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Posted on May 9, 2015 in Blog

AFFA Awards: An Interview with Nona Narvaez

Each year the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA) holds an annual awards dinner, recognizing the individuals or organizations who have displayed outstanding conduct or achievement on behalf of Minnesota’s food allergy community.
Executive director of the AFAA, Nona Narvaez,recently took a moment out of her day to share a bit more about the annual awards and the AFAA.

Can you summarize in a few sentences the sort of work AFAA does?

AFAA’s mission is food allergy education, advocacy, and support.  We do conferences & training, policy development and guidance, allergen safe activities (e.g. walkathon, sporting sections, Halloween event, etc), booths & exhibits, distribution of print and electronic materials, etc.

How long has the AFAA been in existence?

Founded in September 2001, so 13+ years

And the awards?

Since 2009

Who is eligible to receive an AFAA award?

Nominees must be Minnesota residents, businesses, schools, or entities.

Who selects the winners and what sort of criteria do you look at when evaluating the nominees?

Once nominations have closed, the AFAA Awards Committee determines whether the nominee considered has had a significant or exceptional impact to the Minnesota food allergy community.

Are there different categories for the awards?

Yes categories include: Saving a Life; Business Collaboration; Non-Profit Collaboration: [Educational] Outreach; [Policy] Advocacy; Exceptional Volunteerism; School Safety. 

The winners are in categories based on their achievements, so each year varies – sometimes a couple are the same, sometimes none are in the same category.  It all depends on who is nominated each year.

What sort of recognition does the award bring to the winners?

Recipients have been featured in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, or their local or professional publications; have been introduced with the award listed as one of their accomplishments; Legislators who have won display the award on their office wall, and hopefully other recipients display their Award also.

This year the 2015 AFAA awards were held in April.

Winners in the category of  Exceptional Volunteerism included  Michelle Swanstrom, Gretchen Schultz, and Terry Justin.

In the Business Collaboration category our very own FoodSafetyGuy Lars Johnson won the award.

Thank you Nona, for giving us a little more insight into the AFAA Awards!

To learn more about the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy of Minnesota please visit their website.