In 2014, FARE awarded more than $135,000 in grant support to 60 communities across the country to advance food allergy education, advocacy and awareness efforts as part of FARE’s 2014 Community Outreach Grants program. With these grants, FARE helps local food allergy leaders – support group leaders and FARE Walk for Food Allergy chairs – develop programs that will result in a better understanding of food allergies within their local communities. Grant recipient Anne Russell, who used FARE grant funding to hold the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Michigan Conference this summer, shares her experiencing with coordinating one of six regional food allergy conferences that are being held this year on with support from FARE grants.
By: Anne F. Russell, BSN, RN, AE-C
Director, Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Michigan Conference
Vision. Donors. Teamwork. These are several of the key factors contributing to the success of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Michigan Conference (FAAMC) held Aug. 9, 2014. With more than 20 years of diverse experience in the field of food allergy, including many years of creating educational seminars on this topic, it was exciting to again provide food allergy public health education.
Critical Timing for Michigan
FAAMC occurred at an important time in Michigan as the state mandate for school stock epinephrine and anaphylaxis training for school staff began this fall. Delivering quality programming by credentialed professionals was vital with the intensified need for evidence-based information.
Management & Planning Team
The FAAMC management and planning team was comprised of five experienced registered nurses and two educators who kindly donated time and professional expertise. This team of health care professionals also developed the FAAMC program. Madonna University College of Nursing and Health generously donated services and wonderful conference space. Concordia University Ann Arbor assisted with obtaining continuing education credits for teachers.
Local Support Groups
Upon reaching out to coordinators of local food allergy support groups, their excitement about FAAMC was inspiring! They spread the word about FAAMC to their groups. They were also FAAMC exhibitors and helped with set-up and take-down on conference day.
FARE’s Community Outreach Grant
Thanks to the Community Outreach Grants (COG) program by FARE, I was able to apply for and receive sponsorship for FAAMC. The COG program is open to support group coordinators and fundraising walk chairs – neither of which I am. So, the Circle of Food Allergic Families support group offered to include my grant proposal with that of their own group and fortunately, both were approved.
Speakers & Topics
The exceptional FAAMC speaker line-up included allergists, registered nurses, a dietician, an attorney and a teacher. Sessions covered food allergy basics, daily home management, nutrition, school food allergy management and a research update. More than 200 people were present – including great exhibitors. School staff and medical professionals from across the state, New York and Ohio attended. About half the audience was parents/caregivers. Feedback was very positive with the vast majority indicating on evaluation forms they would attend again.
Thank you FARE!
The generosity of many people contributed to the success of FAAMC. Thanks to FAAMC sponsors, conference admission was free. Registered nurses and teachers seeking continuing education credits only paid a small fee. FARE’s COG program made a difference in what FAAMC was able to offer. FARE’s sponsorship was significant in extending the reach of quality food allergy and anaphylaxis public health education.