World Allergy Week (April 16-22) is in full swing!

The World Allergy Week is a wonderful initiative that aims at improving awareness of allergic conditions among both patients and healthcare professionals.

In the past year, we have established an Allergy/Immunology Interest Group at University of Chicago that meets virtually on Google Plus, and in real-life once a month. This is a grassroots movement supported by the strong interest in the specialty by residents and medical students. There is an online repository of the ongoing research projects at our section and the residents/students can signup online for the project they are interested in or offer new suggestions for future projects. Andrew Nickels is med/peds resident at UChicago and the leader of the A/I interest group. He took the initiative to send 2 campus-wide emails with information about World Allergy Week that were received very favorably by the staff and faculty. Even the WAO President took the time to provide personally positive feedback. An edited copy of the email is published below with Andrew's permission. Feel free to adapt the message for use at your own institution.

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Greetings Internal Medicine, Pediatric, and Med/Peds Residents!

World Allergy Week (April 16-22) is in full swing! The Allergy/Immunology Resident Interest Group at University of Chicago is taking the week to raise awareness of the global burden of allergic diseases.

Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) is a prime example of the burden of allergic disease. Recent studies have shown a point prevalence between 0.5-1% in the total population with a predominance in females. Studies also show that the majority of patients suffer for several months, or frequently years.1 Based on a 2008 study, patients with CIU accrued a mean (SD) of $2047 ($1483) annually.2 A cross-sectional analysis using insurance claims revealed that 56% of patients had primary care physicians as their usual source of care, 14% had allergists, and 5% had dermatologists. These patients were found to have high burden of co-morbid allergic disease: 48% had allergic rhinitis, 21% had asthma, 19% had “other allergies”, and 8% had atopic dermatitis.3

Allergy/Immunology is thriving here at the University of Chicago Medical Center! Drs. Raoul Wolf and Ves Dimov see both Adult and Pediatric patients on Tuesdays and Fridays in Comer 2 (off campus other days of the week). Donna Sullivan, RN is the primary A/I clinic nursing coordinator and great resource for residents as well. Both IM and Pediatric residents can rotate through the clinic.

If you would like to learn more about Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria or are looking for a great Allergy resource, check out AllergyCases.org. Developed by our very own Dr Ves Dimov, AllergyCases.org is a high yield website aimed at patient and provider education of allergic and immunologic diseases. The site is frequently updated, has over 1.2 million page views, and was endorsed by the American Association of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

Beyond the Allergy/Immunology Clinic, the Allergy/Immunology Resident Interest Group is available to improve IM and Pediatric residents’ exposure to this exciting field. Please feel free email me if you would like more information regarding the A/I Interest Group activities.

More information about World Allergy Week 2012 can be found at: www.worldallergy.org/worldallergyweek. Have a great World Allergy Week 2012!

Thanks for allowing the Allergy/Immunology Resident Interest Group at University of Chicago to share our enthusiasm for World Allergy Week 2012.

Andrew

Andrew S. Nickels, M.D.
Resident
Departments of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
University of Chicago

References:

1. Weller K, Altrichter S, Ardelean E, Krause K, et al. Chronic urticaria. Prevalence, course, prognostic factors and impact Hautarzt. 2010 Sep;61(9):750-7.
2. Delong LK, Culler SD, Saini SS, Beck LA, Chen SC. Annual direct and indirect health care costs of chronic idiopathic urticaria: a cost analysis of 50 nonimmunosuppressed patients. Arch Dermatol. 2008 Jan;144(1):35-9.
3. Zazzali JL, Broder MS, Chang E, Chiu MW, Hogan DJ. Cost, utilization, and patterns of medication use associated with chronic idiopathic urticaria. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Feb;108(2):98-102.

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We have seen more than 20% increase in referrals to our allergy clinic in the past year secondary to the increased awareness of the specialty at University of Chicago. Social networking is natural for the new generation of doctors and has positive implications that we see in our daily practice. The World Allergy Week fits right in!

The WAO staff were very kind to reach back with the following message:

Thank you for reaching out to your fellow Junior Members at the University of Chicago regarding the messages of World Allergy Week. This is an excellent application of the World Allergy Week key messages.

Related reading:

WAO Member Society Activities celebrate World Allergy Week - pictures from around the world http://goo.gl/aj0BX

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