In the Community: Chicago

Chicago, IL, is one of nine communities in FARE's community engagement initiative. FARE staff are working with local volunteers and FARE Clinical Network sites to raise awareness of food allergies.

Community Needs Assessment Findings

More than 350 people completed the survey. Highlights of the data include:

  • Chicago area schools are doing a pretty good job, but parents still desire a focus on food allergy education and awareness at the schools (both to staff and students)

  • Doctors are doing “just an okay” job, with almost one-third of respondents reporting not getting adequate information at the time of diagnosis

  • Mental health issues are a concern, with the majority of parents reporting their child experiencing anxiety, fear of eating and anger either frequently or always

Community Engagement Focus

The CEC identified three goals to focus on over the next three years. Within those three goals are multiple objectives, some of which are summarized below.

Goal 1: Increase education, awareness and knowledge of food allergies throughout the life span, focusing on key transitions

  • Have a presence at local medical and education professional association conferences and meetings and at city-wide school fairs

  • Share resource materials with physicians, schools and colleges

  • Produce new materials on clinical trials and allergist evaluation

Goal 2: Increase education and awareness about managing food allergies in targeted underserved communities

  • Work with large-scale food bank to distribute training materials to staff

  • Share resource with underserved communities via schools, health fairs and community festivals

  • Send materials to emergency departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers and clinics

Goal 3: Increase awareness and accessibility to psychosocial support among food allergic individuals, families, health care providers, and schools

  • Have a presence at workshops, conferences and events of physician and mental health associations focusing on psychosocial aspect

  • Emphasize mental health aspect through support during clinical trials

  • Coordinate community event and adult social meet up to increase connections and strengthen local food allergy community

Community Engagement Council (CEC) Members

  • Marie Doherty
  • Chrissy Ciaccio, M.D.
  • Amy Hennessy
  • Amy Hoopis
  • Carissa Kapcar
  • Jennifer Likeum
  • Lisa Lombard, Ph.D.
  • Jessica Marcus
  • Sandy Mikulcik
  • Nina Negron
  • Kelly Newhall, M.D.
  • Julia Nutley, R.N.
  • Amy O’Keefe
  • Chris Omahen
  • Shannon Stevens Pokornik
  • Jackie Pongracic, M.D.
  • Rachel Robison, M.D.
  • Christina West