HomeSaskatchewan Dietitian’s advocacy for families and hospital patients with food allergy wins leadership award

Saskatchewan Dietitian’s advocacy for families and hospital patients with food allergy wins leadership award

May 19, 2023

Allison Kapp named recipient of Robyn Allen Leadership Award as Canadians mark Food Allergy Awareness Month.

TORONTO, ON – May 17,2023 – Food Allergy Canada and the family of Robyn Allen are pleased to announce Allison Kapp, a Dietitian with the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Regina, and the mother of two sons with food allergy, as this year’s winner of the Robyn Allen Leadership Award. Ms. Kapp’s longstanding commitment to educating newly diagnosed families, healthcare colleagues, and the general public about food allergy, along with successful influencing policy and processes to better protect hospital patients with food allergy, make her a deserving recipient.

The award is in memory of Robyn Allen, a beautiful young girl who passed away from an allergic reaction. The Robyn Allen Award is presented by the Allen family in appreciation to those who champion food allergy-related causes that improve the quality of life for Canadians living with food allergy.

“I am so grateful for people like Allison who live with the challenges of food allergy in her own home and yet still find the time and energy to educate and support others,” said Marilyn Allen, mother of Robyn and herself a long-time advocate who worked diligently, alongside Food Allergy Canada, to successfully change Canada’s food allergen labelling regulations in 2012.

Food allergy is a chronic medical condition directly affecting more than 3 million Canadians – including 600,000 children – and impacts more than half of Canadians through family, schools, workplaces, and healthcare settings. The condition is defined by its unpredictability, life-threatening potential, and absence of a cure. Even a small amount of an allergen, if ingested, can cause a serious reaction. Taking steps to prevent a reaction, understanding the signs and symptoms if one does occur, and responding quickly with emergency treatment are key to keeping people safe.  

“Allison Kapp is a particularly deserving recipient of this award,” said Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada, “and it is specifically notable given the challenges faced by Saskatchewan families in accessing allergy diagnoses and care due to a shortage of allergists in the province. Allison’s additional efforts as a healthcare professional to affect change within the healthcare system, adds to her valuable contributions to our community.”

There are more than 90,000 residents in Saskatchewan with food allergy. In the province, and especially within healthcare circles, Ms. Kapp is well known for her patience, commitment to taking a science-based approach to food allergy, and her willingness to help. Ms. Kapp organized the first food allergy awareness and support group in Regina in 2008 shortly after her second son was also diagnosed with food allergy, and now co-chairs a merged Regina-Saskatoon group with more than 150 members. She has been invited to present at national conferences for healthcare professionals about food allergy and is described as a “go to source” for information on the condition. Ms. Kapp has also influenced processes in her hospital that impact patients with food allergy, including best practices such as ensuring food trays for patients in hospital with food allergies are prepared and delivered first, and in helping to form the work standard for dietitians whereby food intolerances and allergies are confirmed or clarified with patients on admission.

“I am honoured to receive this award, but I consider it a reflection of the dedication and compassion of so many of my colleagues as well as families living with food allergy in Saskatchewan,” said Allison Kapp. “I feel like I am coming full circle in receiving an award named after Marilyn’s daughter Robyn, as it was Marilyn and Laurie Harada, previous Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada, who showed me that I was not alone in caring for children with food allergy, and inspired and empowered me to try and make things a little better for other families too.”

The award is being announced during Food Allergy Awareness Month, an occasion marked annually to reinforce the continuing need to make food allergy a public health priority and highlight the importance of allergy prevention and management. Food Allergy Canada advocates for a comprehensive policy approach to protecting and improving the lives of Canadians, and released the evidence-based, National Food Allergy Action Plan in 2019 as part of this effort.

About Food Allergy Canada

Food Allergy Canada is a national charity and Canada’s leading patient organization committed to educating, supporting, and advocating for the more than 3 million Canadians living with food allergy. We focus on improving the daily quality of life of individuals and families by providing education and support needed to effectively navigate food allergy, building informed and supportive communities, and acting as the national voice on key advocacy issues.

For more information please contact:
Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting, for Food Allergy Canada

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