A pediatric allergist I know recently attended the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogcon) and one of his take aways is that the medical community has a lot that they can learn from the allergy community, this is not just a one way street.
I love that.
I agree so wholeheartedly that the medical field has an invaluable pool of knowledge about how to manage allergies, but I love hearing that perhaps the knowledge could flow two ways. I think that as a community we spend many hours educating ourselves on how to keep our allergic children, family members, and our selves safe. We know the practical applications of living with allergy that can elude those who don't live with it.
And? Sometimes, for those of us on the public side of allergy, who chose to be advocates and educators, we have more well rounded knowledge. We read studies as they are published, we read journal articles, we stay abreast of emerging knowledge in the allergy field. The medical community is often abreast of this part of the knowledge. We also know what new products are being launched, where the allergy friendly bakeries are, how to substitute recipe ingredients, and the latest word on 504 accommodations, and how to survive the holidays. Keeping our family alive and healthy is very much our field, so we learn a lot about the whole picture, the practical application and the theory.
I would love to see a stronger community form. I would love to see allergists that are more involved in the local conversations. I know that personally I have not had great success getting past the gatekeepers (the secretaries and office managers) to get to the doctors and invite them to be a greater part of the conversation. We invite every allergist every year to be part of our Walk for Food Allergy, so that they can join the community and not only be seen, but SEE. What it looks like to come together as a community and be surrounded by people who understand. How it feels to find that support and grow connections. The community turns out and revels in finding a whole population of locals who "get it".
The medical community is missing out on being part of this conversation, part of this community. We can support each other in so many ways, and the conversation is just beginning.
How do you include the medical professionals in your community in the conversation?