As many as ten million children in the United States suffer from food anaphylaxis (food allergy) and more than 200 children die each year as a result of this condition. Approximately one out of every 13 children are allergic to at least one food and about 40 percent of those children have experienced severe, life-threatening reactions. Believing that these numbers are unacceptable and dedicated to making a difference is Inderpal Randhawa, M.D ., Today’s Honoree.
One of the nation’s leading medical researchers, scientists and physicians in the field of food allergies and anaphylaxis is Dr. Randhawa, founder, CEO and chief medical officer of Southern California Food Allergy Institute (SCFAI). This one-of-a-kind center in Long Beach, California has treated more patients than any center in the world for food anaphylaxis. It is operated in conjunction with the Translational Pulmonary & Immunology Research Center (TPIRC), a nonprofit biotechnology and clinical research center founded by Dr. Randhawa in 2015 to focus on developing cutting-edge, individualized treatment protocols for rare and orphan diseases. The result is the first truly significant advancement in the field of food anaphylaxis in more than half a century.
At TPIRC, Dr. Randhawa and his colleagues are leveraging trillions of diagnostic and therapeutic data points gathered from more than 10,000 food-anaphylactic patients to understand how food allergies affect a child’s immune system. This intelligence has allowed them to design a safe and effective strategy that “retrains” each child’s immune system so as to achieve tolerance for foods that previously caused severe or life-threatening reactions.
By marrying science, data and artificial intelligence, Dr. Randhawa and his colleagues have successfully treated nearly 11,000 food anaphylactic children and, over a decade of time, the program maintains a 99% success rate. These children are now able to eat whatever they want (hopefully well-balanced, healthy eating habits), whenever they want, and without concern of a reaction to the foods they once feared. It is what Dr. Randhawa calls “food freedom” and it is truly an unprecedented, life-altering achievement for the child and their parents.
In addition to his breakthrough work at Southern California Food Allergy Institute, Dr. Randhawa currently serves as medical director of the Children’s Pulmonary Institute at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital at Long Beach Memorial Hospital; program director at Miller Children’s & Women’s cystic fibrosis center; program director of the Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship at UCI School of Medicine; and associate professor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine. The lead researcher on a number of initiatives that have resulted in national recognition and acclaim, most recently Dr. Randhawa was selected by the Graduate Medical Education Committee at Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital as the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Munzer Family Lifetime Achievement Award in Teaching & Research.