The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness hosted its second annual Samuel Gee Society Reception in Philadelphia on Thursday, where they recognized five honorees who have helped spread awareness of celiac disease as a serious genetic autoimmune condition and the importance of early diagnosis and effective management, according to a press release.
The honorees included Glenna Crooks, PhD, Founder of SageMyLife, Francisco Leon, MD, PhD, CEO and chief medical officer of Celimmune, Allison Lubert, Owner of Sweet Freedom Bakery, Chef Jehangir Mehta, Next Iron Chef Finalist and Owner of the New York City restaurants Graffiti and Mehtaphor, and Dick Moberg, Founder and CEO of Moberg ICU Solutions.
According to the press release, Leon is a clinical immunologist and drug developer whose work has contributed to some of the most commonly used celiac disease diagnostic tests, and he has participated in more celiac disease trials than any other industry clinician. “He also continues to develop celiac disease diagnostics, most recently contributing to the development of the first gluten-free diet monitoring tool,” the press release said.
The reception also celebrated several “NFCA Firsts,” including its research summit, its work with grocery stores to expand gluten-free products, support received from government health agencies, and the launch of its national family screening campaign called, “Seriously, Celiac Disease.”
Launched in April, this screening campaign is “the only national campaign dedicated to raising awareness among people with diagnosed celiac disease about the importance of having a serious conversation with relatives who may be genetically at-risk for the condition,” according to a press release. “The campaign was developed as a result of NFCA research that showed when at-risk relatives are properly educated about the condition and armed with the right tools, their receptivity to get screened for celiac disease increases.”
“We’ve been very lucky to partner with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Dr. Schar USA to now take this strategy and launch it into two communities, and in these community settings we are hoping that we are going to create a model that will increase diagnosis, improve patient outcomes and reduce costs,” Alice Bast, President and CEO of NFCA, told Healio Gastroenterology. “We are very excited to be launching this campaign nationally after we do our pilot studies.”