May 2, 2024

Alpha-gal Syndrome:
an Emerging Epidemic

A Congressional briefing

Sponsored by the Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund,

Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Rep. Andrew Garbarino

2:00 – 3:30 pm

May 2, 2024

Rayburn 2075

Snacks and sandwiches will be served

Your voice can help make it a success!

Use our action center to quickly send a message to your members of Congress urging their offices to attend this expert briefing.

Unfortunately, we are NOT able to extend invitations to the public.

This briefing is for Congressional Representatives, Senators, their staff, and key agency representatives only. 

Agenda

2:00-2:10 ~ Welcoming remarks

Julie Sibbing
Co-founder
Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund

2:10-2:20 ~ Alpha-gal Syndrome: the tick bite-induced epidemic of severe allergic reactions

Scott Commins, MD, PhD
William J. Yount, MD Distinguished Professor
University of North Carolina

2:20-2:30 ~ Living with alpha-gal syndrome

Charles Green
Deputy Commissioner
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

2:30-2:40 ~ Finding medications for patients with alpha-gal syndrome

Sachin A. Shah
CEO
VeganMed

2:40-2:50 ~ Policy priorities

Sharon Forsyth
Co-founder
Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund

with

Debbie Nichols and Candice Matthis
Co-founders
Two Alpha Gals

2:50-3:30 ~ Questions and answers

Speaker Bios

Julie Sibbings
Co-founder
Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund

Julie is co-founder of Alpha-gal Alliance. Sibbing has worked on conservation policy in Washington, DC for over 25 years and is currently Associate Vice President for Land Stewardship at the National Wildlife Federation. She holds a B.S. in Life Sciences and a Masters in Forest Ecology, both from the University of Illinois. An avid outdoorswoman, Ms. Sibbing contracted alpha-gal about 24 years ago.

Scott Commins, MD, PhD
William J. Yount, MD Distinguished Professor
University of North Carolina

Dr. Scott Commins is the William J. Yount, MD Distinguished Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is a member of the UNC Food Allergy Initiative, the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, and the Southeastern Center of Excellence for Vector Borne Diseases. Dr. Commins maintains an active clinical practice and research program related to the alpha-gal mammalian meat allergy syndrome and the human immune response to tick bites.

Dr. Commins received his M.D. and Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) from the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC). Following a residency in Internal Medicine, Scott completed a fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). He is an author for UpToDate (Food allergy in adults; Allergy to meats), and serves as the Chief Editor for the Drug, Venom and Anaphylaxis section of Frontiers. Dr. Commins serves as the current President of the Southeastern Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology Society and was a member of the Congressionally-appointed Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (2018-2020) where he was co-chair of the alpha-gal syndrome and public comment subcommittees.

Sachin A. Shah
CEO
VeganMed

Sachin A. Shah, PharmD is CEO of VeganMed, a mission dedicated to addressing medication safety and transparency. He has served the needs of thousands of alpha-gal patients looking for animal-free medications and is also credited for filing a Citizen Petition to the FDA for medication ingredients transparency. He is Professor of Pharmacy at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.  At University of the Pacific, he is Director of the Fellowship in Industry Program (FIP), and the Innovative Clinical and Outcomes Research (iCOR) group. With over 100 peer-reviewed publications and posters, his research has garnered over 1 billion media impressions (e.g. CNN, NPR, BBC News) and featured in multiple documentaries globally. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

Charles Green
Deputy Commissioner
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Charles Green has served as the Deputy Commissioner with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) since 2014.  Previously, Charles served as Director of the Marketing and Development Division within VDACS and prior to joining VDACS, Charles served as head of the International Marketing Office at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA) and as the Corporate Logistics Manager for Coastal Lumber Company in North Carolina.

Charles holds an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech and a Masters in Business Administration from Campbell University.  He and his family live in Henrico County and they own a small family farm in King William County, Virginia.  He contracted Alpha-gal Syndrome from a tick bite while working at the farm in 2022.

Sharon Forsyth
Co-founder
Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund

Sharon is the founder of Alpha-gal Alliance and co-founder of Alpha-gal Alliance Action Fund. After being diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome in 2019, Sharon searched for information that would help her navigate this complex condition but found little. Not wanting others in the alpha-gal community to experience the same frustration, she organized the Alpha-gal Syndrome Awareness Campaign. With the campaign team, she created the Alpha-gal Information website, the most extensive resource on alpha-gal syndrome.

Sharon has been involved in conservation most of her life. She was director of Conservation International’s Africa Program, president of the Beneficia Foundation, and served on the boards of American Bird Conservancy and Bat Conservation International. Prior to her conservation work, Sharon was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, where she taught agriculture. She holds a BA in biology and economics.

Sharon contracted AGS while pursuing her interest in natural history. She lives in Washington, DC with her biologist husband, Adrian Forsyth, who also has AGS.

Debbie Nichols and Candice Matthis
Co-founders
Two Alpha Gals

The mission of Two Alpha Gals is to serve as guides to empower others to navigate and live a fulfilled life with or without AGS. We strive to help each other develop a new normal by increasing awareness, providing access to supportive research, inspiring advocacy, and cultivating community.

Candice and Debbie are taking a lead in in advocating for policy solutions for the alpha-gal community in Virginia. They participated in the Virginia Tick-borne Disease Working Group and provided key support for HB 93, a bill written by Del Otto Wachsmann that would make alpha-gal syndrome a reportable condition in Virginia.

Contact Us

5614 Connecticut Ave., NW #114
Washington, DC 20015-2604
U.S.A

Info@AlphagalAction.org

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