The Allergists’ Foundation Community Project Summaries

| September 13, 2023

The Allergists’ Foundation Community Project Summaries

2023 Grantees

Alan P. Baptist, MD, MPH, FACAAI

Treatment For Mild Asthma: What Matters to Patients and Providers

Alan Baptist, MD, FACAAI will conduct a qualitative research project utilizing focus groups and survey data to better understand patient and provider perspectives on unanswered questions in mild asthma (i.e., care goals, side effects, financial issues, etc. The project aims to assist primary care providers and asthma specialists in diagnostic, treatment, and monitoring areas of primary importance, and to inform future asthma guidelines.

Krishan D. Chhiba, MD, PhD

Simulation-Based Training of the Emergent Management of Anaphylaxis in Clinic: A Focus on Facilitating Teamwork Among Providers

Krishan Chhiba, MD, PhD will develop and pilot a high-quality training on the immediate management of anaphylaxis for use in community settings. The modular training curriculum will be based on case simulation to improve the management of anaphylaxis and enable care providers to identify and resolve latent safety threats. The intervention will help to normalize the debriefing practice and further facilitate communication for a team-based approach to management of anaphylaxis.

Nerissa C. D’Silva, MD

Global Search Engine Powered by Artificial Intelligence to Improve Management of Food Allergies and Intolerances: A Digital Pilot in Marginalized Communities Across the State of Texas

Nerissa D’Silva, MD will implement a pilot to assess and test the effectiveness of new technology to improve the management of food allergies in marginalized communities across the state of Texas. The digital tool is designed to aid patients and their families in finding and shopping for food to meet their dietary needs while helping them avoid allergic reactions. The online platform will also support allergists’ delivery of patient care and allow dieticians to identify patients’ individual food allergies and sensitivities to develop personalized diets around them.

Michael C. DiCello, MD

Employing Artificial Intelligence as a Clinical Tool to Ease the Administrative Burden Associated With Prescribing Therapies and Completing Prior Authorizations

Michael Dicello, MD will lead a project to explore the employment of artificial intelligence (AI) as a clinical tool to ease the administrative burden associated with prescribing therapies and completing prior authorizations. His project seeks to leverage a natural language generative AI model to efficiently handle administrative tasks that significantly drain clinical resources. The project’s end goal is to inspire a paradigm shift in how health care is administered, making it more efficient and patient-focused by using AI to absorb repetitious, tedious tasks.

Kamran H. Imam, MD

Burden of Atopic Disorders in American Indian/Native Alaskan Populations of San Diego County

Kamran Imam, MD, will embark on a retrospective study to determine the prevalence of atopic diseases among American Indian/Native Alaskans (AI/NA) in the local urban indigenous population of San Diego. Since most prior studies have focused on health care disparities between ethnic minorities and the general population, this project will generate much needed data on allergic diseases in the AI/NA population.

Matthew R. McCulloch, MD

Indoor Air Quality and the Home Environment in Children With Asthma

Matthew McCulloch, MD has designed a project to study the relationship between poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and asthma. The project will use indoor air quality sensors placed in the homes of children with asthma to generate reliable and descriptive IAQ data over an extended time. The data will be coupled with home environment and asthma control survey data to identify potential sources of indoor air pollution and its association with asthma disease status.

Andrea A. Pappalardo, MD, FACAAI

Stock Inhaler Programming: Improving Access to Critical Asthma Medications in Rural Schools

Andrea Pappalardo, MD, FACAAI will devise a community engagement strategy to facilitate school-based asthma management (and establishment of stock inhaler programs) in rural schools so school staff are prepared to respond to asthma emergencies and connect children to guideline-based care.. She will engage with key informants from various governmental, advocacy, community, and professional organizations that regularly interface with rural schools on health-related concerns. She will also seek the help of the Center for Rural Health in the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois’ Rural Health programs.

2022 Grantees

Sara Anvari, MD, MSc, FACAAI

Improving Access to Allergy Specialty Care in Houston Through a Novel Penicillin Allergy Stewardship Program

Sara Anvari, MD, MSc, FACAAI is leading a 12-month project to develop a protocol to ensure that low-risk patients in the Texas Children’s health care system are properly evaluated for penicillin allergy (PA). The evaluation will first take place via telemedicine, followed by in-person appointments where low-risk patients will receive an amoxicillin challenge and high-risk patients will receive a skin test to see if further testing for PA is necessary. The main objectives of Dr. Anvari’s project are to de-label children inappropriately labeled as penicillin allergic, while also identifying disparities in access to allergy services across the outpatient health care system and ensuring equitable access to care across the community.

Gerald Lee, MD, FACAAI

A Quality Improvement Project to Reduce Food Allergy IgE Panel Utilization

Gerald Lee, MD, FACAAI is leading a 24-month project to close the knowledge gap among primary care providers and caregivers related to proper diagnosis of food allergies. The goal of the project is to minimize misdiagnosis of food allergy via IgE panel testing and alleviate the unnecessary burden placed on children and their families due to false positive results. Dr. Lee has teamed up with The Children’s Care Network (TCCN), which is an integrated network that engages 120 pediatric practices to produce data-driven, high-quality care. He will assess and address knowledge gaps among physicians within the TCCN to reduce inaccurate diagnoses of food allergies, which he hopes will lead to a reduction in unnecessary interventions, improve quality of life, and reduce health care expenditures for the children within the network.

Jessica Macdougall, MD, MS

Food Allergy Transitions of Care for the Adolescent Population

Jessica Macdougall, MD, MS, is leading a 12-month project focused on transitions of care for adolescents to improve their understanding and management of their food allergies. The project will establish an evidenced-based transition curriculum that can be used by community and academic allergists; create patient education materials that are tailored to adolescents both in content and how they are delivered; and engage the community through webinars/events that are designed for adolescents who may be entering college or going into the workforce. By developing more cohesive guidelines to help adolescents manage their food allergies during their transition to adulthood, the project ultimately aims to reduce accidental exposures and anaphylactic reactions, lessen anxiety and increase participation in daily activities.

Lulu Tsao, MD

Promoting Evidence-Based and Equitable Penicillin Allergy Evaluation Among Pregnant Patients

Lulu Tsao, MD, is conducting a 12-month project to assess and bridge the gaps in knowledge, perceptions, and barriers to prenatal penicillin allergy evaluations among obstetrics (OB) providers and pregnant patients. Due to misconceptions about safety and feasibility of prenatal PA evaluations, they are often underutilized and not incorporated into routine prenatal care for patients across all care settings. The goal of Dr. Tsao’s project is two-fold: to increase uptake of evidence-based recommendations for prenatal PA evaluation among OB providers and allergists; and to develop a patient centered toolkit on prenatal PA evaluation that informs and encourages patients to get appropriate testing during pregnancy. Long-term, the project aims to evaluate the impact of the intervention toolkit on clinical outcomes, including prenatal PA referrals, PA evaluation and testing outcomes, β-lactam utilization, and pregnancy/neonatal outcomes (e.g., caesarean section rates, length of hospitalization).

2021 Grantees

Marcella Aquino, MD, FACAAI

Multi-level Contributing Factors to Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Urban Children with Asthma and Atopic Dermatitis

Marcella Aquino, MD, FACAAI is leading a 2-year study that offers an innovative approach to identify multi-level risk and resource factors that may contribute to asthma and AD outcomes in urban minority children. The project will focus on behavioral processes, such as adherence to AD and asthma medications and clinical processes such as asthma severity, AD severity, asthma quality of life and dermatologic quality of life. Outcomes that will be assessed include lung function via daily spirometry measurements, asthma control, AD control, and asthma and AD healthcare utilization via questionnaire and confirmation from electronic medical record. This novel approach will shed light on specific contributors that may increase morbidity in urban minority children with asthma and AD and will inform future tailored interventions. Read more about her project in the Fall 2021 issue of College Advantage.

Juan Carlos Cardet, MD, MPH

Impact of Telehealth vs. In-person Appointments on Asthma Outcomes Among African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx Adults with Moderate to Severe Persistent Asthma

Juan Carlos Cardet MD, MPH is leading a 12-month study to determine how telehealth vs. in-person appointments impact asthma-related outcomes among Black and Latinx patients with moderate to severe persistent asthma across the US. This project builds on a large pragmatic trial (PREPARE) to determine whether a patient-guided intervention can improve asthma outcomes in these populations, drawing on extensive clinical and phenotypic data collected at baseline, and prospective asthma outcome data collected through monthly questionnaires during 15 months of follow-up. Results from the study will inform community practicing allergists whether transitioning to telehealth platforms provides adequate asthma care. Watch an interview with Dr. Cardet to learn more about where he is with his project.

Timothy Chow, MD

Shouldering the Burden of Pediatric Penicillin Allergy Labels:
Delabeling in the Primary Care Setting

Timothy Chow, MD, is leading a 12-month study to explore the feasibility of implementing a penicillin allergy delabeling protocol for low-risk pediatric patients. The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the number of patients for whom risk-stratification and direct amoxicillin challenge are successfully completed in an outpatient pediatric primary care clinic and assess barriers for implementation and their impact on referrals for outpatient allergist evaluation. Watch an interview with Dr. Chow to learn more about where he is with his project.

Kelsey Kaman, MD
(2021 and 2022 Grantee)

Learning Educator’s Anaphylaxis Response Needs: Optimizing the Safety of Children in Head Start

Kelsey Kaman, MD continues her project (funded as a planning grant in 2021) to ensure early childhood educators serving children in selected underserved communities are well prepared to handle food allergy-related emergencies. In her 24-month “LEARN Early, Next Steps” project, she will ensure that participating centers are able to provide food that is safe for allergic children; bridge food allergy knowledge gaps among teachers and staff, particularly as it relates to recognizing and responding to anaphylaxis; and provide the necessary information for access to and administration of epinephrine.

She is collaborating with Head Start, Code Ana, The Allison Rose Foundation and Food Equality Initiative as well as other partners experienced in providing education, emergency anaphylaxis plans and access to allergen-free foods. They will explore means to collectively address barriers to care and foster long-term relationships between community allergists and early childhood educators. Watch an interview with Dr. Kaman to learn more about where she is with her project.

Anil Nanda, MD, FACAAI

Development of Educational Modules Regarding Cannabis Questions for Intake Forms for Community-based, Large Practice and University-based Allergists

As cannabis use continues to rise in the general population due to its legalization in the US and around the world, community practicing allergists need to be up to date on the nature, potential benefits, and adverse effects of cannabis use, including cannabis allergy. Anil Nanda, MD, FACAAI is working with a team of experts to develop educational modules that will address these topics as well as recognizing and diagnosing cannabis allergy. Additionally, they will develop a module specifically focused on how practitioners can discuss cannabis with their patients – i.e., what questions to ask on intake forms to gather the information necessary to start a conversation about cannabis use and its potential benefits and harms among allergic and asthmatic individuals. The project is a collaborative effort with a professionally diverse group of experts consisting of physicians and scientists with extensive background in cannabis basic and clinical research, including cannabis allergy.

Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, FACAAI

National Needs Assessment for Infant and Toddler Food Allergy Curriculum for Pediatric Residents

While the prevalence of infant and toddler food allergy is on the rise, there is a shortage of community physicians who are properly trained and comfortable to provide the most current standard of care. Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSC, FACAAI, and his team are developing an educational needs assessment to determine and characterize the need for a standard infant/toddler food allergy curriculum for pediatric residents at a national level. The assessment specifically focuses on gaps that lead to discomfort in the management of infant/toddler food allergy and anaphylaxis, lack of implementation of early peanut feeding guidelines, and ineffective co-management of infant/toddler food allergies alongside primary care physicians. In addition, the assessment provides an opportunity for medical residents to learn more about the field of allergy and potential to pursue a career in the specialty.

“The Allergists’ Foundation has received a strong response to our call for proposals under the Community Grant Program, which makes our job of selecting projects for funding very challenging,” said Todd Mahr, MD, FACAAI, the chair of the Foundation’s Grants Allocation Committee. We are very much impressed with the quality and creativity of the proposals we’ve received so far and we look forward to seeing more project ideas with each new grant cycle.”

To learn more about the Community Grant Program and how you can help support it, download the brochure or contact us for more information.