FAACT Initiatives for 2015

FAACT Initiatives for 2015

Happy New Year! I am so excited to be starting 2015 with FAACT’s extended leadership team. These talented professionals and dedicated activists will expand our education, communication, and marketing abilities, which is critical to achieving our mission to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Please join me in welcoming the new members of our leadership team and thanking the leaders who have taken on expanded roles in FAACT:

  • Karen Harris has transitioned to a new position, FAACT Vice President of Restaurant & Food Industry Services

  • Betsy Rinehart, MS, RN, BSN, has joined FAACT as Vice President of Education & Outreach

  • Sue Melenchuk has joined FAACT as Vice President of Development & Marketing

  • Linda Brydges has joined FAACT as Director of Programs.

  • Cindy Gordon, M.Ed., has joined FAACT as Communications Manager

  • Stacey Stratton, M.Ed., has joined FAACT as Publications Manager

To learn more about the FAACT Leadership Team, please visit our Web site to view their full bios and personal connections to food allergy and anaphylaxis.

I am also excited to announce our upcoming events for 2015, such as Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang) in Williamstown, New Jersey, July 27-31; FAACT’s Support Group Leadership Summits – events dedicated to building collaborative communities – in San Francisco, Dallas, and Boston; and FAACT’s Teen Conference weekend in Las Vegas, October 9-11.

Our in-person events are great opportunities to share experiences and learn from experts, but FAACT offers many other services for children, teens, and parents affected by life-threatening allergies. From civil rights advocacy to providing outreach to community members, FAACT is here to help you and your family live happy, healthy, fully involved lives. Here are a few highlights of what FAACT offers:

Civil Rights Advocacy: One of FAACT’s unique services is direct assistance with civil rights issues at school. Amelia Smith Murphree, our General Counsel and Vice President of Civil Rights Advocacy, addresses individual problems and concerns – free of charge. Last year, we helped more than 100 families keep their children safe and equally included at school. Our Civil Rights Advocacy Center staff are also available to answer your questions and assist you in seeking accommodations. We can also help you find civil rights professionals in your community. Contact Amelia at Amelia.Murphree@FoodAllergyAwareness.orgfor assistance.

You can also find civil rights resources in FAACT’s online Civil Rights Advocacy Resource Center. We put laws, regulations, and agency opinions at your fingertips as well as resources and tools to assist food-allergic individuals in seeking accommodations.

Education: FAACT is dedicated to food allergy and anaphylaxis education. We provide outreach, training, and support to public and professional communities, including grassroots organizations, schools, restaurants, hospitals, allergists, pediatricians, healthcare providers, CPR instructors, first responders, fire departments, paramedics, and other members of the community. Our online Education Resource Center also offers a wealth of free and downloadable educational materials for patients and professionals. Education is the most critical step in helping children and adults with life-threatening allergies to manage in day to day life.

Support Group Development: Support groups connect people facing similar challenges and provide an outlet for support on many levels. Sometimes it’s helpful to turn to others outside your immediate circle of friends and family for advice and comfort. I certainly found that to be true when my family was struggling in the early years of my son’s food allergy diagnosis. Support groups can offer emotional support, further education and understanding, provide a place for people to share their concerns, and help reduce anxiety and confusion families might be facing.

Click here to learn more about how to find the right support group for you, questions to ask before joining a food allergy support group, or to learn more about starting a support group in your area.

Teen Advisory Council: FAACT\'s Teen Advisory Council consists of teens (ages 11-18) with food allergies from around the country. These teens have the opportunity to help develop educational materials and initiatives, write articles for FAACT’s newsletters and blogs, contribute content for FAACT’s Web site, and mentor other teens and youth. FAACT’s Teen Advisory Council helps to develop key message points and tips on how to manage food allergies in school, during extracurricular activities, while dining out, when dating, and more. During 2014, these teen ambassadors offered great advice for youth living with life-threatening allergies and made our teen weekend a wonderful success.

Peer-to-Peer Education Programs: FAACT is also developing peer-to-peer education programs for college-age students and young adults (ages 18-24) and for adults (ages 25+) with food allergies to provide continuing education on managing food allergies and anaphylaxis on a day to day basis. As teens, young adults, and adults continue to manage food allergies, they also need continuing education on best practices in managing food allergies on a day-to-day basis. All education programs will be reviewed and approved by FAACT’s Medical Advisory Board. Once completed, the resources will be available online in FAACT’s Education Resource Center. 

We are looking for individuals to serve on the following councils:

  • Young adults ages 18-24 may apply to serve on the College/Young Adults Advisory Council to develop key message points and tips on how to manage food allergies at college, when dining out, in relationships, and more.

  • Adults ages 25+ may apply to serve on the Adult Advisory Council to develop key message points and tips on how to manage food allergies in the work place, at catered events, in relationships, while traveling, for those who have been diagnosed as an adult, and more.

If you are within these age groups, have been diagnosed with food allergies, and are interested in serving on an Advisory Council, please contact Eleanor Garrow-Holding for an application.

Your Support Counts: If you are not a Patron of FAACT, please consider becoming a “patron” and support the 15 million Americans who have food allergies – 6 million of whom are children. You are providing education and outreach materials to individuals and families who need our help. You are connecting with other people who live it and get it. And you are ensuring that the voices of people living with food allergies and anaphylaxis will continue to be heard by decision-makers across the country. 

From our FAACT family to yours, we wish you all an allergy-safe New Year! We are looking forward to a healthy and happy 2015!