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  • New England Food Allergy Treatment Center announces the addition of Jessica Henao, R.N., to their Quincy (Boston) office

    Published on November 25, 2019

    QUINCY, MA: The New England Food Allergy Treatment Center (NEFATC), which treats patients with potentially serious food allergies, today announced the addition of Jessica Henao of Braintree, MA to their professional team at their Quincy location.

    The Quincy NEFATC center is the organization’s second location, which opened earlier this year. NEFATC-West Hartford has been in operation for nearly a decade. Both centers successfully desensitize patients to common food allergens using an exciting process called oral immunotherapy (OIT).  The Quincy location was opened to address the needs of people in the Boston area and beyond.

    Jessica (Jess) Henao joins the team as a Registered Nurse. She first joined the NEFATC in 2013 while she was a student at the University of Connecticut. Her first role was as a measurer, working under the supervision of a pharmacist and the medical team to prepare the small doses of food product for patients to consume as part of their treatment to build up tolerances. In 2014, as a student in the nursing program, she increased her role at the Center.

    She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Connecticut and then joined the NEFATC practice at their West Hartford location as a full-time nurse.

    In her role at the Quincy NEFATC, she spends a great deal of time working with patients and their families, including monitoring vital signs, overseeing and assisting with mixing the doses, handling phone calls related to patient issues, and overseeing the administration of the program.

    “OIT (Oral Immunotherapy) is an exciting advance in the treatment of food allergies and I am delighted to be part of a program that does so much for patients and their families,” she said.

    In her spare time, she enjoys travel, and has visited Spain, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Her parents are from Columbia and Peru, and she has family in both of those countries.

    Dr. Margaret Vallen, who heads the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center in Quincy, said, “Jess is a remarkable person and a tremendous addition to our team. Her knowledge, dedication and compassion makes her an ideal fit here.” She added, “We feel quite fortunate that she has joined our Boston team.”

    The Center in Quincy is led by Margaret Vallen, MD as well as John Johnson MD and Jeffrey M Factor MD, the Medical Director of the West Hartford Center.  The state of the art Center, located at 700 Congress Street in Quincy, employs full time registered nurses as well as has 10 examination rooms to meet the needs of patients. The Center treats patients from age 2 and older.   Its mission is to help desensitize children with potentially life-threatening food allergies, with a goal of providing a better quality of life for patients and their families.

    According to Dr. Vallen, the program requires a commitment of up to a year.  With careful monitoring, patients visit the Center every two weeks until the maintenance dose is reached. Daily doses are consumed at home with a physician on call 24/7 should a question arise.  At its conclusion, patients with peanut allergy will be able to consume at least 4 peanut M & Ms daily or, for those with other food allergies, a predetermined amount of tree nutssesame, milk or egg.

    While OIT does not cure the patient of his/her allergies, in the event of an accidental exposure an allergic reaction will not likely occur. This in turn should result in less worry, fear, and anxiety, and lead to an improved quality of life. The dosing of food allergens is done orally. No uncomfortable shots are involved in the treatment.