Continuing the quest to understand food allergies

Generous gift from Weiser family to allow U-M to conduct groundbreaking research

Editor’s note: James R. Baker, Jr., M.D. is the director of the U-M Food Allergy Center, which is committed to providing comprehensive care for those with food allergies and their families.

Today we are proud to announce the renaming of our center to the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center following a generous $10 million gift from the Weiser family.

The Food Allergy Center will now share a name with a remarkable woman who has tirelessly served as a champion for those with food allergies. Mary is an Ann Arbor mother of two children with severe allergies and has become a nationally recognized advocate for children globally who suffer from food allergies.  What excites me about this gift is the amazing potential it has to advance our understanding of food allergies and to advance the work Mary has led in accelerating toward better treatments.

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5 reasons we shouldn’t joke about kids with food allergies

5 reasons not to joke about food allergiesManaging food allergy in schools remains a challenge. There is little evidence to guide school officials in managing and balancing both the needs of the 8% of children with food allergy, as well as the children without food allergy. Recent data from the March 2014 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health demonstrated that there is no clear parental consensus on how to manage such issues. Striking a balance that allows all parties to feel their needs are validated is a tremendously difficult task, but mutually acceptable solutions are accomplishable.

In this light, recent comments made by elected a Clawson, Michigan school board member at their November Board of Education Meeting are disheartening and inappropriate. The board member suggested that students with food allergies “should be shot” as a means of accommodating their health concerns. Obviously, she was joking, but the comments were insensitive. Food allergy is not a laughing matter, and these children should not serve as a target of derision. Here are a few reasons why food allergies must be taken seriously within the education community.

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