world.

What we’ll be hoping to achieve:

  • More people with MS, healthcare professionals and policy makers will be aware of the work of OMS and the impact we achieve.
  • More OMSers will become passionate champions and vocal advocates for evidence-based approaches to MS self-management becoming accepted as part of treatment for MS.
  • Standards of care for people with MS will be improved and inclusive of evidence-based holistic healthy lifestyle approaches.
  • Persuaded by diverse “narratives of hope”, more people with MS will be following the OMS program worldwide.
  • More people with MS, accessing OMS support, becoming active participants in their care.
  1. Collaborate

We will support and contribute to the growing body of evidence around lifestyle choices and self-management of MS to help influence and create change amongst healthcare professionals and policymakers. We will work in partnership with individuals, communities, healthcare professionals and other charities to create genuine and sustainable benefits for people living with MS.

What we’ll be doing:

  • Convening a research round-table and establishing a Research Advisory Group, so that the evidence-base underpinning the OMS Program continues to evolve and gains broader acceptance.
  • Continuing our productive collaboration with the Neuroepidemiology Unit (NEU) at Melbourne University and sharing research findings supporting the OMS program across communities.
  • Developing and implementing a new partnerships strategy that leads to new relationships and partnerships in key OMS program areas with a diverse group of stakeholders, to ensure the program continues to be effective and responsive to the needs of our diverse community.
  • Boosting OMS contributions to impact-oriented organizations, such as the Neurological Alliance and MS Academy in the UK to promote healthy lifestyle in MS.
  • Initiating new collaborations with “like-minded” MS organizations in the USA, EU, Australia and New Zealand, leading to new projects.
  • Communicating and sharing the findings of research showcasing that holistic lifestyle change works and building a bridge between people with MS and researchers.

What we’ll be hoping to achieve:

  • More people with MS, healthcare professionals and policy makers will be aware of the work of OMS and the impact we achieve.
  • Our knowledge base and resources we will share with our OMS community, people with MS and healthcare professionals, will continue to grow.
  • We will expand and update the evidence-base underpinning the OMS program, boosting further our credibility and growing the number of supporters.
  • More people with MS following the OMS program, will be reporting positive health outcomes.
  • More healthcare professionals will be on board with OMS and our holistic and evidence-based approach to MS self-management.
  • We will be collaborating with more diverse partners globally to increase a positive impact on the health outcomes for people with MS.

Download PDF version of strategy below: