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Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Kids with Food Allergies merge

BY Alaric DeArment

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."


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Retail CFOs to emphasize online, mobile retail in 2013, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — Retail executives are moderating their expectations for 2013 following uneven sales in December and January, according to a new survey of CFOs by professional services firm BDO USA.

The survey of 100 CFOs at retailers across the country found, however, that reduced economic concerns had led many to focus on ways to adapt to the rise of online shopping. As a result, retailers are beginning to integrate online sales into their sales-accounting practices to develop a more accurate picture of their performance, and 66% said they include online sales in their comps as e-commerce began accounting for a larger portion of sales overall. Nearly three-quarters expect e-commerce sales to increase by 6.9% this year.

The report found that consumers can also expect to see more engagement in mobile channels, with 60% planning to maintain mobile investment this year and 38% planning to increase it. They’re also looking for ways to integrate mobile and create an omni-channel shopping experience, ranging from installing mobile technologies like GPS and similar apps in their stores to developing mobile shopping apps for the growing numbers of smartphones and tablets on the market.

Digital promotions are also growing in importance, and executives are analyzing holiday strategies to see which ones work best, the survey found. One-third of CFOs cited email and social media promotions as a top strategy in 2012, and 16% cite free shipping. With consumers focused on deals, promotional discounting remains a stalwart of holiday strategy, with 29% of CFOs indicating that it was the most successful strategy last year. When asked about successful tactics, 41% cited extended store tactics, while 22% cited Thanksgiving weekend promotions.

 

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Legislation would allow states to levy sales taxes on out-of-state online purchases

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings, the parent company of mass merchandiser Kmart, is throwing its support behind a bill that would grant states authority to enforce existing sales tax laws and require out-of-state online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes on sales made to their residents.

The Marketplace Fairness Act was sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; as well as Reps. Steve Womack, R-Ark.; Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Peter Welch, D-Vt.; and John Conyers, D-Mich.

"Sears Holdings has been and continues to be a strong supporter of restoring balance and fairness to the system by enabling states, if they so chose, to enforce the collection of taxes that are already owed by every customer making a purchase, whether the purchase is online or in a retail store," Sears Holdings’ statement read.


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