New Growth and Leadership for IAFFPE’s Medical Advisory Board

New MAB Chair Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn (L) and IAFFPE Founder Fallon Schultz

New MAB Chair Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn (L) and IAFFPE Founder Fallon Schultz

The International Association for Food Protein Enterocolitis (IAFFPE) is proud to name a new chair and three additional members to our Medical Advisory Board (MAB), which is comprised of the world’s leading experts on Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES).

Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn will take on the role of MAB Chair. She is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY. The position holds a three-year term in the organization that rotates within different institutions.

Dr. Nowak-Wegrzyn shares the organization’s global vision and has an innovative agenda for her term. She has already made significant contributions to our community through research and clinical practice, and we are very excited about the future of IAFFPE under her guidance.

We also thank outgoing Chair Dr. Jonathan Spergel for his remarkable leadership and dedication over the past three years; we are thrilled he will remain a key part of our Medical Advisory Board.

IAFFPE’s Medical Advisory Board is composed of allergists, immunologists, gastroenterologists and nutritionists who share a common purpose to create global collaboration for the diagnosis, treatment, management and advancement of FPIES. The MAB advises the organization on FPIES education, awareness and advocacy initiatives while also providing medical review of our web content and educational materials.

As part of our effort to advance awareness and understanding of FPIES at an international level, we’re also thrilled to announce three new MAB members:

  • Dr. Jin-Bok Hwang
    Department of Pediatrics, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • Dr. Antonella Muraro
    Pediatric Allergy, Paediatric Department of the University Hospital of Padua, Italy
  • Dr. Ichiro Nomura
    Department of Allergy and Immunology, National Research Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan

These additional members reflect the global nature of our research and initiatives. We are privileged and excited to partner with such an accomplished group of physicians, researchers and thought leaders!

Towards a Better Understanding of Chronic FPIES

One of the greatest causes for confusion and frustration in the parent community surrounds the definition of chronic FPIES and whether it is representative of the condition. Whereas acute reactions are more commonly seen and documented in literature, we recognize and highlight the lack of literature representing chronic reactions; this contributes to the dismissal many families face from their physicians when describing symptoms.”

Chronic FPIES has been the subject of confusion and frustration for parents and physicians alike. Unlike acute FPIES, which typically presents with delayed, profuse vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and possible shock, the symptoms of chronic FPIES are often more “murky” and can be difficult to distinguish from other conditions.

“Chronic FPIES is an ill-defined condition characterized by intermittent vomiting, watery or mucous diarrhea, poor weight gain, and dehydration… In cases of ‘chronic’ FPIES, the differential diagnosis is even more difficult. The diagnostic boundaries, in particular with other non-IgE-mediated gastrointestinal food allergies are blurred, and it is difficult to differentiate this condition from them. This underlines the need for a precise definition.”

At IAFFPE we’ve been working diligently to make chronic symptoms part of the medical dialogue on FPIES. This blog post highlights some of our recent efforts and offers links to new medical literature that has broadened the discussion of chronic FPIES.

Efforts to Educate Physicians

  • FPIES Debunk the Myths PostcardThis past March, thousands of attendees at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) received this attention-grabbing postcard. It is part of our effort to ensure that allergists, immunologists, and other healthcare professionals become familiar with chronic symptoms.
  • We recently developed a new resource for physicians: “Clinical Manifestations of FPIES: Acute and Chronic.” IAFFPE Medical Advisor Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn developed this piece to broaden the dialogue on FPIES. Physicians who attended AAAAI received this handout—please share it with your medical team as well!

Chronic FPIES in Recent Medical Literature
This month, a special edition of the medical journal Current Opinion in Allergy and Immunology focused on FPIES. Four of the articles included sections on the topic of chronic FPIES.

More Work to Be Done
IAFFPE’s task force is hard at work developing the first consensus guidelines for FPIES. Chronic FPIES will be included in the discussion, highlighting the importance of differentiating related symptoms from other conditions.

In addition, we will continue to leverage our partnerships with organizations such as AAAAI and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) to educate physicians and advance the discourse on this poorly understood aspect of FPIES.

Two Years of Progress and Action: Thank You for Making It Possible!

IAFFPE AnniversaryAs IAFFPE marks our second anniversary, we are so proud to work on behalf of you and all those affected by FPIES. When we started two Septembers ago, we couldn’t begin to imagine the way our organization’s journey would unfold and all the positive changes that would occur. And there’s so much more to look forward to. Together, we are taking action, raising awareness, and discovering our voice as an FPIES community.

This blog post is focused on key accomplishments from the past year and exciting things ahead. The rest of the week is all about you: the families who inspire us and the volunteers and fundraisers who make what we do possible. We’ll wrap up the week by giving back to our FPIES community: awarding a $500 Travel Grant to the 2013 FPIES Education Conference!

A Few Highlights from a Busy Year

  • In early June, we received news that FPIES finally has an official diagnosis code: K52.21. Securing the ICD-10 code was an ambitious, year-long initiative for IAFFPE. And the letters you wrote on behalf of children with FPIES made an impact. Because of our collective voice, families will be less likely to suffer from delayed diagnosis or a lack of treatment opportunities. When this code is enacted next year, it will change so much, impacting our knowledge, awareness, research, and funding for this condition.
  • This summer, EVERY pediatrician in the U.S received an FPIES Fact Sheet developed by IAFFPE’s Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and distributed by the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology. This was a huge step in educating all frontline providers about FPIES and ultimately reducing the amount of time that patients go without diagnosis.
  • IAFFPE is the only organization actively funding FPIES research. This year, we funded a new CHOP study that has helped shape our understanding of this condition. The findings of this study were recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
  • In July, we were also profiled in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, a journal targeting clinical practices. We were featured in the July issue on Gastrointestinal Allergy, putting a spotlight on the work we do for FPIES patients and further raising awareness among medical professionals. We’re also the only FPIES group recognized as a lay organization by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
  • IAFFPE was honored to represent FPIES as an exhibitor at the AAAAI Annual Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). These conferences were exciting opportunities for IAFFPE to educate and advocate for FPIES patients to thousands of allergy experts from around the world.
  • FPIES was in the spotlight as IAFFPE received media coverage from ABCNews, Good Morning America, and The Ricki Lake Show. Our successful campaigns for Rare Disease Day and Food Allergy Awareness Week further spread the word about FPIES and strengthened our place in the rare disease and food allergy communities.
  • You made the difference over the past year with your amazing fundraising efforts on behalf of IAFFPE. Our next blog post will look at some of the fundraising superstars who are helping to fund research and other important initiatives that are changing the course of FPIES.

What’s on the Horizon

  • We are well into the complicated process of developing consensus guidelines for FPIES. Our Medical Advisory Board is partnering with AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) and other leading FPIES researchers in Australia, China, Israel, Japan, and Korea. Collectively, this group has published much of the literature that is currently available on the subject of FPIES. The guidelines will provide a course of action for diagnostic and treatment protocols, research needs, and daily management of the condition.
  • We are thrilled to share that IAFFPE has been working with our friends at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to develop CHOP’s FPIES Center. Led by Dr. Terri Faye Brown-Whitehorn, this will be the first center of its kind devoted to FPIES. IAFFPE is excited to be part of the planning process and honored to give input on the specific needs of the FPIES community. We can’t wait to share more details at the FPIES Education Conference!
  • On the research front, the results of the FPIES survey that so many of you participated in were just submitted as an abstract to the AAAAI. The results appear to be very interesting and different than previous studies. The paper is set to be published in February, and we will be sure to share the highlights with you.
  • On October 20th, IAFFPE is presenting the first national FPIES Education Conference in Philadelphia. This is a unique opportunity to bring our community together and hear from expert speakers on a wide spectrum of FPIES-related topics. We hope to see you there!
  • We’re excited that the medical journal Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology is developing a special issue on FPIES. Members of our Medical Advisory Board have been asked to address various aspects of the condition. And we’ve been asked to write an article on what parents want doctors to know about FPIES. This is a unique opportunity for the parents’ perspective to be part of the medical conversation on FPIES!
  • In the coming months, IAFFPE will be launching an Education Ambassador Program with our older FPIES children and siblings. We’ll be asking older kids living with FPIES to share their stories, talents and make a difference.
  • We have some exciting news cooking! Chef Mike Jurusz has just joined our Board of Trustees and is the official FPIES chef. We’re working with him to create a series of YouTube cooking videos that offer creative ideas, discuss common challenges, and ask families to submit their cooking obstacles. We’ll also be collaborating with Chef Mike on the first FPIES cookbook!

None of these goals could be accomplished without support and generosity from the heart of our community, people just like you. THANK YOU! If you’d like to be part of the momentum, we hope you’ll consider donating to IAFFPE or joining us as a volunteer or fundraiser.

We look forward to another year of making a real, impactful difference in the world of FPIES.

New Details: FPIES Education Conference

FPIES Education ConferenceWe’re excited to share new details about our first annual FPIES conference for parents and caregivers!

2013 FPIES Education Conference
October 20, 2013
Philadelphia, PA

First, the conference will be a unique opportunity for attendees to participate in FPIES research. A “live” research study will be conducted at the conference, and participants will be able to provide information for the study. Led by Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the study will focus on the quality of life for FPIES patients and families.

In addition, the conference will be your chance to meet and hear from our team of FPIES experts. The lineup includes: Drs. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn (Mt. Sinai), Jonathan Spergel (CHOP), Matthew Greenhawt (University of Michigan), Mirna Chehade (Mt. Sinai), as well as Marion Groetch (Mt. Sinai), Sally Noone (Mt. Sinai), and Kim Mudd (Johns Hopkins).

We value the feedback we’ve received from you and have incorporated it into our agenda. We’re finalizing the program, which features a broad range of topics that matter most to FPIES families, everything from the latest medical knowledge to practical tips for daily life. Stay tuned for more details about the FPIES Education Conference!

Four Things to Know About IAFFPE and the FPIES Movement

IAFFPE Founder Fallon SchultzBy Fallon Schultz, Founder and Chair

As IAFFPE honors Food Allergy Awareness Week, we are so proud to work on behalf of those affected by FPIES. As the leading international foundation for FPIES, we are actively pursuing positive, substantive change to alter the course of FPIES, raise awareness, and best serve the needs of our community.

This update serves another important purpose. It lets you know that your donation to IAFFPE matters; it goes toward making a real, impactful difference in the world of FPIES, from funding research to spreading the word about FPIES through the most powerful national channels. We have embarked on a number of exciting projects; we encourage you to join us as together we launch a new era of FPIES. Here’s what you should know:

1.       Initiatives on the Front Lines
I want to start by highlighting three key initiatives that will have an immediate and lasting impact:

  • We are well into the process of developing consensus guideline for FPIES. Our Medical Advisory Board has partnered with the leading FPIES researchers in Australia, China, Israel, Japan, and Korea; collectively, this group has published much of the literature that is currently available on the subject of FPIES. The guidelines will provide a course of action for diagnostic and treatment protocols, research needs, and daily management of the condition. Just imagine the difference that can be made by having formal guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of FPIES!
  • As you may have heard, EVERY pediatrician in the U.S will soon receive an FPIES Fact Sheet developed by IAFFPE’s Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and distributed by the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology. This is a monumental step in our ongoing effort to educate all frontline providers about FPIES and ultimately reduce the amount of time that patients go without diagnosis.
  • Over the past year, IAFFPE has also been working with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics to create a unique ICD-10-CM diagnosis code for FPIES. Any day now, we expect to receive exciting news approving this code. Requests for ICD-10 codes are not typically initiated by patient advocacy organizations, but in keeping with our progressive mission to create awareness of FPIES, IAFFPE has been at the forefront of this request. I can’t emphasize enough how important this will be for our community on so many levels: billing, insurance and medical records, disease management, treatment advances, research, national statistics, and the list goes on.

2. Research Holds the Answers
Research is the most valuable commodity available to the FPIES community, and IAFFPE is the only organization actively funding FPIES research. As more studies are conducted, more data can be collected, leading to improved methods of diagnosing and treating FPIES. It is our greatest hope that research will lead us to the discovery of the primary cause for FPIES, followed by a cure.

As part of our research efforts, our Medical Advisory Board has developed four surveys to measure global FPIES awareness among key medical professionals (pediatricians, allergists, GI, dietitians). The results will help us understand how to better educate physicians in the diagnosis and management of FPIES. This will also help identify our research priorities so that every dollar donated is spent wisely and in the best interest of FPIES families.

In addition, we are expanding our development efforts in 2013 to fund new research at major medical centers that will help to identify the root cause of FPIES while also advancing treatment options.

3. Key Partnerships

Did you know that IAFFPE is the official FPIES organization affiliated with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)? We’re also the only FPIES group recognized as a lay organization by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

In fact, IAFFPE has a very exciting opportunity to be profiled in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, a journal targeting clinical practices. We’ll be featured in the July issue on Gastrointestinal Allergy, putting a spotlight on the work we do for FPIES patients and further raising awareness among medical professionals.

4. Your Donation Makes the Difference
IAFFPE exists to help FPIES patients and mobilize a national community that deserves recognition, support and answers. From our esteemed Medical Advisory Board to our dedicated team of parents, we are an organization of volunteers. IAFFPE does not receive any government funding. We rely on donations from the heart of our community–people like you–to accomplish these goals.

In addition to the efforts already cited, IAFFPE brings about enduring, profound change by:

  • Providing free support, information, and referral services to FPIES patients and families. In addition to our growing library of online resources, we respond to hundreds of emails and messages via social media so that patients and families know that they’re not alone.
  • Igniting awareness of FPIES nationally and internationally with media coverage from ABCNews, Good Morning America, and The Ricki Lake Show. Our successful campaigns for Rare Disease Day and Food Allergy Awareness Week have spread the word about FPIES while also reinforcing our emerging place in the rare disease and food allergy communities.
  • Organizing the first national FPIES Education Conference scheduled for October 20th in Philadelphia. This is a unique opportunity to bring our community together and hear from expert speakers on a wide spectrum of FPIES-related topics.

As I write this post, it becomes clear how interconnected each of these points are. Initiatives. Research. Partnerships. Your Generosity. They are all fueled by each other; they are all dependent on each other. And they are also what set IAFFPE apart.

This is an exciting time for the FPIES community, and we appreciate your enthusiasm and support in helping IAFFPE make the world a safer, happier place for those living with FPIES.