Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA)
The Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose motto is: Taking the Fear out of Food Allergies. Of the more than 200,000 Minnesotans have food allergies, 55,000 are school children.
AFAA has a long record of advocacy success since its beginnings in 2001 and it continues to offer many support programs and numerous events.
As a medically-based organization, AFAA receives guidance from its Medical Advisory Board, and as a non-profit it is supervised by an operational Board of Directors. AFAA is a volunteer-run organization: it has no paid staff members or paid board members. More than 350 volunteers implement AFAAâ€™s many programs and projects each year, including AFAAâ€™s Executive Director, who has donated over a decade of full-time pro-bono work to the organization.
AFAAâ€™s volunteers have â€œmoved mountainsâ€ in the words of one state agency official, often while on a shoestring budget. The talents and passion of its members are key to its successful programs and events.
AFAAâ€™s Advocacy achievements include:
* Epinephrine in MN ambulances law
* MN Dept. of Health Medication in Schools Guidelines for emergency epinephrine
* Promotion of Anti-IgE pharmaceutical research
* Bill Brief to Members of Congress and staff regarding food labeling and the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)
* Epinephrine in MN schools law guaranteeing immediate access at all times, and staff training
* Medical insurance coverage for elemental (amino acid) formula for those who canâ€™t eat food
* Development of Minnesota School Food Allergy Guidelines
* Support of federal school Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA)
* Collaboration with organizations across the U.S. for $6 million increase in federal research funding
* St. Paul City Restaurant Food Allergy Ordinance
* FDA Food Code Minnesota Rule Revision to include food allergy provisions for food service industry
* Conference for Food Protectionâ€™s resolution for release of FDA Restaurant Guidelines
* School district adoption of food allergy policies and practices
* Negotiations with Northwest Airlines (now Delta) for airline food allergy safety provisions
* Led submission of over 2,000 comments to U.S. Department of Transportation regarding food allergy airline passenger safety
AFAAâ€™s Education programâ€™s include:
* Annual Food Allergy Conference & Expo with leading food allergy presenters, professional training, and exhibitors from numerous companies
* Seminars & Resource Fairs in northern and southern Minnesota
* Food Allergy E-Magazine
* Speakers Bureau: professionals offering presentations and in-service training to schools, daycares, restaurants, medical groups, etc.
* Booth Outreach Program: Booths/Tables at educator, nurse, and food service conferences & conventions, & MN State Fair
* Meetings with Policymakers; testifying before legislative and regulatory committees
* Media appearances and Published articles
* Printed and electronic resources (fliers, fact sheets, school action plan materials); DVDs and autoinjector trainers
* Classes and curriculum development
* Lesson Plans and accompanying materials for K-4th grade students
* Facebook Q&As with physicians and other experts
* AFAA Awards to honor those who have demonstrated exceptional efforts on behalf of the food allergy community
AFAAâ€™s Support Includes:
* Food Allergy Awareness Walk
* AFAA Camp â€“ the first U.S. camp for food allergic kids and their families (day & overnight)
* Marching unit in Food-free Independence Day parade
* Food-safe Twins, Saints, and Timberwolves sporting sections
* Halloween Allergy-Free Zone at Mall of Americaâ€™s "World's Largest Indoor Trick-or-Treating" event
* Family Concert (Benefit Concert & Silent Auction)
* AFAA Camp Teen Assistant Program
* Childrenâ€™s Playdates
* Pizza Night
* Miniature Train Night
* Development of Support Groups
* Support Group Meetings
* Buddy System (mentoring newly diagnosed families)
* Resources for families, schools, restaurants, med. professionals
AFAA's work has made an impact on people's lives - for example, AFAA expended great effort to get emergency epinephrine (epinephrine counteracts allergic reactions) onto all Minnesota ambulances: since the law passed, ambulances have used epinephrine over 1,500 times! Another example: on the national level AFAA has helped with food labeling legislation, $6 million increase in federal research funding, and has spearheaded federal transportation and restaurant food allergy policies. It is estimated that AFAA had personal contact with over 20,000 people per year.
What new functionality we are looking for
We would like:
**to add to our Site Content (better images, pages with materials about food allergies to read and to print, graphics that represent what we do);
**the ability to search for materials on the website;
**the site to be easy to maintain (easy content editing; ability to add pages and upload notices of upcoming events);
**an interactive map of the locations of our events and meetings;
**a calendar of events that is color-coded or sortable by 1) classes 2) support meetings 3) family activities 4) volunteer opportunities 5) conferences or events;
**ability to request a speaker through our website;
**a page for Videos & Webinars & Slideshares & online learning modules;
**visible volunteer scheduling charts;
**An inviting, mobile-device friendly home page with:
*constantly changing photos;
*up-to-date (and easily edited) calendar and news features;
*connections to more images;
*social media feeds to Facebook or other social media that can update automatically;
*easy navigation (with drop-down menus) to (and on) internal pages;
**Also on the homepage and all other pages:
*Contact link (including a place to submit testimonials);
*E-mail Sign up;
*donate button with auto thank-you for donations;
*volunteer button with link to online sign-up form.
Bells & Whistles we would like:
*Moving images (i.e. changing photos) on our homepage;
*Floating testimonials on the home page and other main pages;
*ability to securely complete or register for programs or classes; to submit PDF forms & payments; accept volunteer applications and volunteer background check forms;
*children's page with links to learning games and activities.
EDIT: Seeing all the testimonials reminds me that most people get information from AFAA via our Email Newsletter, which goes out every three months. It would be awesome if we could have that content on our website where it is easy to discover via search.
How the new functionality will help
We wish our website could provide desperately wanted medically-sound
information to parents of food allergic children, adult patients, food-service professionals, teachers, and medical professionals.
Because parents and patients feel isolated while trying to manage this life-threatening medical condition, a website would be a resource they could depend on; the food service industry could tap the science-based information and management materials; and the medical professionals could utilize its materials and also direct patients and parents to the site for information; and schools and the community at large could tap its information to learn how they can offer support and accommodations.
In these ways AFAA could better fulfill its mission by offering food allergy educational materials, advocacy information, and connections to its support activities and resources.
How our organization will use the technology
Who will use the technology
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