Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) is pleased to announce that over 3,500 people – patients, family members, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers, biopharmaceutical and diagnostic company representatives, and gluten-free foodies – attended CDF’s annual National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO on June 3-4, 2017 in Pasadena. The June 3rd Conference featured the Patients as Partners Research Symposium where attendees were trained to become Patient Advocates. The EXPO on June 3rd and 4th celebrated food options now available for people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity, and others who seek benefits from the gluten-free diet. For many of the Conference attendees, this was the first time they were surrounded by a community of people living with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity.

The Conference

Through an award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), CDF continues to push researchers to investigate what is most important to patients when it comes to celiac disease potential treatments and cures. While patients and caregivers are eager to participate in research, many feel unprepared when working with researchers. This year’s Conference, the Patients as Partners Research Symposium, featured Celiac Disease Foundation’s Patient Advocacy Program, initially launched at the 2016 National Conference. The Patient Advocacy Program provides participants with the knowledge and tools needed to feel confident, prepared, and ready to engage as active partners in the research process.

“Celiac Disease Foundation was pleased to highlight the Patient Advocacy Program at this year’s Conference, where we educated the community on the importance of the patient perspective in the research process,” stated Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive Officer of Celiac Disease Foundation. “The patient voice is crucial in the development of treatments for celiac disease, and, including our cohort from last year’s Conference where we launched the program, we now have a nationwide network of Advocates who are trained in patient-centered research.” The participating panelists in the Patients as Partners Research Symposium included: Lori Alexander, Quaker, Bob Anderson, MBChB, PhD, ImmusanT, Bradley Herrema, Jennifer Iscol, Christina Ling, MD, University of Southern California, Emily Luxford, RDN, Kevin Murphy, Aneta Reska, RD, Dr. Schar, Warren Saft, Janelle Smith, RDN, Leslie Williams, ImmusanT, David Winternheimer, PhD, Glutenostics, Stephanie Wood, RD, Negar Yaghooti, MD, University of Southern California, and Kristin Yarema, PhD, Amgen. With presentations, Q & A sessions, and breakout sessions, 100 eager attendees were trained in patient-centered outcomes research, celiac disease basics, celiac disease genetics, drug development, and the gluten-free diet.

This training will continue to be replicated throughout the country live and online throughout 2017.

The Gluten-Free EXPO

The Gluten-Free EXPO was open to the public on June 3rd and 4th, featuring delicious gluten-free samples from more than 100 exhibitors, both newcomers and pioneers in the gluten-free food industry. Attendees were able to sample to their hearts’ content, try new products not yet found in stores, and leave with a bagful of gluten-free goodies and coupons. With blogger presentations, raffle drawings, and products available at discounted prices, the event was a huge success! “This is a critical and life-changing event for all people coping with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity and their caregivers,” stated James Watson, Chairman of the Board of Celiac Disease Foundation.

Thank you to the following sponsors for their continuing support: ImmusanT, General Mills Chex Gluten-Free, Nature Valley, Progresso, Cheerios, and Lucky Charms, Dole, Snyder’s of Hanover Snyder’s Lance, Lance, and Eat Right Snacks, Blue Diamond, B & G Foods, Frito-Lay, Crunchmaster, Enjoy Life Foods, Pamela’s Products, Udi’s Gluten-Free, Glutino, Dr. Schar USA, Inc., Quaker, Bob’s Red Mill, Milton’s Baking Co., Trans-Ocean, NOW Foods, Jones Dairy Farm, Canyon Bakehouse, and Éclair Naturals.

CDF also thanks our exhibitors, expert speakers, volunteers, and especially the attendees for making this the biggest and best National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO to date.