August 2011 – Educators across the U.S. now have access to a free, interactive online course that provides a comprehensive tutorial on managing anaphylaxis in schools. This tool comes at a critical time as new prevalence figures show as many as 1 in 13 U.S. children have a food allergy, and nearly 40 percent of those children have a history of a severe reaction.
How to C.A.R.E.™ for Students with Food Allergies: What Educators Should Know is the result of a collaborative effort among the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), Anaphylaxis Canada, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Leap Learning Technologies.
“This course provides one-stop shopping for a thorough review of managing life-threatening food allergies in the school setting,” said Scott H. Sicherer, M.D., a prominent researcher at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a member of an expert panel that reviewed the program.
Available at www.allergyready.com, How to C.A.R.E.™ for Students with Food Allergies is the first online course about food allergies and anaphylaxis designed specifically for school personnel – administrators, nurses, teachers, and other staff – in the United States. Offering online accessibility and a high level of multimedia and instructional design, the course reaches schools in a way that would not be possible with in-person educational programs. The curriculum is based on FAAN’s Safe@School® program, and provides interactive education for school staff, with an emphasis on the need to create an allergy-smart school environment to help protect students with food allergies. The online course helps educators learn how to C.A.R.E.™: Comprehend the basic facts about food allergies, Avoid the allergen, Recognize the symptoms of a reaction, and Enact emergency protocol.
The course reinforces these facts by testing the user with questions using scenarios depicting allergic reactions at schools. It has been proven effective in research supported by AllerGen NCE Inc. and McMaster University.
“How to C.A.R.E.™ for Students with Food Allergies is an essential tool for school nurses, teachers, and other school staff who take care of our children,” said FAAN CEO Maria Acebal. “The knowledge that they gain from taking this course online could save a student’s life.”
“Food allergy is a significant and growing public health issue, and one for which there is currently no cure,” said Mary Jane Marchisotto, executive director of FAI, which funded the program. “This online course, which is based on the latest research and best practices developed by physicians, educators, and patient advocates across North America, provides school personnel with an easy, comprehensive way to ensure they understand food allergies and are well-prepared.”
The online course was initially introduced to attendees of the annual conference of the National Association of School Nurses in Washington, D.C. in July by Christine Szychlinski, APN, CPNP of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
FAAN and FAI are working with educators and parents across the country to raise awareness about the new online course. For more information about the course and how to let a local school know this new tool is available, visit www.allergyready.com.
Founded in 1991, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in information, resources, and programs for food allergy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition that afflicts as many as 15 million Americans, including almost 6 million children. A nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Va., FAAN has approximately 22,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and 58 other countries. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, to educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it. FAAN provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. To become a member or for more information, please visit FAAN at www.foodallergy.org.
The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) is the world’s largest source of private funding for food allergy research. FAI’s goal is to fund research that seeks a cure; to improve diagnosis and treatment; to increase federal funding of food allergy research and to create safer environments through advocacy; and to raise awareness through education. Founded in 1998 by concerned parents and grandparents, FAI has committed more than $75 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. FAI is headquartered in New York, with an office in the Chicago area and an active volunteer committee in the Northwest, and enjoys strong relationships with food allergy support groups and advocates nationwide. A national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FAI is supported solely by donations from dedicated individuals, corporations, and foundations. For more information, please visit FAI at www.faiusa.org.