Networking for Change -Hannah

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Hi! My name is Hannah Gettman and I will be a senior in high school in the fall. At the beginning of my freshman year in high school, I started my organization, Students Against Food Environmental Risks (SAFER), to raise awareness about food allergies and also connect with other that have food allergies. Since I have created my account, I am so thankful for the food allergy community. I love connecting with others and not feeling alone with my allergies. A few months ago, I created a questionnaire to gauge the overall knowledge of food allergies in my community of Byron, Minnesota and I received 162 responses! At the end of my questionnaire, I left a spot for anyone to leave a comment and someone said that they don’t feel the safest at school all of the time with their allergies. One of my goals in the past was to lobby for airlines to have auto-injectable epinephrine stocked on airplanes at all times. I reached out to one of my neighbors who has a son that has food allergies. She referred me to Kim Hicks whom is running to be a representative in my district. I reached out to Kim and I set up a meeting with her. When we had our meeting, she was fully supportive of my goal, however, she suggested I focus on something at the state level instead of the federal level. From there, I looked at the comment from my questionnaire and her suggestion and I made a new goal: to require all schools in Minnesota to carry non-patient specific auto-injectable epinephrine. In order to pass a bill, one must get it approved by representatives and senators. I reached out to more representatives and senators with the hopes of gaining more support. I did research to make a plan on how gaining auto-injectable epinephrine would be accessible to schools and I came across the “EpiPen 4 Schools” program. I called the company Mylan to get more information and I learned that schools in Minnesota can get EpiPens without a prescription, a school nurse or principal just needs to fill out the forms. From there, I typed a bill proposal and I sent it to a current Minnesota representative so he can present it in special session. This process has been so interesting and has definitely pushed me past my comfort zone. I am excited for what it will bring! I have loved connecting with current and prospect representatives and senators and learning more about the bill-making process along the way.

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