The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary health agency — a dedicated partnership between scientists and concerned citizens aimed at conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans.
MDA combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive medical and community services, and far-reaching professional and public health education. With national headquarters in Tucson, MDA has more than 200 offices across the country, sponsors 225 hospital-affiliated clinics and supports nearly 400 research projects around the world. MDA supports more research on neuromuscular diseases than any other private-sector organization in the world.
MDA scientists are in the forefront of gene therapy research and have uncovered the genetic defects responsible for several forms of muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), childhood spinal muscular atrophy, and several other neuromuscular conditions. The Association’s comprehensive service program includes medical examinations, flu shots, support groups, MDA summer camps for youngsters and assistance with purchase of wheelchairs and leg braces.
MDA was created in 1950 by a group of adults with muscular dystrophy, parents of children with muscular dystrophy, and a physician-scientist studying the disorder.
Since its earliest days it has been energized by its number-one volunteer and national chairman, entertainer Jerry Lewis. The Association’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors. MDA seeks no government grants, United Way funding or fees from those it serves.