WASHINGTON — Two nonprofit groups focused on asthma and allergies will merge to combine their efforts.
The Kids with Food Allergies Foundation will become a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the combined organization will provide education, advocacy, research, social networking and support for families living with the diseases. The groups' boards agreed to merge in 2012.
More than 60 million Americans are living with asthma and allergic diseases, including 13 million with food allergies, and their prevalence has grown dramatically over the past few decades. People with asthma have an increased chance of having food allergies as well, and those with asthma are at greater risk of experiencing an anaphylactic reaction if they also have food allergies.
"Patient education is key," AAFA immediate past chairman Tom Flanagan said. "AAFA and KFA are two of the most respected sources of this type of information and education, so this merger will be a great fit for both groups and great news for the patient community."
The AAFA was founded in 1953, when asthma and allergies were first recognized as a national healthcare problem in the United States. The KFA was founded in 2005, and its president and founder, Lynda Mitchell, will serve as senior director of the KFA as a member of the AAFA's leadership team.
"As part of AAFA, KFA will continue all of our current work, and with our combined mission of education, advocacy and research, we will be able to do even more to help families," Mitchell said. "Families raising children with food allergies are often also dealing with anaphylaxis, asthma, latex allergies, skin allergies, nasal allergies and many related conditions. Together, we will be the most comprehensive and reliable source for people seeking information and support for all of these issues."