President & Chief Executive Officer
Eleanor Garrow-Holding has worked, educated, and advocated in the food allergy community for 15 years. She was inspired to start this work after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to tree nuts, peanut, wheat, and sesame; eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) triggered by milk and wheat; asthma; and environmental allergies. In December 2015, Thomas had a food challenge with wheat and passed. He is no longer IgE-allergic to wheat. After a 3-month trial with wheat and another 3-month trial with milk (post wheat) in his diet and upper endoscopies, he has also outgrown the wheat and milk triggers for EoE and is in remission from EoE as of July 2016.
As CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Eleanor provides leadership, development, and implementation for all of FAACT’s initiatives and programs, including Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang) – a summer camp for children with food allergies and their siblings that Eleanor founded in 2009. Eleanor has a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration degree from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, and worked in hospital management for 16 years in Chicago and suburban Chicago prior to working in the nonprofit sector.
After Thomas was diagnosed in 2004, Eleanor established a food allergy support group in a southwest Chicago suburb, Parents of Children Having Allergies (POCHA) of Will County, focusing on education and advocacy; chaired the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago in 2007 and 2008; was awarded the FAAN Muriel C. Furlong Award for Community Service in 2008; and advocated in the Illinois state legislature on food allergy and Eosinophilic Disorders (EGID, EoE) issues. Thanks to the efforts of Eleanor and other patient advocates, legislation to ensure insurance coverage for elemental formulas was signed into law in 2007 and legislation establishing food allergy management guidelines for Illinois schools was signed into law in 2009.
Eleanor joined the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network™ (FAAN) in 2009 as Vice President of Education and Outreach, where she oversaw educational initiatives, all food allergy conferences, the Teen Summit, Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang), a Teen Advisory Group, support group development, and more. She advocated for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA) in Washington, DC, with her son Thomas as part of FAAN’s Kids Congress on Capitol Hill. She also advocated on Capitol Hill for the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Eleanor served on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) expert panel for the "Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs". Eleanor has also conducted numerous radio, television, and print interviews on food allergy issues and wrote articles for Allergic Living and Living Without magazines. She continues to present at national and regional conferences about food allergy management in school and restaurant settings and educates personnel in schools and school districts across the country on food allergy management in schools. Eleanor has also educated staff from numerous food industry companies and entertainment venues about food allergies, such as McDonald’s Corporation, The Hain Celestial Group, Mars Chocolate North America, and all SeaWorld Parks.
In 2013, Eleanor joined the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (CCED) as Senior Specialist of Program Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center for one year. There she led day-to-day clinical operations, clinical research projects, program development, marketing, and development.
Now, leading the charge at FAACT, Eleanor and the FAACT Leadership Team will provide the education, advocacy, awareness, and grassroots outreach needed for the food allergy community. Eleanor serves on the DBV Technologies Peanut Allergy Patient Advisory Board, the National Peanut Board's Allergy Education Advisory Council, Sea World's Allergy Resource Team, and Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) Food Allergen Control Committee. In August 2015, Eleanor was inducted into The National Association of Professional Women's (NAPW) VIP Professional of the Year Circle for her commitment to healthcare and nonprofit industries. FAACT is The Voice of Food Allergy Awareness!
Amelia G. Smith, JD
Vice President of Civil Rights Advocacy
Amelia G. Smith, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, practiced law in a variety of areas as a managing member of Pipkin & Murphree, PLLC before joining McLaurin Law Offices, pllc. Amelia received her B.A. in English from Mississippi University for Women and her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi, where she concentrated on civil rights and employment discrimination.
After her son, Robert, was diagnosed with food allergies, Amelia founded Food Allergic Children’s Education in Tupelo (“FACE IT”), the only support and education organization for families with food allergies in Mississippi at the time. Once she learned about the challenges students and families with food allergies face in childcare centers and schools, Amelia developed an interest in special education law. She is a 2012 graduate of William & Mary School of Law’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy. Amelia is admitted to the Bars of the State of Mississippi, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, Lee County Bar Association, and Lee County Young Lawyers Association.
As a member of the FAACT Leadership Team, Amelia’s focus will be on Civil Rights Advocacy, advocating for food-allergic individuals’ rights to safely and equally participate in activities alongside their non-allergic peers.
Betsy Rinehart, MSN, RN, BSN
Vice President of Education & Outreach
Betsy Rinehart was born and raised in New Orleans and attended the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government. Betsy worked for Congressman Billy Tauzin (Louisiana) on Capitol Hill before moving to a lobbying firm in Virginia. In 2002, Betsy left politics to follow her lifelong interest in healthcare. She attended the University of Maryland and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 2003 and her Master's in Nursing in 2004, after which she worked as a family nurse practitioner.
When Betsy's son was 13 months old, he was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds. Although Betsy understood the mechanics of food allergies due to her background in nursing and healthcare, she soon discovered that the world of food allergies had many layers. Betsy became a local advocate for her son at preschools and child care centers, educating about avoidance, emergency preparedness, and the emotional effects of food allergies on children, families, and caregivers. Often, Edward was the first child with severe food allergies at his schools.
In 2012, after moving to Colorado, Betsy became involved with the Poudre School District Food Allergy Task Force, a group of local stakeholders and district employees who prepare comprehensive school guidelines for the entire school district. The group also works on educational programs in conjunction with schools and seeks to support parents, students, and school employees who deal with food allergies. In June 2014, Betsy became a co-leader of the longstanding local support and resource group, I-CAN (Inspiring Children with Allergies Network).
Betsy has seen first-hand the difficulties that can arise in working with schools and caregivers who have not yet experienced food allergies. As FAACT’s Vice President of Education & Outreach, Betsy will oversee food allergy education in schools, support group development, and many other education initiatives. Betsy is committed to bringing more education on the issues that accompany food allergies to our families, communities, and schools.
Director of Support Group Development
Lisa is a native of Ohio who currently lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. Lisa has been managing food allergies since 2011, when her oldest son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy at the age of three years old. Lisa knows first-hand how isolating and overwhelming it can be when you first get a food allergy diagnosis, and she is dedicated to supporting, educating, and connecting other people living with food allergies. Lisa is the Founder of a food allergy group called No Nuts Moms Group and Co-Leader of a local support group called FACES of Michigan. Her passions are her family and educating others about food allergies.
When Lisa’s son was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, she learned as much as she could to educate herself and everyone around her about food allergies. She soon realized that going on play dates with other kids was going to be challenging and searched everywhere for a food allergy group offering play dates for moms and children with food allergies. Lisa’s search ended in a dead end, so she decided to start her own group for food-allergic families looking to meet and connect with others in the area. The word about No Nuts Moms Group quickly spread, and requests for local groups in the United States and Canada came rolling in. Lisa gave other moms a chance to start their own local groups, and now No Nuts Moms Group is internationally known for supporting and connecting people with food allergies. When Lisa started the group, she had no idea about the impact she would make in the food allergy community. Lisa has helped thousands of families across the country.
Lisa has set up educational food allergy booths at local schools and other venues in Michigan. By doing so, she has reached out to other families that didn’t have access to epinephrine for their children and didn’t understand the seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. She also plans food-free events for food-allergic families, such as Halloween and Easter events. Lisa was also instrumental in getting the Stock Epinephrine Bill passed into law in Michigan.
As FAACT’s Director of Support Group Development, Lisa will manage support group development throughout the country, as well as FAACT's education initiatives for the school setting and more. She will also continue to educate and raise awareness for those living with food allergies and anaphylaxis.