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Media Room January 26, 2022

FARE Receives PCORI Engagement Award for First-Ever Food Allergy Study in Washington, DC

Community Access Funding to Focus on Increasing Diverse Engagement in Food Allergy Research

McLean, VA (Jan. 26, 2022) – Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) today announced that it has received a $249,663 award through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award program to address barriers to treatment and prevention strategies for people with food allergies from Black and disenfranchised communities in Washington, DC. FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and largest private funder of food allergy research, will use the two-year award from Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to enable the community to engage in research more easily by understanding the unique barriers and burdens they face. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. 

Food allergy is a potentially life-threatening disease affecting 32 million Americans, including 8% of all children and 10% of all adults in the U.S. Blacks and Latinos are affected by this chronic disease at a higher rate than whites, but are less likely to have access to testing, care, safe food and other vital life-saving resources. For instance, Black children are 7% more likely to develop food allergies compared with white children and have a two to three-fold higher risk of fatal anaphylaxis than white children. Black children face additional health disparities since they disproportionately live in low-income communities that have limited access to healthcare specialists, allergen-safe food and medications, increasing their number of visits to the emergency room for treatment. 

Despite the disparities that exist, clinical trials are too often not representative of the U.S. food allergy population, particularly with respect to race and ethnicity. 

“Clinical research is key to developing new food allergy treatments, prevention strategies and cures,” said Anita Roach, MS, FARE Vice President of Community Programs & Education and serves as the project lead and principal investigator for the project. “Yet without community-engaged approaches to clinical research, we cannot adequately understand and remove the barriers that exist for Black and Latino individuals living with food allergy. Community partnership is key for ensuring future innovations in food allergy are inclusive and accessible for all.” 

The initiative will partner with various community-based organizations, faith-based leaders, community members and clinical research institutions in Washington, DC to engage Black food allergy patients and families living in Wards 7 and 8 to understand the unmet needs in food allergy research. 

According to FARE board member Milton L. Brown, MD, PhD, change is needed. “Black and Latino communities are significantly suffering with food allergies and in need of real help,” said Brown, who serves as Professor of Practice and Director for the Center for Drug Discovery for Rare Diseases at George Mason University. “This partnership is a critical step in realizing FARE’s vision for a more inclusive and diverse food allergy community; and the best way to address the needs of these communities is through active engagement and research.” 

In the short term, the project team will create a community food allergy advisory council. Working hand-in-hand with community members, the project team will seek to understand unmet needs and co-develop resources and training that can support sustained access to care and research engagement. Community stakeholders on the Advisory Council currently include partners from Children’s National Hospital, Catalyst Missions Group, Health Alliance Network and AllergyStrong.

“FARE is very excited to receive this PCORI funding in support of our continued emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the food allergy community,” said Dr. Bruce Roberts, interim CEO of FARE. “There have not been enough Blacks and Latinos included in food allergy clinical research. The more we understand why these disparities exist in food allergy research, the more we can do to close that gap.”  

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About FARE

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest food allergy charity supporting research. FARE’s innovative education, advocacy and research initiatives transform the future of food allergy through new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation, and novel approaches to managing the disease. To learn more, visit: foodallergy.org.

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