Local Mom Finds Work Providing Food Allergy Safety Training to the Community

The ELL (Eating & Educating, Living Life) Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization, recently trained more than 100 consultants on the Protect Allergic Children (PAC) Program a series of food allergy training modules to educate schools, camps, child care facilities and food allergic families. As part of the first and only national network of food allergy consultants, the PAC team will work to disseminate comprehensive and action-oriented information supported by tools so that educators and caregivers can implement effective protocols and procedures as part of food allergy policy and institution guidelines.

Tammy Studebaker, a resident of Centreville, MD is recognizing first-hand the growing demand for PAC training services. As the mother of a food allergic child, Studebaker has leveraged her talents developed through prior business initiatives as a corporate trainer and sales manager to apply her skills to the PAC initiative which she considers as critical to food allergic children and to the community at-large. “When my daughter was diagnosed with severe food allergies seven years ago, it was very difficult to find the educational and emotional support our family needed. With the PAC program, I am able to really educate and help those who need it. This is live and in person, not information you are just pulling off the internet.”

Like Studebaker, the team of PAC Consultants has diverse backgrounds that enhance their effectiveness as PAC Consultants. Specifically, the group includes individuals such as food allergy support group leaders, registered dietitians, nurses, educators and/or mothers of food allergic children all who have joined forces to spread critical food allergy safety information.

Given the aggressive growth rate of life-threatening food allergies in children, the need for universally comprehensive education and training information is necessary. The increasing epidemic of food allergies affects more than three million children across the country today and accounts for more than 30,000 annual emergency room visits.

The school environment poses many threats to food allergic students. Roughly one in five children with food allergies is experiencing an allergic reaction while at school and 25%  of incidents in which epinephrine, the emergency medication used to treat life threatening allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis, was administered at school was to treat children with no prior known food allergy.

“Accidental ingestion of an offending allergen occurs most often at school,” states Studebaker. “Three out of four school nurses have students at risk for severe allergic reactions who do not bring an auto-injectable epinephrine to school. Clearly, training of schools on preparedness is necessary as well as training for food allergic families to incorporate the proper safeguards and emergency action plans in conjunction with the schools and child care facilities,” explains Studebaker.

Since food allergic children can experience a life-threatening reaction through ingestion, inhalation or inadvertent contact with an allergen, vigilance is required throughout educational, recreational institutions and even within a food allergic family’s home.

Studebaker is busy addressing this widespread need throughout the state of Maryland by meeting with food allergic families, school personnel and child care providers to deliver the PAC training services.

“Tammy not only brings her considerable knowledge about food allergies in children to her educational seminars, but also a real world slant to the information.”

Several PAC trainings have been requested of Studebaker within the community over the upcoming few weeks.
•    Chesapeake Community College, February 2nd, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. PAC module “Creating a Safe Home for Food Allergic Families”
•    Kent County Library (Chestertown), February 6th, 2010 from 10:00 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. PAC module “Creating a Safe Home for Food Allergic Families”
•    Kent County Library (Chestertown), February 13th, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PAC module “Food Allergy Safety at the School”

Like Tammy Studebaker, PAC consultants will be available across the country to deliver the following food allergy safety training modules; Food Allergy Safety at School/Camp/ Child Care Facility; Food Allergy Safety in the Cafeteria & Substitute Meal Planning; Creating a Safe Home for Food Allergic Families; Nutritional Assessment & Dietary Planning for Food Allergic Families. For more information on the ELL Foundation or PAC Program services visit http://ellfoundation.org/join-our-consultant-network/ or email ksilverman@ellfoundation.org.

About ELL
Eating & Educating, Living Life (ELL) is a 501 (c) (3) organization that supports the right of every child to eat safe foods, learn in safe environments and live a safer life with food allergies and anaphylaxis.  Geneva, IL-based ELL was founded by Kathleen Silverman after her severely food-allergic son suffered anaphylactic shock from mislabeled food products and the family struggled to find a safe school for her child to attend.  ELL focuses on two key areas; Allergen Ingredient Mislabeling and the Protect Allergic Children (PAC) Program of food allergy safety and educational services. For more information contact Kathleen Silverman at 630-262-1154 or visit www.ellfoundation.org.