FARE News

Families Join FARE at State Capitals to Advocate, Raise Awareness

In conjunction with Food Allergy Awareness Week and Food Allergy Action Month, advocacy activities are taking place at statehouses in New York, California, Ohio and Illinois. This is the first year FARE has sponsored advocacy days at the state level.

The events aim to raise awareness of food allergies and to advocate for state legislation designed to improve the lives of individuals living with them. In particular was legislation that would allow public venues, like restaurants, day care centers and sports stadiums, to keep undesignated epinephrine on site for use in an allergic emergency.

Too often, people don’t know they have an allergy or are unprepared to act. To date, more than half of all states have passed such legislation—which follows the example of undesignated epinephrine in schools, now allowed or required in 49 states. A national study found that of the sample of over 600 schools, nearly half of the anaphylactic events were treated with the school’s stock epinephrine auto-injectors. [1]

The series kicked off in Albany, NY, last Wednesday. More than 20 volunteers met with 30-plus members of the New York State Assembly to discuss access to epinephrine, teacher training and restaurant safety. Many also spoke at a press conference regarding Assembly Bill 09357, which would allow public entities to stock undesignated epinephrine. The Senate version of the bill has already passed. The event was held in partnership with the Rochester-based Allergy Advocacy Association, a statewide group.

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Yesterday, close to 30 volunteers descended on the Capitol building in Sacramento, CA, to show support for food allergy-related measures. Chief among them was expanding access to life-saving epinephrine in public places (AB1386) and the creation of clear, explicit guidelines for schools on how to manage students’ food allergies (SB1258). Additionally, Sen. Bob Huff introduced Senate Resolution 72 to proclaim May 8 -14 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in California. Along with several volunteers, Senator Huff was recognized by FARE for contributions to the food allergy community.

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Today in Columbus, another 20-plus volunteers, including a representative from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a FARE Clinical Network member, gathered to meet with legislators about that state’s pending public entity epinephrine bill (HB200). The bill has passed the House and is being considered in the Senate. As part of this advocacy day in Columbus, Reps. Terry Johnson and Mike Duffey will be recognized for leading the charge for the 2014 state law that allows schools to stock undesignated epinephrine.

And tomorrow in Illinois, 20 volunteers, including representatives from The University of Chicago and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, both of which are members of the FARE Clinical Network, will travel to Springfield to discuss that state’s pending legislation for public entity epinephrine (HB4462). Sen. Chris Nybo and Rep. Michelle Mussman will be recognized for their leadership on legislation to improve access to epinephrine.

Each of the four events was led by a member of FARE’s education and advocacy team and also included meetings with representatives from the state agencies overseeing the implementation of current food allergy-related laws.

FARE expects to organize similar events next year in selected states.

[1]  Hogue SL, Bennett ME, Goss DS, Hollis KA, Millar K, Silvia S, Siegel P, Wolf R, Wooddell M, White MV. Availability and use of epinephrine auto-injectors for the treatment of anaphylaxis: results from the EpiPen4Schools® survey. Poster presented at the ISPOR 20th Annual International Meeting; May 2015; Philadelphia, PA.

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