The nonprofit organization has changed its Mission Statement to convey celiac disease as the serious autoimmune disease that it is.
Contact: Claire Baker
Director of Communications and New Media
Ambler, PA – February 2, 2015 – “Gluten-free” has received increasing attention in the public eye. Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), however, remain largely in the shadow of their treatment – the gluten-free diet. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), a leading non-profit organization in the field of gluten-related disorders, announced its new Mission Statement earlier this month, which reflects the organization’s focus from the gluten-free “fad” diet to the serious autoimmune condition it treats, celiac disease.
NFCA board, staff, advisory councils and the NFCA community compelled the change in the mission statement in early January in response to the evolving field of celiac disease research and NFCA’s subsequent involvement. As an evidence-based organization, NFCA relies on credible science to drive the education of its community as well as advocate for changes that will improve the quality of life for those on a medically-necessary gluten-free diet, which requires abstinence from wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives. Despite strict adherence to the gluten-free diet, recent research shows that up to one-third of people with celiac disease continue to experience intestinal damage caused by the body’s immune response to gluten even after a year on the gluten-free diet.
With mounting evidence that the gluten-free diet is not enough to stop persistent intestinal damage, which leads to a host of serious health issues, such as depression, anxiety, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis and even certain cancers, NFCA has focused on early diagnosis and forging pathways to a cure through a variety of methods, including educating the community on their role in advancing research. In 2015, NFCA will drive a research-centric agenda to forward potential treatment options beyond just the gluten-free diet.
“We’re taking a new approach to advocating for those living with gluten-related disorders. By engaging with the community and collaborating with researchers, NFCA is fostering a community where science and patients have the same focus and respect for each other’s roles in moving the field forward,” said Alice Bast, President and CEO of NFCA. “We are incredibly proud to be the first advocacy organization in the celiac disease space to publicly declare its mission to forge pathways to a cure.”
Until science has advanced an effective treatment for celiac disease, Bast says NFCA will remain vigilant in advocating for safe gluten-free options for the community. In addition to providing free resources to the community through a content-rich website and educational webinars, NFCA educates foodservice professionals on safe gluten-free food preparation through its online training programs, GREAT Kitchens and GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps. The organization will also continue its endorsement of the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) whose rigorous testing standards ensure food products bearing the NFCA logo are safe for those requiring a medically necessary gluten-free diet.
About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a serious, genetic, autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 133 Americans, 83% of whom are still undiagnosed. The disease causes debilitating symptoms, and if left untreated, can lead to serious long-term health problems including infertility and some types of cancer.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness advances widespread understanding of celiac disease as a serious genetic autoimmune condition and works to secure early diagnosis and effective management. We empower our community to live life to the fullest, and serve as a leading and trusted resource that inspires hope, accelerates innovation and forges pathways to a cure.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, NFCA is a leading source of free patient resources and industry training programs that not only help people get diagnosed, but also ensure they restore health and reclaim their lives after diagnosis. For more information, visit http://www.beyondceliac.org.