We meet at various times throughout the year.  Please check back here for upcoming meeting dates.  Our meetings usually feature a guest speaker. The meetings are free and are open to all adults involved in the life of a food-allergic child - moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers. Display tables are set up with items for you to look at, such as books, cookbooks and DVDs; and others for you to take such as articles, presentation copies, newsletters, and handouts from various allergy-specific companies.

7:00 - 9:00 pm at:  
FARE Chicago Office
8707 Skokie Boulevard
Lower Level Conference Room
Skokie, IL  60077
(847) 260-9724 


Monday, September 11, 2017 MOCHA'S 20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY MEETING!  We are honored to have two doctors from Lurie Children’s Hospital present information on their areas of expertise and then be available to take lots of questions from attendees. 

Dr. Anna Fishbein is a pediatric allergist at Lurie Children’s Hospital, with a research focus on atopic dermatitis (eczema). Over the last few years several scientific studies have demonstrated that food allergy occurs from skin exposure. In addition to the link with food allergy, atopic dermatitis is a very itchy and sleep disturbing condition!  Dr. Fishbein will highlight studies linking atopic dermatitis to food allergy, and discuss a few key points from her own research on the assessment/treatment of sleep in children with eczema.
Dr. Fatima Khan sees patients at Grayslake, Huntley and Northbrook. Her special interests are food allergies, rhinitis, asthma, eczema and drug allergies. Dr. Khan has supported families with food allergies in her previous practice by establishing a local food allergy support group and supporting legislation to improve access to epinephrine in school. She has also been active in community outreach on anaphylaxis. She is a volunteer with the joint College of Allergy and Asthma Network’s Anaphylaxis Community Expert (ACE) program. As an ACE volunteer, she has given talks to various groups in the community including an annual emergency medical services chapter meeting. She is a Chicago native and is thrilled to be back home and part of Lurie Children’s excellent Allergy/Immunology team! 

Saturday, October 14, 2017:  FARE Chicago Food Allergy Heroes Walk.  Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Join TeamMOCHA, raise $20 or more, and receive an original, custom-designed hat commemorating MOCHA's 20-year anniversary!


November 10-12, 2017:  Join us at the 12th Annual FARE Teen Summit, Newport Beach, CA.




Monday, January 9, 2017:  Featured a presentation by Dr. Paul Detjen, private practice allergist in Kenilworth, IL for 25 years.  He spoke about the current options available for patients with food allergy including continued long term avoidance, enrolling in ongoing academic trials for the Viaskin peanut patch and the Aimmune peanut pill, and addressed SLIT for food allergy.  Dr. Detjen also discussed avoidance measures, Food Action Plans, treatment of accidental food exposures, natural history of food allergy, etc. 


Monday, September 19, 2016:  Dana Morris, FARE National Director, Community Development, led us through the Fare Education Network Presentation.  This program is designed to help school staff and administrators learn how to effectively manage students with food allergies and respond to food allergy emergencies.  Check it out online, and feel free to contact Dana at if you would like to become a presenter.  



Monday, March 14, 2016:  Three fantastic speakers!  Special presentation by Susan Tatelli, 8th grade student, sharing the video she created as she self-administered epinephrine during an anaphylactic episode.  Susan then led our group in training and practicing with an Epi auto-injector.  Dr. Sarah Boudreau-Romano, from Lurie Children’s Hospital, introduced the FASE (Food Allergy Support and Education) program and presented her “Reflections on Anaphylaxis” during which she shared a recent episode of anaphylaxis within her family, and walked us through the things that went right and the things that went sideways and the take-home messages from the experience.  We were pleased to also feature Stefanie McCormack, clinical research coordinator at Lurie Children’s Hospital, who introduced the FARE Clinical Network and some of the new research studies currently underway.  Check out both presentations below.





Monday, January 11, 2016:  featuring guest speaker Meg Bowman: Many children with food allergies experience stress and anxiety, and studies have shown that parents of these children also experience increased stress, potentially affecting their health and well being. Meg Bowman, an integrative clinical nutritionist and parent of a child with severe food allergies, shared tips on how to treat stress and anxiety using whole food nutrition, supplements, mindfulness, positive psychology principles and biofeedback.  Meg Bowman is the owner of Nourish Integrative Solutions, a functional nutrition practice in Glenview that specializes in treating stress, anxiety, and depression through natural methods.  Meg has a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health and also serves on the staff of North Shore Patient Advocates, an independent patient advocacy firm. Check out her presentation and handout below.



Monday, November 9, 2015: Dr. Jennifer S. Kim, of NorthShore University Health System, reviewed selected recent articles to advance our knowledge of food allergies. Topics covered included anaphylaxis, FPIES, the LEAP study, and Chinese herbal formula trial.


Monday, April 13, 2015 with Dr. Sai Nimmagadda of Associated Allergists and Asthma Specialists.  Dr. Nimmagadda discussed spring allergies, immunotherapy, and the role of the allergist in managing your child’s food allergies, as well as answered questions from attendees.  View his presentation here:



January 12, 2015:  MOCHA hosted a panel of medical experts from the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Lurie Children's Hospital, including Drs. Anne Marie SinghMelanie M. Makhija, and Anna B. Fishbein Many thanks to all the doctors for addressing our questions and concerns.
Monday, September 8, 2014:  Featuring Anne Marie Singh, MD, Attending Physician, Allergy and Immunology, Lurie Children’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Northwestern     University Feinberg School of Medicine.  Dr. Singh’s special interests include food allergy, eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis, early life exposures and the development of allergic disease.  As part of the “You Wanted to Know” column in the Daily Herald, Dr. Singh answers questions on why children get asthma and the best ways to treat it.  Read more on the Daily Herald website: "Experts see incidents of asthma, allergies increasing."  


Monday, April 28, 2014:  MOCHA welcomed Lisa Zarov, LCSW, who presented on managing the emotions that can negatively impact a family when a food allergy diagnosis is present.  Lisa has over a decade of experience counseling adults, children and families.  She has supported many for whom food allergies and food-related diagnoses have created challenges in daily life and at school.  She is also the parent of two food-allergic children, and has an intimate understanding of how food allergies can impact every member of the family.   In addition to providing nurturing support for emotional and practical issues that may arise due to a food allergy diagnosis, she also advocates for families who are working with a school to create a 504 Plan for their children.  Lisa’s therapeutic approach is always to empower both parents and children to face, with confidence, the challenges that food allergies can bring to daily life.


Monday, January 13, 2014: MOCHA featured Jennifer S. Kim, MD, pediatric allergy/immunologist who joined NorthShore University HealthSystem as of January 6, 2014. She previously practiced in New York City and led several food allergy research studies at the Mount Sinai Jaffe Food Allergy Institute.  She is originally from the Chicagoland area and was previously on faculty at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago as the Clinical Practice Director of the Division of Allergy & Immunology.  Dr. Kim spoke about milk and egg allergy and how to identify those children able to tolerate extensively heated (baked) forms of milk and egg in their diets.  Check out an overview of her presentation below.


Monday, November 11, 2013:  Mocha welcomed Carlyn Berghoff, restaurateur of the famous Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago, to our Nov 11 meeting.  Carlyn spoke about accommodating food allergic diners from a restaurant’s perspective and what food allergic families can do to make dining out a more pleasurable and safe experience.   Carlyn is sensitive to the topic of accommodating food allergies and sensitivities as her daughter Sarah  has celiac disease. Sarah and Carlyn have written a wonderful cookbook for anyone with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, Cooking for Your Gluten Free Teen; Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love.



We were also joined by Jen Jobrack, National Director of Advocacy at Food Allergy Research & Education, who discussed FARE’s work with the restaurant industry, including the launch of the ServSafe Food Allergen Training Program, developed in partnership between FARE and the National Restaurant Association.  ServSafe is the nation’s premier training program about food safety for the restaurant industry. 



Monday, September 9, 2013:  Our speakers were Dr. Amishi Murthy and Dr. Vivian Chou, of Illinois Allergy and Asthma Specialists, who treat children and adults for various allergic disorders.  Our topic was Preparing Your Food-Allergic Family for the Fall, so we covered Health Care plans and 504 plans, as well as keeping your child safe at school, at parties, and at Halloween. Click here to view a Sample 504 Plan.  You can view their presentation here:



Monday, April 8, 2013, Dr. Jacqueline Pongracic, one of MOCHA's medical advisors, and head of the Lurie Children's Allergy & Immunology Division, presented an update about food allergy clinical trials.  We also had a representative from Mylan, EpiPen manufacturer, at the meeting.  View Dr. Pongracic's presentation here:


Monday, March 11, 2013,  Dr.Sai Nimmagadda from Associated Allergists and Asthma Specialists was our featured speaker.  One of MOCHA's medical advisors, Dr. Nimmagadda lead a discussion of spring allergies, treatments and options, as well as other allergy tidbits. Also, we heard from a representative of the brand new, first ever compact epinephrine auto-injector that TALKS you through the injection process step by step.  Flat and rectangular, smaller than an iPhone, the Auvi-Q is perfect for carrying in a pocket or small purse. Check out these links:




Monday, January 14, 2013, "Ask the Experts"
Panel participants:
Denise Bunning and Anne Thompson: Parenting and School related questions
Jen Jobrack, Midwest Director, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE): Parent/Epi-legislation and FARE related questions
Ruchi Gupta, MD MPH: Medical and Research questions
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Program for Maternal and Child Health
Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine
Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Clinical Attending
Ann and Robert H. Children's Hospital of Chicago
Author of: The Food Allergy Experience



Monday, December 3, 2012, was a combination MOCHA meeting and book launch, featuring Author Ruchi Gupta, MD, and co-author Denise Bunning.  Get your copy of the book at




April 16th, 2012:  Sarah M. Boudreau-Romano, MD - The Allergist Mom - was our speaker.  Read her blog post about the science of anaphylaxis for an overview of her presentation. Sarah holds a B.A. in Biochemistry from Knox College and received her M.D. from Rush Medical College.  She became a board-certified pediatrician following her pediatric residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Sarah is blessed with four vibrant children, three of whom have life-threatening food allergies.   Read her terrific blog at

Sandra Beasley, author of the book - Don't Kill the Birthday Girl - led a discussion at the March 5, 2012 meeting about her book and what her life was like growing up with food allergies.  She illustrates in her book that this "is not the story of how we [the allergic] die…[but] the stories of how we live."  (Boston Globe) Check out her website and order a book at

Mary Morrissey, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Legislative Affairs, Office of the Attorney General,
spoke at our November 14, 2011 meeting, and discussed the new Epinephrine in Illinois Schools law.


Dr. Melanie Makhija and Dr. Rachel Robison, both of whom are pediatric allergists and immunologists at Children's Memorial Hospital, presented at our September 12, 2011 meeting the latest and greatest in food allergy research in the U.S. as well as  additional treatment studies that will be available at Children's.




Renee Goier, Ph.D, Superintendent of Deerfield Public Schools District 109, joined us at our May 9, 2011, meeting to discuss her personal and professional insights into dealing with food allergies in the schools.




Paul Detjen, MD,  from Kenilworth Medical Associates and joined us at our January 10, 2011, meeting to talk about anaphylaxis, how to recognize it, and what to do when. 


Lisa Williams of Lisa Cooks Allergen Free joined us at our November 8, 2010, meeting, demonstrating a simple technique for putting together delicious soups using what you have on hand and showing the group how to cut up a chicken and make stock with the carcass.  She also offered some holiday food tips as well as ideas on how to dine out successfully.  Visit Lisa's website for ideas, recipes and information on ingredient substitution.  Lisa also has a blog on which she shares even more recipes and information.



Presentation by Vivian Chou, MD, and Amishi Murthy, MD, of Illinois Allergy and Asthma Specialists, at MOCHA Meeting on September 13, 2010.





Presentation by Peter Lio, MD, of the Eczema Care & Education Center, at MOCHA meeting on May 10, 2010.



Presentation by Chef Sunshine Best at MOCHA meeting on March 8, 2010. 


Presentation by Katy Schmeissing, MS, RN, Food Allergy Community Educator (FACE), Children's Memorial Hospital Division of Allergy at MOCHA meeting on January 11, 2010.


Presentation by Kelly Newhall, MD, of Chicago Family Asthma & Allergy, at MOCHA meeting on November 9, 2009.



Presentation by Rachel Story, MD, Attending Physician, Allergy & Immunology, Children’s Memorial Hospital, at MOCHA meeting on September 14, 2009.




Presentation by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Memorial Hospital, at MOCHA meeting on May 11, 2009.


Presentation by Mary Beth Feuling, MS, RD, CD, CNSD, Clinical Dietician Specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, at MOCHA meeting on March 9, 2009.