Letter to the Community from FARE’s CEO, John Lehr

John-800Dear FARE Supporters,

Since April 2012, I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), and its legacy organizations, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI). Today, I am announcing that I will be stepping down as CEO of FARE on August 30 to pursue a new business opportunity. You can find the full announcement here. Before I go, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate with you the terrific work we have done together.

In the past two years, FARE – and the food allergy community – have experienced tremendous progress and growth. First, through the formation of one national organization with a common mission—to find a cure for food allergies and to keep individuals with food allergies safe and included. From the merger, we developed a new brand, launched a new website, built a national field operation with six offices across the country, expanded grassroots fundraising opportunities, and exceeded previous fundraising records for luncheons, the FARE Walk for Food Allergy program, and major gifts. In our first full year as a new organization, we raised more than $16.5 million to support important food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness initiatives, which represents an increase of more than 25 percent over the combined total raised by FARE’s legacy organizations in 2012. This would not have been possible without your generosity and commitment to our cause.

With these funds, we have made important progress in every area of our mission:

  • We established a new proactive research program based on the input of the leading scientists in the field and increased our investment in innovative treatments.
  • To further our education mission, we launched a national program to enhance restaurant safety for diners with food allergies, developed a program to help students with food allergies transition to college, held our first FARE National Food Allergy Conference, and introduced our free monthly webinar series to provide food allergy education to anyone with an internet connection.
  • In November 2013, President Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, a FARE-directed effort to incentivize states to stock epinephrine in schools. We have also been proud to support many successful state stock epinephrine initiatives led by dedicated local advocates.
  • We dramatically increased awareness of food allergy as a serious public health issue through our new award-winning website, media outreach, our social media outlets, and the nationally televised documentary, “An Emerging Epidemic – Food Allergies in America,” narrated by Steve Carell.

These are just a few highlights, and all of this success was made possible because of the dedicated staff, volunteers, donors, supporters and Board members who gave their time and resources, and worked long hours to make the world better for people with food allergies.

Thank you for everything you have done to help advance the cause.

The transformation of FARE and the food allergy community over two years has truly been remarkable. I am so proud to have been a part of that, and I will keep the individuals and families I have met and worked with at FARE forever in my heart.

I see a bright future ahead for FARE and the food allergy community, and know that a time will come when the hard work will have paid off, and we will have safe and effective treatments for all individuals with food allergies.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve, it has been an honor and a privilege.



John L. Lehr

Just Released – National Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools

cdccoverToday marks a milestone for the food allergy community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies In Schools and Early Care and Education Programs” – the first comprehensive national guidelines for school food allergy management. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) collaborated with the CDC along with other groups on the development of these guidelines.

The CDC guidelines seek to protect the physical and emotional health of students with food allergies by providing practical information and strategies for schools to use while reinforcing federal laws and regulations. These guidelines can help schools and early childhood programs improve existing practices and implement policies that may help reduce allergic reactions, improve response to life-threatening reactions and ensure current policies are in line with laws that protect children with serious health issues.

Here’s how you can help spread the word that the CDC guidelines are now available:

  • Know the Facts: More than 15 percent of children with food allergies have had a reaction at school, and approximately 25 percent of epinephrine administrations in the school setting involved an individual whose allergy was previously undiagnosed.
  • Contact Your District and School Leaders: Reach out to your school board, superintendent, principal, and/or school health office to let them know that the guidelines are available at www.foodallergy.org/CDC. If your school district already has school food allergy management guidelines in place, ask your school officials to consider the CDC guidelines the next time changes are proposed. We also have handouts for School Boards and School District Administrators available on our website.
  • Tell Your Friends: Let other families know that they can help increase awareness of the new CDC guidelines by notifying their district or school leaders.

With your help, we can continue to advance the safety and inclusion of students with food allergies at school. We appreciate your support and your help in spreading the word about the CDC guidelines in your local community. For more information, visit  www.foodallergy.org/CDC or http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/.

Frequently Asked Questions About FARE’s Food Allergy Conferences

Michael Spigler
By Mike Spigler, Vice President of Education

Our 20th Annual Food Allergy Conferences are quickly approaching and I am very excited about the programs that we have put in place this year! Living well with food allergies takes a team approach and our programs this year reflect that need. In each of our three cities we have an allergist, dietitian, school nurse, food allergy mom and teens with food allergies giving talks. There really is something for everyone.

The first conference is just over a month away in Oak Brook, IL on Saturday, May 4. Late registration and on-site registration are both available, but if you are looking to book a discounted hotel room at the conference, make sure to do it soon as those deadlines are quickly approaching!

Who usually attends the FARE Food Allergy Conferences?

The FARE Food Allergy Conferences are truly a community event. Parents and loved ones of those with food allergies are joined by the children and young adults they care for as well as some of the brightest and most experienced food allergy professionals in the world.

Why should I attend?

I talk to so many people who tell me that their first conference was a life-changing event. For many families, the daily anxiety that food allergies cause results in a feeling of hopelessness and isolation. To our first-time attendees, the opportunity to finally be around so many other amazing people who “get it” is priceless. Combined with our amazing group of speakers, our attendees leave with confidence that there are better days ahead.

Are group or family discounts available?

We are happy to work with you to make bringing your group of 4 or more attendees more affordable. To be considered for a discounted rate, all of those attending must be from either the same family or same organization and must register at the same time. Please contact me at mspigler@foodallergy.org or Lynn Heun at lheun@foodallergy.org. We can also be reached at 800-929-4040.

Will on-site registration be available?

Yes. On-site registration by cash, check or credit card will be available starting an hour before each conference. Please allow extra time to register and get your materials. We do not anticipate selling out, but check our website prior to arriving for more information.

Do I need to select which breakout sessions I want to attend?

No. We have plenty of space in our breakout rooms, but please note that seats in these rooms are on a first-come, first-served basis.

I’ve already registered. What do I do next?

We’re glad to have you join us for this incredible program! You can pick up your name badges and registration materials at our registration tables as early as an hour before each conference (8 a.m. in Oak Brook and Anaheim and 7:30 a.m. in Arlington).

What happened to the morning and afternoon question-and-answer sessions?

No worries, you’ll still have plenty of chances to pick the brains of our speakers! At the end of each talk, we’ve asked our speakers to allow a full 15 minutes to answer your questions. That means a full 30 minutes for questions for our featured allergists (Dr. Robert Wood in Arlington, Dr. Ruchi Gupta in Oak Brook, or Dr. Philippe Bégin).

Will food be served at the conference? What are you doing to make sure that the food served is safe for my family?

Yes. While breakfast is not provided, we do offer morning coffee service as well as a full lunch. We work very hard to make sure that our hotels follow safe practices both inside and outside of the kitchen to keep our attendees safe. Every food item that is served will include an ingredient list and will be separated from other foods to minimize the chances of cross-contact. A member of the hotel’s culinary team will also be available to answer questions during lunch.

For those who have extremely restricted diets or an allergy outside of the top 8 (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish or shellfish), please let us know prior to your arrival. We will make every attempt to serve you a safe meal, but you are also welcome to bring your own ready-to-eat food. Please note that for the safety of our other attendees, if you do bring outside food, we ask that you do not eat it in any of the conference meeting space.

Even though we are hopeful that there will not be a problem, it is wise to always ask a question about any food item that you feel unsure of.

We welcome any questions you may have and if you would like to see the menus prior to your arrival, please email me at mspigler@foodallergy.org.

What other safeguards are in place?

FARE staff will be available in meeting rooms at all times, and we will also have a nurse on-site throughout the day in case of an emergency. The hotels have also been briefed on a plan of action in case an emergency arises.

What will the teen sessions look like? Do teens who attend need to attend those sessions?

This year’s teen sessions will be a bit different than previous conferences. We are looking to make the sessions at this year’s conference fun and experiential. To do this, members of FARE’s Teen Advisory Group (TAG) have been helping us design the agendas in each city and teens who attend will be in for a fun day of learning from their peers.

Any teen who attends the conference is encouraged to stay in the teen sessions, but teens are also welcome to go to talks in the main sessions if they feel more comfortable or are interested in hearing one of the other speakers.

What are the ages of teens who attend the teen sessions at the conferences?

The teen sessions will be useful for anyone between the ages of 11 and 22. This year we are being very careful to make sure that there are age-appropriate activities and discussions for all age ranges.

May I bring my younger child with me to the conference? Is child care provided?

No. We ask that parents do not bring children younger than 11 years old to the conference. Our program has been designed to only be suitable for those older than 11. No child care is available.

Will continuing education credits be available for health professionals who attend?

No. Unfortunately we are not able to offer continuing education credits for this year’s conference series.
If you are a dietitian, mental health professional, or nurse, you may be able to use your attendance at the conference to claim credits on your own after the conference. Check with your accrediting body to see if attending our conferences can be accepted.

What if I have more questions?

We welcome the chance to answer any questions you may have about our annual conference series. You may email me directly at mspigler@foodallergy.org or Lynn Heun at lheun@foodallergy.org. We can also be reached at 800-929-4040.

Introducing FARE’s New Website

New identity – new website. We are thrilled to launch the new www.foodallergy.org, FARE’s online home and your go-to source for evidence-based information about food allergies.


Yes, we’ve received a makeover resulting in a vibrant new look. But more importantly, we have designed our site with you in mind, introducing easy-to-use navigation that helps you quickly find the information you’re looking for. In developing our new site, our web team consulted parents of children with food allergies, adults managing food allergies, physicians, school nurses and others to learn more about the information and features they wanted to be sure were included.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the great new features you’ll find on the site:

  • Leading Food Allergy Content – the new foodallergy.org brings together the well-respected online resources developed by FAAN and FAI with new features and content – all organized in an intuitive way.
  • Easy-to-use Navigation Designed with You in Mind – Searching for tips for dining out or resources for teens? Just hover over our Tools & Resources menu, and you’ll quickly locate the most relevant information and links. You can also find information designed specifically for you in our “Resources For …” section, which organizes content by user categories, and our “Managing Food Allergies At..” section, which provide tips tailored to managing food allergies in different situations and environments.
  • True Stories – Time and time again, we’ve heard you say how helpful it is to hear from others who live with food allergies. That’s why we’ve included “True Stories,” where teens and adults share their experiences. You can check them out on the homepage. If you are interested in submitting your own short story, email media@foodallergy.org.
  • Connect with Your Regional Office – look up your regional office and connect with FARE staff in your area so that you can learn more about how you to get involved and make an impact in your community.

Foodallergy.org continues to provide educational resources for all those affected by food allergies, as well as the programs and tools that educators, healthcare workers, policymakers, food industry professionals and others have come to rely upon from our legacy organizations. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be adding additional content to many sections and launching great new features.

Our website is a critical component of FARE’s mission to provide evidence-based education and resources and to increase awareness of food allergies as a serious public health issue. We hope you’ll be a frequent visitor to our site and that you’ll refer others to www.foodallergy.org.

FARE-Funded Researcher Featured in New York Times Article

FARE-funded researcher Dr. Kari Nadeau is featured in a New York Times Magazine article – “The Allergy Buster.”The piece is the magazine’s cover story for Sunday, March 10, 2013. FARE is proud to support world-class food allergy research and clinical trials nationwide, including Dr. Nadeau’s.

While oral immunotherapy, the treatment featured in the article, has shown encouraging results in clinical trials, it should not be performed outside the academic research setting.

Read the article >

FARE Walk Registration is Open!

The FARE Walk for Food Allergy brings together thousands of Americans seeking a safe world for those living with food allergies. The Walk is a family-friendly event that takes place in communities nationwide to fund food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness.


We walk to fund food allergy awareness, advocacy, education, and research programs.

We walk to provide understanding, hope, and an opportunity for those affected by food allergies to find a support network.

Scientists estimate that as many 15 million Americans are living with food allergies including about 5.9 million children. We walk for them.

A study has shown that the number of children living with a peanut allergy has nearly doubled from 1997 to 2002. We walk for them.

In the United States, food allergies send someone to the emergency room every three minutes. We walk for them.

We Walk To Save A Life and you can too! Register for a FARE Walk for Food Allergy in your community today! To Register CLICK HERE.