"Where there is no vision the people perish."
Alice Salomon Bast Presented the 2010 Philadelphia Award
Alice Salomon Bast, President and Founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, is the recipient of the 90th annual Philadelphia Award. Bast was selected by the Award's board of trustees, chaired by Susan Sherman, President and CEO of the Independence Foundation.
Since founding the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in 2003, Alice's contributions to Philadelphia and the entire celiac community have changed millions of lives. During this period, the rate of diagnosis of Celiac Disease has dropped from a staggering average of eleven years to as low as six years among the one in 100 people it effects. Her own diagnosis of celiac disease ignited her passion to help the estimated three million Americans with the disease and fuels NFCA's dual mission: to raise awareness of celiac disease and reduce the time to diagnosis, as well as to raise funds for education and facilitate research that will improve the quality of life of those who suffer.
Over the last decade, Alice has worked tirelessly to ensure not only that the words "Gluten Free" and "Celiac Disease" are a normal part of our vocabulary, but also that food manufacturers label their products and that restaurants provide real choices to the consumer.
Bast has also worked with the FDA to define a standard for gluten-free and the industry has responded with hundreds of new gluten-free products to allow safe eating by celiac sufferers.
Under Bast's leadership, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness developed the Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) program, which trains members of the restaurant industry on how to effectively offer patrons safe gluten-free food options. Because of GREAT, sufferers of celiac disease finally can dine in restaurants without worrying they are going to become sick.
Alice's dedication has transformed the city of Philadelphia into a national leader of celiac health. Through the NFCA's annual Appetite for Awareness event, Alice inaugurated Philadelphia as the first Gluten-Free Neighborhood in America. Alice worked with Jefferson University Hospitals, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Nemours/Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children, Paoli Hospital, and St. Barnabas Healthcare System as they created celiac centers which treat patients throughout the region. And, every major Philadelphia sports team--the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers--offer gluten-free snack options at every game.
Philadelphia's proactive approach to celiac health has inspired other cities to follow suit.
Alice maintains partnerships with major national organizations as a leading authority on celiac disease. In 2009, she was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to fund the development of a patient and medical professional educational program for celiac disease entitled "Novel Educational Aids for Celiac Disease," in which she served as the Principal Investigator. Just this year Bast's organization launched the first ever continuing medical education program for primary care physicians on the topic of celiac disease.
Alice plays an active role in several key committees responsible for promoting new approaches to health care, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ad Hoc Committee, Alliance for a Strong FDA (Food & Drug Administration), Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC), FDA Panel on Food Labeling, and the NIDDK/NIH Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign Committee.
Ms. Bast's tireless passion for health and education has shined light upon a disease that went undiagnosed for decades. Her drive to bring relief and treatment to those dealing with celiac disease in Philadelphia and throughout the world--no matter their financial background--is the true spirit of the Philadelphia Award. Because of Alice Bast and the NFCA, many Philadelphians live happier, healthier and more productive lives.
The prestigious award will be presented to Ms. Bast during Celiac Awareness Month, on May 17th, 2011, at a ceremony at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The evening will include a video detailing Ms. Bast's accomplishments followed by remarks from Ed Snider, Comcast-Spectacor chairman, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers and NFCA board member, and a reception. The annual award includes a $25,000 prize, which Ms. Bast will donate to NFCA.
Bast, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, resides with her family in Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill.