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Dr. Nancy Lee on International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day

Saturday, May 12, 2012, marks International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day (ME/CFS). This yearly observance raises awareness of this chronic illness which too often goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or ignored. This day serves as an opportunity for organizations, patients, and advocates to educate the public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of ME/CFS, as well as the need for a better understanding of this complex illness.

At the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we are committed to improving the lives of individuals and families who suffer from ME/CFS. We are working on several issues at the same time:  How can we help patients get better care and services? How can we help physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others to better diagnose and care for those with ME/CFS? How can research contribute to better treatment and prevention?

HHS has an active, high-level federal advisory committee on ME/CFS. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.  Staff at the Office on Women’s Health support the activities of the advisory committee.

At CFSAC, we are increasing collaboration among HHS agencies, centers, and institutes doing work on ME/CFS, so we can work together more efficiently and effectively. We’re addressing patients’ needs for better and more easily accessible information.