‘Tis the season for giving back! Beyond Celiac Ambassador and Vanderbilt Junior Noah Lustbader is getting into the holiday spirit by hosting events to spread awareness of celiac disease and assistance to his local gluten-free community.
During his freshman year, Noah founded the Vanderbilt Initiative for Public Health Equity to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy amongst Vanderbilt staff. The Initiative has now expanded to address a variety of other health equity issues.
Noah was diagnosed with celiac disease in high school and through the years has become a champion for those living with this disease. He is especially concerned with those less fortunate than himself, those unable to afford or access the diet, and those less educated on the importance of its dietary restrictions. His desire to help led him to become a Beyond Celiac Ambassador and founder of the Vanderbilt Initiative.
This month, the Initiative hosted a tabling event in the center of campus to spread awareness of celiac disease and the challenges faced by food-insecure patients who struggle to afford the more costly gluten-free diet.
The two-hour event educated numerous students (both with and without celiac disease) who stopped by to learn more about Beyond Celiac and managing a gluten-free diet as a student on a budget. The table also offered free gluten-free snacks. Noah found that many in the student body didn’t understand the scope of this serious autoimmune disease before the event.
After the on-campus event, Noah then hosted an event on a Saturday at Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership, a local organization in Nashville, TN whose mission is “to work for justice and equity with our neighbors through building relationships, community action, service, and empowerment.” During this event, Noah and his team distributed gluten-free products to food-insecure families with celiac disease along with educational Beyond Celiac flyers.
If you’d like to get involved in helping spread awareness and assisting those with celiac disease, check out our Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassador program!