George Jelinek's mother died in 1981 as a consequence of her MS. Towards the end of her life, she was totally incapacitated, unable to feed or care for herself. When George himself was diagnosed with MS in 1999, he was determined to prevent a similar fate.
Fortunately, George's career as a Professor in Emergency Medicine and his background as Editor-in-Chief of a major medical journal gave him the tools to sort through the medical literature on MS, giving appropriate weight to the many pieces of evidence he found.
What he found startled him. The literature was full of answers. It became clear to George that remaining well after a diagnosis of MS is more than just a possibility.
He found that with commitment to the right lifestyle changes, there is the real probability that many people with MS can live long, healthy lives, relatively free of the usual problems associated with the illness.
Since 1999, George has adhered to the set of lifestyle recommendations he put together from the medical literature, which he later detailed in his book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. These lifestyle recommendations are now referred to as the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) Program.
George began sharing his recommendations with others who had been diagnosed with MS by running retreats in Melbourne, Canberra, Auckland, the UK, Ireland and Austria with Dr Sandra Neate, Dr Craig Hassed, Dr Keryn Taylor, Dr Sam Gartland, and others.
George has remained free of further relapses, as have many of the people who follow the OMS Program.
Professor George Jelinek is the founder of the Neuroepidemiology Unit (NEU) within the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne.
The NEU's charter is to investigate the modifiable lifestyle risk factors that predict the progression of MS with a view to refining a preventive medicine approach to management of the disease.
Professor Jelinek specialized in emergency medicine, winning the prize in the first specialist examinations in 1986.
He is a past President of the Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine (ASEM) and past Vice President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM).
He was the first Professor of Emergency Medicine in Australasia and was the founding editor of the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia, a MEDLINE-indexed journal that he has edited continuously for nearly 30 years.
For his contribution to emergency medicine, he was awarded the ACEM Medal in 2003, the highest individual honor in the specialty of Emergency Medicine in Australia and New Zealand.
The College for Emergency Medicine also awarded him the 2006 John Gilroy Potts Award and the 2012 and 2014 Edward Brentnall Awards, for the best publications in emergency medicine and public health respectively in those years.
Recognizing his contribution to both emergency medicine and multiple sclerosis, Professor Jelinek was a Western Australian finalist for 2008 Australian of the Year, and a Victorian Finalist for the 2016 Australian of the Year.
Most recently, recognizing his leading role in MS epidemiological research and strong background in medical journal editing, he was appointed Chief Editor in neuroepidemiology for the leading MEDLINE-indexed neurology journal Frontiers in Neurology, ranked in the top 16% of the top tier 192 neurology journals indexed with Thomson Reuters.