Educating Family Physicians about ET and the IETF

By Patrick McCartney,
IETF Executive Director

Photo of Patrick McCartney

One of the pillars of the International Essential Tremor Foundation’s mission statement is “to provide hope to the essential tremor (ET) community worldwide through awareness.”

As we all know one of the biggest challenges we face is raising awareness about essential tremor. This is a daily task for our staff. We use a variety of channels including social media, printed materials, and talking with patients, caregivers, and family members every day on the phone who have questions about this disorder.

Another way the IETF tries to raise awareness is by attending national conferences and sharing a variety of information on essential tremor. October 10 through 12 I attended the American Academy of Family Physicians Family Medical Experience in New Orleans, LA. There were more than 5,000 family doctors attending the event. This is the third year we have attended and it’s a great opportunity to share with family doctors the resources the IETF has available for them and their patients.

I shared our Patient Handbook, IETF brochure, ET vs. Parkinson’s fact sheet, medical alert cards, IETF pens, and Tremor Talk magazines with them. The ET vs. Parkinson’s fact sheets were so popular I ran out the second day and had to make more copies at the hotel for the last day of the show.

A couple of takeaways from this conference:

  • Every doctor I talked with had treated ET patients, but not one of them was AAFP Conference 2018aware of the IETF.
  • Several of the doctors I talked with have ET or have family members or friends who have it and were excited to see the resources we have to share.
  • Everyone I spoke with said they would share our information and/or direct their patients, friends, or family members with ET to the IETF either through our website or our toll-free phone number.

I would encourage you, as I encouraged these doctors, to be advocates for ET and the IETF in your community. There are a lot of stereotypes and stigmas associated with ET. Don’t let them prevent you from sharing your story and explaining the daily challenges you face because of ET. And let others with ET know they are not alone.  There are IETF support groups all around the country. You can find a listing of them on our website.  If there is not one in your area consider starting one or join our online support group on Facebook (Essential Tremor Awareness Group).

We appreciate your support and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the IETF at 1-888-387-3667 or

Categories: Advocacy, ET Awareness

6 thoughts on “Educating Family Physicians about ET and the IETF

  1. What medicine is used most for essential tremor and how many pills per day plus the mg’s per pill. Also what effect does the dosage have on you. Thank you very much for any input or get in touch with me at

    1. Everyone’s essential tremor is different. Your neurologist (movement disorder specialist) will know what is best for you. If you don’t have one, you might check our website where we have a list of more than 550 from throughout the U.S. Here is a link: Since we are a nonprofit foundation that works to raise awareness, provide educational programs and fund research, we do not have information on medication dosages nor can we tell you what might work for you. We do have a list of “common medications” used for ET on our website. You can check with your doctor about them.

    1. Can you provide us with an active email? We tried your gmail that was listed and it bounced back.

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