Cleveland Clinic Opens Food Allergy Center

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Clinic is opening the Food Allergy Center of Excellence, the first food allergy center in northeast Ohio that offers comprehensive, individualized care to adult and pediatric patients with food allergies.

The center features a multidisciplinary team consisting of allergists, pediatric psychologists and registered dieticians who work collaboratively to prevent, diagnose, study and treat food allergies and diseases caused by reactions to food. Providers at the the Food Allergy Center of Excellence, FACE, will also conduct research related to food allergies.

The center will be housed at the Cleveland Clinic Strongsville Family Health Center. It will feature a large, interactive observation space that includes video gaming for patients undergoing food challenge tests to determine or confirm a suspected allergy, which can take several hours. The providers will also soon offer services at other Cleveland Clinic locations, as well as virtual appointments.

An estimated 32 million people in the United States have food allergies, including approximately 8% of children. The CDC reports that prevalence of food allergies among children increased 50% between 1997 and 2011. 

Providers at the FACE will offer therapy, including oral immunotherapy for properly selected patients with certain allergies. Providers will also be targeting infants and children at high risk for developing food allergies with early introduction therapies

“Until recently, all we could offer our patients and families with food allergies was avoidance,” said Sandra Hong, M.D., director of the Food Allergy Center of Excellence. “However, oral immunotherapy has ushered in a new era for food allergy patients. We are excited to be able to offer this therapy to carefully selected patients who can benefit from it as a treatment or prevention strategy.”

The center is equipped to care for the multifaceted needs of patients with food allergies, Hong continued. Frequently, these patients have additional allergic diseases including allergic rhinitis, eczema and asthma. Patients or family members also often suffer from anxiety, isolation and bullying due to their allergies.

“Food allergies affect many aspects of a patient’s life – far more than just their diet,” said Jaclyn Bjelac, M.D., associate director of the Food Allergy Center of Excellence. “That’s why the center is designed to care for the whole patient and their loved ones. We want them to feel prepared and confident about their futures.”

In addition, providers at the FACE will care for patients with disease processes which can be associated with foods such as eczema, eosinophilic esophagitis, food protein proctocolitis, and food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome.

SOURCE: Cleveland Clinic.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.