HomeMeet the 2023 recipient of the Robyn Allen Leadership Award: Allison Kapp

Meet the 2023 recipient of the Robyn Allen Leadership Award: Allison Kapp

June 16, 2023

The Robyn Allen Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has made a unique contribution to the lives of Canadians with food allergy through their efforts in education, advocacy, community building, leadership, or fundraising. 

We are excited to feature this year’s winner, Allison Kapp, a Registered Dietitian with the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Regina, founder of the first food allergy awareness and support group in Regina, and the mother of two sons with food allergy.

Allison’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.

There are more than 90,000 residents in Saskatchewan with food allergy. In the province, and especially within healthcare circles, Allison is well known for her patience, commitment to taking a science-based approach to food allergy, and her willingness to help. Allison 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. Allison has also influenced processes in her hospital that impact patients with food allergy.

We spoke with Allison to learn more.

Allison Kapp and her sons

Congratulations Allison on this well-deserved award! Can you tell us about yourself and your connection to food allergy?

I am a mother of two teenage sons with multiple food allergies. I have also worked as a Registered Dietitian for the past 28 years. So, I have both personal and professional connections to food allergy.

Why was it important for you to start the first food allergy and anaphylaxis support group in Regina, SK more than a decade ago?  

At the time, I did not know anyone else whose children had food allergies, let alone milk and egg allergies which are often misunderstood. As a parent, I was feeling isolated and overwhelmed and needed to connect with others who were in the same situation. What I also wanted for this group was access to science- and evidence-based information about food allergy. I referred to Food Allergy Canada’s credible resources and had expert guests speak at support group meetings to increase food allergy awareness in the community. 

In your role as a Registered Dietitian, you have influenced processes in the hospital that can affect patients with food allergy. Can you tell us more about this work and the significance of it?  

I have been part of committees that have looked at policies and processes for managing food allergy in hospital and have helped to set up best practices such as ensuring food trays for patients in hospital with food allergy are prepared and delivered first, and form the work standard for dietitians whereby food intolerances and allergies are confirmed or clarified with patients on admission. Additionally, I’ve shared information about food allergy and anaphylaxis with healthcare colleagues and students. Having to manage food allergies at home all of the time, it happens to be something that is always at the front of my mind when working in foodservices.

How have you been involved in helping fellow dietitians, healthcare colleagues, and nutrition students better understand food allergy and anaphylaxis?

I believe sharing my personal story with fellow dietitians and nutrition students has helped increase awareness about food allergy and anaphylaxis and how critical it is to help keep people safe. Additionally, I’ve always invited dietitians to our support group meetings when I have arranged guest speakers such as certified allergists.

Is there anything you would like to add? 

I would like to say that I am so honoured to receive this award in memory of Robyn Allen. I would like to thank Food Allergy Canada and the family of Robyn Allen for this recognition.

Congratulations Allison on this award! Your commitment is helping to improve the lives of Canadians living with the condition. To learn more about the Robyn Allen Leadership Award, visit our community awards page

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