By: Danya Glabau
As a medical anthropologist who studies the culture of the food allergy community in the United States, the annual FARE National Food Allergy Conference is one of my most anticipated events of the year. This year’s conference will be held in Long Beach, CA from May 16 to May 17, 2015. It’s a great place to get up-to-date information on the latest food allergy research and management strategies. It’s also a unique opportunity to meet top food allergy movers and shakers and others facing the same allergy-related challenges that you may be facing in your own life. This short guide will give you some ideas about how to get the most out of the jam-packed conference schedule.
Last year I was a relative newbie to the food allergy world, so I focused on panels that introduced me to aspects of life with food allergies with which I was unfamiliar. Panel discussions about oral immunotherapy (OIT) and food allergy sleepaway camps, for example, helped me understand how people balance living a “normal” life with the unique safety considerations that come with managing food allergies and the hope that experimental treatments will one day cure the condition once and for all. Uniting all of these efforts, I discovered, was a sincere commitment to enabling kids and adults with food allergies to live life to the fullest.
This year, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of the amazing researchers, advocates, and food allergy rock stars whom I’ve met during my research. I’ll be getting to Long Beach a day early to catch up with friends and colleagues and to make sure I don’t miss one minute of the conference. If you’re also arriving early, Friday evening offers amazing opportunities for people with food allergies, food allergic kids, and eosinophilic disorders to meet others in similar circumstances in three tailored support group meetings.
The main events of the conference get underway bright and early on Saturday morning! Food allergy research heavyweight Dr. James R. Baker’s 8am opening plenary session will highlight new research on safe and effective food allergy treatments supported by FARE. The session will be a great chance for both newbies and experts to learn more about the future of food allergy research.
After these opening events, it’s up to you what you learn about next! To help you sort through the options, this year’s schedule features a number of “tracks” tailored for different interests and different levels of food allergy expertise. The Food Allergy Fundamentals track provides helpful information on how to eat, adjust, and advocate for oneself for people managing a new food allergy diagnosis. The Teen Sessions track features interactive activities and a supportive setting for teens to network with each other, providing support to a future generation of food allergy leaders. The Food Allergies at School track will be especially helpful for parents of school-aged children who want to learn the ins and outs of working with local school districts. You’ll find me in many of the Living Well with Food Allergies sessions, as I continue to learn about the variety of strategies individuals use to adapt to, learn about, and cope with food allergies while living full, rewarding lives.
Have a great conference, everyone! Feel free to track me down to pick my brain or just get to know me. You can read more about my research on my blog, Allergy and the City, or connect with me via Twitter at @AllergyPhD.
I hope to see you in Long Beach!
You can register and learn more about the FARE National Food Allergy Conference at www.foodallergy.org/conference.
Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Mylan Specialty L.P., Premier Sponsor, Sanofi, and Platinum Sponsor, SunButter for making this event possible.