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2018 Pryde Family Travel Grant Winners: Melanie Conway and Nancy Ross

Food Allergy Canada’s annual Pryde Family Travel Grant was established in honour of the Pryde Family, as well as the family and friends of Sean Delaney, who have hosted The Sean Delaney Golf Memorial Classic since 2007, the year that Sean passed away from an anaphylactic reaction.

Each year the Pryde Family Travel Grant provides two $500 awards – one for a medical student and one for an allied health professional, who have an interest in food allergy/anaphylaxis. The funds help to offset expenses for attending an academic program or event related to food allergies.

We are pleased to announce the 2018 grant recipients, Melanie Conway and Nancy Ross.


Melanie Conway

Melanie is from Toronto and works at the Hospital for Sick Children where she developed a love for working in the food allergy clinic. She began her pediatrics training at The Hospital for Sick Children in 2013. It did not take long for her to realize that a significant proportion of their patients are affected by allergies ranging from food, drug and environmental allergies.

Melanie Conway

While working within the food allergy clinic, she found that the most rewarding part was conducting oral food challenges for children who had outgrown their food allergies. An oral food challenge is a test performed in a medical facility under the supervision of an allergist to determine if an individual is allergic to a particular food. During the challenge, a patient eats an increasing amount of the food they might be allergic to, in timed intervals. Melanie shared that, “being able to ‘de-label’ a food allergy can truly be life-changing for patients and their families”.

Alongside her mentor, Dr. Adelle Atkinson, Melanie co-presented “Preventing Food Allergies – What do we know?” to delegates at the Canadian Pediatric Society 95th Annual Conference this past June. “I felt that the opportunity to present at this conference and to share up-to-date research and guidelines related to food allergy prevention was definitely in keeping with the goals of the Pryde Family Travel Grant”, Melanie explained.

As the conference was in Quebec City, she used the grant to offset costs related to travel and accommodation.

After she completes her fellowship in Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at The Hospital for Sick Children in 2019, Melanie plans to work in an outpatient pediatric allergy clinic, providing care for children with a variety of allergic conditions.


Nancy Ross

Nancy is from Winnipeg, and she works as a Nurse Educator at the Children’s Allergy and Asthma Education Centre (CAAEC) in the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg.

Nancy Ross

Initially Nancy’s role was focused on teaching families about managing asthma, however, over the past decade she and her team have developed food allergy education programs and resources in response to the rise in food allergy among children.

One of Nancy’s current projects is a research project funded by the Canadian Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation (CAAIF) called ‘Needs Assessment for Food Allergy Education of School-Age Students, Families, Teachers and School Staff’. With her mentor, Dr. Elinor Simons, Nancy has evaluated food allergy awareness and education in Winnipeg elementary schools.

“We encouraged the participation of students and parents of students WITH and WITHOUT food allergies as well as their teachers, recognizing the important contribution of the whole school community to keeping children with food allergies safe at school”, Nancy explained.

Nancy will put the travel grant money towards travel accommodation for the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Halifax this September, where she will present an abstract of the School Food Allergy Needs Assessment research project.

Nancy will continue at CAAEC (www.caaec.ca) where they are working on expanding their support to healthcare providers and families of children with food allergies throughout the rest of Manitoba, as well as across Northwestern Ontario and Nunavut.

The team at the CAAEC, in collaboration with Food Allergy Canada, has also developed the KungFood App, made possible with funding from AllerGen, NCE and available for use this fall. The app allows users to earn belts as they work through trivia and allergy scenarios. The goal is to increase their knowledge and confidence with managing food allergy. The app also provides food-allergic teens with an allergy alert tool that allows them to share information about their allergy with friends.

“We look forward to networking and sharing the app with the allergy community”, Nancy told us.

 

Congratulations, Melanie and Nancy, and thank you for all that you do to support Canadians with food allergies! Learn more about all our Community Awards.