Martha Lightfoot, MSN, RNP, MSCN, is being honored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented at the organization’s annual MS Dinner of Champions on November 17, 2007 in Rochester.

Lightfoot is an adult nurse practitioner in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurology. Lightfoot has worked at the University of Rochester since 1990 and is part of a team of physicians and nurses at the Medical Center who staff one of the world’s leading MS clinics. About 2,500 MS patients from Western New York and beyond receive their care at URMC.

Lightfoot has participated in more than a dozen clinical trials studying new therapies for patients with MS and has lectured extensively in both the U.S. and overseas on MS disease management. She also serves as an advisor to the National MS Society and several pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies that are developing new drugs to treat the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. It is estimated that 350,000 people in the United States have the disease, which is one of the top causes of disability in young adults. Symptoms of the disease include fatigue, weakness, cognitive difficulties, and difficulty swallowing or walking.


Our next volunteer recognition award goes to Aliza Ben-Zacharia for excellence in professional education. Aliza is a nurse practitioner at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she continues to set the standard for patient care and professional development.

During her 6 years in practice at the center, Aliza has provided an example of what an MS specialist nurse clinician should be: highly skilled in all areas of nursing practice, including clinical, patient education, advocacy, and research, as well as the mentorship of other nurses. Aliza is an extraordinary educator, sharing her knowledge with integrity and enthusiasm every time she does platform presentations, seminars, and workshops for other MS professionals. For the past several years, Aliza has been both a keynote presenter and a member of the program committee for the Janet Pearce MS Advanced Nurse Training Program. Recently, Aliza mentored a younger nurse practitioner who was fulfilling both the Janet Pearce and the Dystel MS nursing fellowships. The NP has gone on to have a career in MS nursing, and is following in Aliza’s steps by mentoring newer nurses herself. She also serves on the Chapter’s committee of experts who are creating an algorithm for treating depression in people with MS. In addition, Aliza is completing a nursing doctorate degree at Case Western Reserve University.

We are very pleased to recognize Aliza for many tireless years of sharing her expertise and devotion to the care of people with MS so generously with other MS healthcare professionals.


Rita Mammano, the nurse clinician for the NY Hospital of Queens MS Care Center, has a unique blend of MS specialization and expertise in holistic nursing and healing modalities. And Rita is not afraid to blend these “alternative” practices with more standard specialized MS nursing care for the benefit of her patients. We are pleased to present Rita with the volunteer recognition award for health and wellness promotion.

Rita has been pursuing a wellness approach to MS nursing for the past 12 years: Rita is a second-degree Reiki practitioner (a hands-on healing modality that has become very popular in the US) and regularly offers Reiki treatment to patients, colleagues, and friends. Recently Rita planned and implemented a Day of Wellness for patients at the NY Hospital of Queens that, in addition to Reiki, included a workshop in Qi Gong, a Chinese self-healing practice. This year, Rita plans to offer a similar program to MS nurse colleagues.

We are very pleased to be offering this award of recognition for all that Rita does for the promotion of health and well-being for MS patients and their loved ones.