Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Announce National Institutes of Health Funding Award for Food Allergy Research 

Food allergy affects up to 6 million children in the United States or roughly 8 percent of children. More than 40 percent of these children have experienced a severe, life-threatening reaction. Although previous research has resulted in a better understanding of food allergy rates, severity, and management, questions remain about the differences in food allergy prevalence, severity, progression and management by African American and Caucasian children in the U.S.

Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and director of the Science and Outcomes of Allergy & Asthma Research program, was recently awarded a Research Project Grant (R01) by the National Institutes of Health to answer those questions. This multi-center trial includes the following co-investigators: Jackie Pongracic, MD, (Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago); Hermant Sharma, MD, MPH, and Linda Herbert, PhD (Children’s National Medical Center/Children’s Research Institute in Washington, DC); Mary Tobin, MD and Manboobeh Mahdavinia, MD, PhD (Rush Medical Center in Chicago, IL); and Amal Assa’ad, MD (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center).

“We are so grateful to receive the R01 funding from the NIH for the Food allergy management and outcomes Related to White and African American Racial Differences (FORWARD) multi-site study since it is such an important area needing work”, says Dr. Gupta. “The FORWARD study will provide answers to how children of different backgrounds present and experience their food allergy. Understanding these differences is necessary to develop guidelines, policies, and treatments that will improve health outcomes for all children”.

The study will take place in four locations within three cities:

  • Northwestern Medicine/Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL;
  • Children’s National Health System in Washington DC; and
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, located in Cincinnati, OH.

Families will be enrolled and then assessed over a two-year period via surveys, medical data, and biological samples.

The FORWARD study is a five-year project that will begin in the fall of 2017.

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