Last Thursday, Amy Jessup, the Food Allergy Educator at Carle Hospital spoke to undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to promote food allergy education and raise awareness about the underestimated disease. I was delighted to have gotten in contact with this wonderful lady because her education program was an integral part in keeping the community safe and healthy, and I wanted to share her knowledge to university students so that they too can learn more about this underestimated disease.
During her talk, she discussed the causes, symptoms, and treatment of food allergies as well as the science behind an allergic reaction and how an Epi-Pen auto-injector can save a life. She also touched upon the different kinds of food allergens and how one can avoid an allergic reaction. Due to the fact that she spoke to college students, she also talked about how to deal with food allergies in college and the ways they can advocate and raise awareness about this disease to not only educate the public, but also provide support for individuals with food allergies. Many students were not familiar with the basics of food allergy and Amy Jessup’s talk at the university showed that education about this disease is important to alleviate misunderstanding and to emphasize that food allergies are especially deadly when you, a family member, or a friend undergoes an allergic reaction.
Because of her passion for food allergy awareness and having sons with food allergies, Amy Jessup started the Food Allergy Education Program at Carle Hospital to formally continue educating families, schools, organizations, and restaurants in the community about the basics of food allergy and what steps her clients can do to live a safe and comfortable life. She also cites that Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has a great Food Allergy Education Program as well as a wonderful research team composed of talented doctors and health care professionals that strive to understand the science behind food allergies and growing knowledge on food allergies as a whole.
It was a pleasure to have a Food Allergy Educator come in and speak to college students because I believe education on this rising public health issue is one of the most influential ways in getting the word out. Education in itself is an important aspect of our society and learning about a topic you are passionate about and ultimately applying that knowledge for the good of society is certainly inspirational and a valuable part of society.
As Derrick A. Bell says, “Education leads to enlightenment. Enlightenment opens the way to empathy. Empathy foreshadows reform.”