Dedman Family gives $2.35 million for new food allergy center

November 30, 2010

The Robert H. Dedman, Jr. Family Foundation, The Robert and Nancy Dedman Foundation and Mrs. Robert H. Dedman, Sr. have given $2.35 million to launch the new Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical Center.

“As parents of a seven-year-old daughter with severe peanut and egg allergies, we know first-hand what a center of this kind will mean to families in our community and across the country,” said Robert H. Dedman, Jr. “Our goal is to establish a nationally recognized program for pediatric food allergies that excels in both research and clinical care. This gift will establish a much needed clinic, and we plan to work with Children’s to raise an endowment to support research and operations.”

The incidence of food allergy is on the rise. Approximately 3 million (1 in 25) children in the U.S. have food allergies and a recent government study showed that peanut allergy had doubled over five years. Research also suggests that food-related anaphylaxis is under-diagnosed. More than 30 percent of patients currently being treated for allergy at Children’s are referred for specific food allergies. Children's and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are among the nation’s leading institutions in clinical care and research, and are now focused on the fields of allergy, immunology and asthma.

“We are extremely grateful for the Dedmans’ visionary contribution to this increasingly important area of clinical research and treatment,” said Christopher J. Durovich, President and CEO of Children’s Medical Center. “We are committed to becoming one of the leading national resources for the treatment of food allergy and this gift will provide the foundation for that initiative."

The Dedman family’s support was instrumental in attracting Dr. J. Andrew Bird, a leading scholar in this field, to Dallas. Last year, Dr. Bird was named a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care at UT Southwestern, and this year, he has joined the pediatric allergy/immunology faculty and has been charged with developing a center of excellence in food allergy at Children’s.

The Dedman family’s gift will fund the construction of the new Food Allergy Center and will support additional infrastructure, such as the necessary nursing and allied health professionals, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to best serve the needs of patients and families. The Dedman’s active participation in the design process of the new clinic space has ensured that it will be a family-friendly environment for the patients and parents alike. Their perspective as parents of a child with food allergies has proven invaluable during the planning process.

This comprehensive center for pediatric food allergy will play an important role outside the hospital. Physicians and health professionals will engage in outreach efforts with primary care physicians, school nurses and other health professionals in the region to provide educational support in the community, and a new online support group for families with food allergies is being created as well. The Food Allergy Center will maintain a new database to capture patient and epidemiological information for the shared use of Children’s clinicians and researchers, as well as other national leaders in the field with whom they will collaborate.

If you would like to learn more about The Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical Center, contact Carol Bieler with the Children’s Medical Center Foundation at 214-456-8369.