In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Code Ana started a project focused on providing epinephrine workshops to Early Childhood Professionals (ECPs) in a safe and easily accessible manner. Each workshop consisted of a one-hour training session led by a board-certified allergy specialist. Eight workshops were conducted throughout 2020 and 2021, with 420 ECPS being trained. The goal of the workshops was to introduce important topics, such as common food allergies, symptoms of anaphylaxis, and the different Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EAIs). The workshops additionally provide an opportunity for ECPs to ask questions and gain knowledge from an allergy specialist. Every ECP who completed the workshop was invited to participate in a pre and post-workshop questionnaire. Each questionnaire focused on assessing each participant’s knowledge base and overall confidence in identifying and responding to an anaphylactic emergency.
Prior to 2020, Code Ana initially provided these workshops in 2018 and 2019, starting in New York City. Following the death of a young boy in a New York City daycare, the New York City Department of Health wanted to offer training for ECPs on how to recognize anaphylaxis and treat using an EAI. New York now requires that one person trained in how and when to use an EAI be onsite whenever there are students present. However, Code Ana believes the safest environment for children is one where all ECPs are properly trained to respond to an anaphylactic emergency. Prior to the pandemic, Code Ana provided in-person epinephrine workshops that successfully trained 171 ECPs. Despite the pandemic, there was still a need for epinephrine training, which led to the Code Ana Virtual Epinephrine Workshops.
The transition from in-person to virtual workshops demonstrated that effective and high-quality training can be maintained through an online platform. In fact, the number of ECPs being trained more than doubled due to the increased number of workshops and ease of access. A team of three allergy specialists was able to train over 400 ECPs in less than a year, creating a new precedent of quality and efficient training. Not only did this directly benefit the safety and quality of care for many children in New York City, but it empowered many well-equipped ECPs to respond appropriately and confidently to an emergency.