Food Allergy Can Openers: The advocates in EAT's powerful video

EAT’s Grand Challenge was launched this month. Here is their official release. I’m honored and humbled to have been invited to participate in their launch video.

End Allergies Together Launches $1 Million Grand Challenge To End Anaphylaxis

FAIRFIELD, Conn., May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- End Allergies Together (EAT), a non-profit organization that funds research for the growing food allergy epidemic affecting approximately 32 million Americans, announced the launch of a $1 Million Grand Challenge to End Anaphylaxis. The Grand Challenge is the first in a series of challenges to address key areas in food allergy research and requires scientific collaboration across health conditions and within the investment community. The Challenge will accelerate ways to detect, prevent or better treat anaphylaxis -- a serious allergic reaction to stimuli such as food, medication, or venom and may be fatal if not treated quickly with epinephrine and evaluated by medical professionals. Incidence and prevalence of anaphylaxis is increasing: According to FAIR Health's most recent study of private insurance claims, anaphylactic food reaction diagnoses grew 377 percent from 2007 to 2016. 

In Phase I of the Challenge, applicant teams with the most developed and innovative plans for detecting, preventing or treating anaphylaxis will receive up to a $1 million investment to seed their plans. In Phase II, teams who successfully reach their benchmarks then receive follow-on funding to further advance their ideas. Phase I winners will be announced in early 2020. Details and deadlines can be found at

The Grand Challenge announcement was made in tandem with a new, powerful video called "One Word," which shares the first-hand stories of families, kids, teens, parents, school nurses and researchers who care for or treat people who have severe food allergies. This poignant video, created for EAT by the award-winning advertising agency BBDO New York, shows the urgency behind solving anaphylaxis. [Watch video here:]

"It's the constant threat of anaphylaxis from food that has control over us and instills way too much fear in our daily lives," emphasizes Ben Carter, who is an EAT Challenge Panelist, a parent of children with food allergies, and a partner at Southpoint Capital Advisors. "EAT's video 'One Word' gets to the core of how those of us feel who are affected by or have loved ones with food allergies."

Dr. Joon Yun, M.D., an EAT Challenge Panelist, president of Palo Alto Investors, and founding $2 million sponsor of the National Academy of Medicine's Global Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity, explains the benefit of this model: "Grand Challenges can help nurture innovations in areas of unmet needs. The excitement associated with Grand Challenge competitions can help attract more attention, people, ideas, and funding to the issues of anaphylaxis and food allergies."

JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.


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