Chicago Luncheon Panel


Dr. Christina Ciaccio: Moderator, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Medical Director, Section of Allergy/Immunology; Director, FARE Clinical Network, The University of Chicago

Dr. Christina Ciaccio is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine and a faculty member at the University of Chicago Medicine in the Section of Allergy/Immunology. She completed training in internal medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University then went on to train in adult allergy/immunology at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and pediatric allergy/immunology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Dr. Ciaccio completed a Master of Science in Clinical Research with a concentration in translational research at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Ciaccio was the 2011 recipient of the Young Faculty Award from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the 2012 recipient of the Paul Henson Endowment Clinical Scholar Award for her work in determining the pathogenesis of atopic disease. Dr. Ciaccio currently serves as the Clinical Director of the University of Chicago FARE Clinical Center of Excellence.

Maria Acebal, JD: National Board Member, FARE; Former CEO, FAAN

Maria has worked in patient advocacy for food allergy families since 2006:  first, as the founder of Safe@School Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to educating schools about food allergy safety; and later as both the General Counsel and CEO of FAAN, one of FARE’s legacy organizations.   Maria’s curriculum for educators has been used in schools, camps, and daycares across the country and resulted in several published abstracts with Dr. Hemant Sharma of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.  She was instrumental in the work behind getting the federal legislation introduced in Congress that led to President Obama signing the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act in 2013.  A frequent patient advocacy representative to the NIH, Maria was appointed to the NIH’s Expert Panel on the Addendum Guidelines on the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States.  She also currently serves on the NIH Council of Councils, a body that advises the NIH Director, and she used to serve on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s Advisory Council. 

In addition to appearing in numerous media segments on food allergy in both English and Spanish, Maria is also a contributing author in Food Allergy - Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives (5th Ed., 2014) and  Food Allergy - Practical Diagnosis and Management (2014), and the author of the forward to Dr. Scott Sicherer’s book “A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It.

Dr. Amal Assa’ad; Associate Director, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; Director of Clinical Services, Division of Allergy and Immunology; Professor, University of Cincinnati Department of Pediatrics; Director, FARE Clinical Network, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Amal Assa’ad, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics, the Director of Clinical Services and Associate Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, and the Director of the FARE Center of Excellence in Food Allergy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). She graduated from the Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residencies at Michigan State and Wright State Universities and the A/I fellowship at CCHMC, where she directed the Fellowship Program for 16 years and graduated 47 allergist and immunologist who hold academic and practice positions around the country. She has conducted multiple novel clinical trials for the evaluation and management of food allergy. She maintains the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Allergy and Immunology certification. She is a clinician, researcher and educator with 75 peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Assa’ad was recognized by the two major organizations of Allergy and Immunology, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) with the Women Physicians in Allergy Award and the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) with the Women in Allergy Award. She is listed yearly among the “Best Doctors” in Cincinnati and in America. She has served in national leadership positions including chairing the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program Directors’ Assembly, serving on the Board of Directors of the AAAAI, and chairing the Adverse Food Reactions Committees of the AAAAI and ACAAI.

Dr. Assa’ad has contributed to guidelines on food allergy generated by the World Allergy Organization (WAO), the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored expert panel on food allergy. She has been a member of the NIH expert panel in 2010 and again a member of the panel as well as a member of the coordinating committee in 2016, and an author of the Food Allergy Guidelines published in 2010 and the Addendum to the Guideline for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy published in 2016-17.

Dr. Assa’ad is a sought after speaker invited to present yearly at national organizations, e.g. AAAAI and ACAAI and international organizations, e.g. EAACI and WAO, aided by her quad-lingual fluency. Her presentations attract a large audience due to their creative formats combining organized information and humor to solidify understanding, retention and applicability to her audience.

Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH: Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern Medicine; Director, Food Allergy Outcomes Research Program; Attending Physician, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Dr. Gupta is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Northwestern Medicine and has more than 15 years of experience as a board-certified pediatrician and health researcher. Dr. Gupta leads the Food Allergy Outcomes Research Program and the Program on Maternal and Child Health and is a co¬founder of the Food Allergy Research Consortium at Northwestern Medicine. Dr. Gupta has been a faculty member at Northwestern Medicine since 2004 and a clinical attending at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago where she is actively involved in clinical, epidemiological, and community research. She completed her undergraduate and medical education at the University of Louisville. She completed her medical residency at Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, University of Washington in Seattle, WA and then a pediatric health services research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Finally, she received her Masters of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Gupta served as a member of the expert panel of the NIAID and was an author of the recent 2016-2017 Addendum to the Guideline for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy.