Gluten-Free Community Unites at National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO
Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) is pleased to announce that over 2,700 people – patients, family members, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and gluten-free foodies – attended CDF’s annual National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO on May 2-3, 2015 in Pasadena. The May 2nd Conference focused on medical information and updates on celiac disease, one of the world’s most prevalent and under diagnosed autoimmune diseases. The EXPO on May 2nd and 3rd celebrated food options now available for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and others who seek benefits from the gluten-free lifestyle. This year’s event also included a 25th Anniversary GALA Dinner, honoring CDF’s Founder, Elaine Monarch. For many of the conference attendees, this was the first time they were surrounded by a community of people living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
“Celiac Disease Foundation is committed to raising awareness among the public and healthcare professionals about the importance of screening and treatment for celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders,” stated Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive Officer of CDF. Attendees of the National Conference were rewarded with presentations from members of CDF’s Medical Advisory Board, including: Joseph Murray, MD, Sheila Crowe, MD, and Shelley Case, BSc, RD. Dr. Murray outlined the biological, symptomatic, and epidemiological basics of celiac disease, noting diagnostic methods, and speaking about future possibilities for managing and testing for the disease. Dr. Crowe followed Dr. Murray’s talk, and delivered a presentation called A Balancing Act: Women’s Health and Celiac Disease. Though she primarily focused on women’s health topics, such as the impact of celiac disease and treatment of women, she noted that celiac disease can affect fertility in men as well. Dr. Crowe also discussed diagnosis and the gluten-free diet. The National Conference also included an educational nutrition and dietetic panel, moderated by Shelley Case, BSc, RD, featuring Anne Lee, EdD, RD, LD, Director of Nutritional Services, Dr. Schar USA, Inc., and Yang Pan, MD, PhD, Principal Scientist, PepsiCo.
National Conference attendees were also treated to the debut of the CDF Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace iPhone and Android App. The Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace is a revolutionary resource hosted on celiac.org, showcasing products and services from companies that care about the gluten-free and allergy-free community. Marilyn Geller announced the launch of the App with a video, and encouraged attendees to download it immediately to their iPhones or Androids as beta testers. Initial feedback about the App has been outstanding, and CDF is proud to be able to offer this resource to the community.
The Gluten-Free EXPO
For the first time in CDF’s history, the Gluten-Free EXPO was open to the public for two days, featuring delicious samples from over 100 gluten-free exhibitors, both newcomers and pioneers in the gluten-free food industry alike. Attendees were able to sample to their hearts’ content, try new products not yet found in stores, and leave with a bag full of gluten-free goodies and coupons. With cooking demonstrations, book signings, raffle drawings, and products available at discounted prices, the event was a grand success. “As the largest gathering of its kind in the United States, this was an extraordinary event for patients, family members, and the public to receive valid and current information about celiac disease, and to sample some of the best gluten-free products on the market,” stated Marc Riches, CDF Board Chair.
Another first this year was the Celiac Disease Foundation GALA on Saturday evening, celebrating CDF’s 25th Anniversary, and honoring CDF’s remarkable Founder, Elaine Monarch and the CDF Medical Advisory Board, whose dedication to the celiac disease community is unparalleled. This special event included: a cocktail reception, live auction, elegant dinner, entertainment, and the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year Award to Marianne Brooks. The event also featured a special tribute from Francisco Leon, MD, PhD, co-founder and CEO/CMO of Celimmune, and Kristin Yarema, Global Marketing for Amgen. The GALA helped raise awareness of CDF’s mission, and secured funding essential to supporting the breadth of programming for the public, patients, healthcare professionals, and the food industry that distinguishes CDF as the nation’s leading voice for celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
CDF thanks our Sponsors, exhibitors, expert speakers, volunteers, and especially the attendees for making this the best National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO to date. There couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate CDF’s 25th Anniversary.