Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), the largest food allergy nonprofit organization, announced on June 7 that Lisa Gable will be taking the reins as its new CEO.
Gable has worked at senior levels in the corporate and nonprofit sectors as well as in government. She was the founding president of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a coalition involving CEOs in the beverage and food industries, such as PepsicCo and Nestle USA. The foundation committed to removing 6.4 trillion calories from the American diet under her watch.
A high point in Gable’s varied background was serving as a U.S. Commissioner General to the 2005 World Exposition in Japan, holding the rank of ambassador.
Gable told Allergic Living by email that she is eager take on her new leadership role in food allergy advocacy. “Former Secretary of State Colin Powell once said I had a reputation in Washington of being unrelentingly tenacious,” wrote Gable, who was an adviser in the George W. Bush administration.
“I will focus that tenacity to bring together political parties, government agencies, corporations, research institutions and individuals to create sustainable partnerships and programs which advance food allergy issues,” she said.
Among pressing needs for the food allergy community, Gable pointed to the current epinephrine auto-injector shortages (with the exception of the Auvi-Q), noting that this is “an issue that we need to ensure is front and center with all Americans – particularly policymakers. The risk of inaction or slow action is too great.”
She also stressed the importance of FARE’s Patient Registry capturing data needed to understand food allergy as a disease, in order to move forward on diagnostic tests and treatments.
And thirdly, she pointed to the concerning risks facing young adults and teens, noting that 69 percent of food allergy fatalities occur in the 13–21 age range. “This is an incredible number and where we can amplify the messaging through multiple channels with other non-profit partners, schools and colleges to create a sense of collective responsibility for the well-being of students,” Gable told Allergic Living.
FARE is known as the largest private funder of food allergy research, so Allergic Living asked about that commitment. “Research funding remains a top FARE priority,” said the incoming CEO, who starts in her role on June 11. “We will be investing in momentum by prioritizing the growth of the FARE Clinical Network and the Patient Registry as a means of catalyzing progress in research.”
Gable takes over at FARE from Dr. James Baker Jr., who announced in February that he planned to step down from his roles as CEO and chief medical officer. FARE says Baker, an allergist and professor at the University of Michigan’s Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, will continue to serve as a medical adviser.
Asked about whether her federal government connections could be useful for advancing the food allergy cause, Gable notes that FARE is currently working with lawmakers in several areas, including seeking funding for research on the causes of food allergy and new treatments, advocating for the FDA to consider the impact of quality of life when reviewing new food allergy therapies, and supporting legislation to add sesame to the list of top food allergens that need labeling.
“My relationships with members of Congress and federal agency executives on both sides of the aisle will help FARE advance these initiatives,” she said.
In 2016, Gable was a senior vice president of global public policy at PepsiCo, and she has also been a national trustee for the Boys and Girls Club of America and a board member for Girl Scouts of the USA.
“Lisa has a breadth of experience and level of expertise that will enable FARE to significantly grow as an organization and dedicate more resources to life-changing research and essential programs that keep millions with food allergies safe,” Janet Atwater, chair of FARE’s board of directors, said in a press release.