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.

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