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Why is food allergy advocacy important? 

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.  About 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. Food allergy limits a major life activity and may qualify an individual for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families nearly $25 billion annually.

Food allergies are not going away.  In fact, the number of people being diagnosed, and the marketplace that is being created to support them, is growing exponentially.  This leads to a huge opportunity to educate and advocate – patients, caregivers, educators, politicians, media, food brands, pharmaceutical companies and more – and that is the work I am honored to do.

How am I qualified as a Food Allergy Thought Leader? 

My most recent professional role was in the Chief of Staff’s office at MTV Networks where I focused on corporate communications.  My education includes a M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama.  I spent eight years working in New York City in public relations with entertainment, consumer and healthcare brands at Rubenstein Associates, DeVries Global and Maloney & Fox. I specialized in crafting media and brand communication strategies, securing media placements, providing media training and writing speeches for clients. 

 

Once my children were born (and diagnosed with multiple, life-threatening food allergies), I decided to stay home full time and care for them, but I spent every minute I could advocating for food allergy research and education.  Over the last six years, I have created strategic public relations plans and garnered dozens of media placements in my community as co-chair of multiple fundraising luncheons and walks for FARE.  I have also served on the Greenwich Gala event committee and participated in a PSA for End Allergies Together (EAT).  I served as the Communications Chair for Food Allergy Connecticut, a FARE-recognized support group, for two years. And I am honored to currently serve on the Board of Governors for FARE and on the Patient Advisory Board for DBV Pharmaceuticals.  

For more information, please visit my About Me and My Story sections.

Based on my experience, I am uniquely qualified to provide the following services:

 

VOICE OF THE PATIENT PERSPECTIVE 

Food Allergy has become a hot topic in just the last several years.  With the increase in food allergy diagnosis, food brands and pharmaceutical companies are taking note.  This is also still a fairly new medical phenomenon, and yet, unfortunately, there are a surprising number of people who truly do not “get it.”  

 

It’s important to have a voice in the dialogue who can articulate -- from personal experience -- what having food allergies means in every day life, including (but not limited to): how to manage food allergies at home, at school, at daycare, at activities, at restaurants, at camp, while traveling, on airlines, as well as the emotional toll of food allergy including anxiety (for caregivers and patients) and bullying.  Food allergies not only impact the brands of food allergy families buy, but also cosmetics and personal care products, pet foods and products, home cleaning products and more. In addition, there are policy issues including labeling laws, adding sesame as the ninth top allergen, increasing airline and restaurant responsibility and more. I expertly provide this Voice of the Patient to add perspective and depth to media stories, medical or educational panels and marketing discussions.  


I have been thrilled to provide the Voice of the Patient in many media interviews, along with meetings at FARE, DBV Pharmaceuticals, J.P. Morgan and Genentech.  Please visit my Media/Events page for examples.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

As an experienced speaker and presenter, I love opportunities to educate about food allergies at any school or organization where people are interested in understanding this important health issue more clearly.  I am obviously not a medical professional, but I use all referenced, recent and relevant material, targeted to your topic of interest and audience. I speak to all aspects of living with food allergies, per my list above in the Voice of the Patient section.  

 

My journey as a food allergy mama has included not only my boys’ health crisis but mine, as well.  I provide an overview of this journey in My Story, but there is much more to share. After spending years studying healthy habits and changing my life for the better. I am uniquely qualified to share tangible tips and a vision of hope and joy with food allergy patients and caregivers.  I would be honored to deliver an motivational speech at your event or conference.  

 

GUEST COLUMNIST

Are you part of a media outlet or blog and looking for a guest columnist?  I can write an article for you on any food allergy topic. I love to develop educational pieces and have a deep well of resources for your readers.  My writing is always informational and positive.

PRODUCT REVIEWER 

The food allergy community is close knit – and families rely on each other for advice and recommendations.  Is your company trying to reach this group and need a product reviewed or feedback on a marketing plan? My knowledge about the food allergy brand space and experience a food allergy parent allow me to understand how to reach the food allergy audience.  My background in PR and corporate communications honed my skills and my abilities to review and provide feedback on products, marketing and press materials and campaigns. I would be thrilled to review new and exiting products and plans for your company.

 

COMMUNITY BUILDER

Are you a food allergy parent who would like help building a larger food allergy community where you live?  Do you wish you had a local support group, or would you like to kick off a food allergy fundraiser in your town?  Would you like to work with your local press to get some food allergy stories in the news?  I can help! I have worked hard the last six years doing all these things in my hometown of Greenwich, CT and would be happy to speak with you to discuss my tips to get you started in your area.  It truly does take a village, and we can build your own, if necessary!  

 

Let’s collaborate!

Please email me at hillarycarter@gmail.com if you are interested in working together.  Please note that I while try to do most of my work pro bono, some projects require compensation, based on the scope and client.   

About Me

Hi, I’m Hillary!  I’m a former corporate communications professional turned Food Allergy Mama and Advocate.

 

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