Suzanne Simpson Subscriptions program in honor of our dear colleague
In honor and in memory of Suzanne Simpson, Gluten Free Watchdog has started the Suzanne Simpson Subscriptions program. Dietitians may request complimentary subscriptions for patients with financial constraints who have both celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. This program is especially suited for patients with high antibody levels despite strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Please contact me for more information.
The following is an email shared with the Gluten Free Watchdog community on July 19, 2016:
I am writing to share some sad news about a dear colleague who was a friend to the Gluten Free Watchdog community. Suzanne Simpson, the dietitian at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University passed away last week. Many of you knew her as your dietitian and many of you knew her as your colleague. If you are a manufacturer you likely heard from her.
Suzanne did a lot of behind the scenes work to help all of us who must strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet. She was relentless in contacting manufacturers to ask about their testing methods for gluten, procedures for preventing cross contact, and the source of oats used in products.
She carefully monitored her patients’ tTG levels and when they were high she scrutinized what they were eating. She frequently sent me test requests letting me know that a certain product was a common denominator among her patients with high antibody levels. Because of Suzanne’s diligence we were able to identify more than one product testing high for gluten and work with manufacturers to bring the products into compliance.
Suzanne and I worked together on several projects, including the article that appeared in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition entitled, “A comparison of gluten levels in labeled and certified gluten-free foods sold in the US.“ This article is based on the testing done through Gluten Free Watchdog. Columbia posted a full text of the article at https://celiacdiseasecenter.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/2-2014-A-comparison-of-gluten-levels-in-labeled-gluten-free-and-certified-gluten-free-foods-sold-in-the-United-States.pdf
On a personal note, those of you who are part of the Columbia University family likely received email notification of Suzanne’s passing. It likely came as a shock to you. Suzanne was a close colleague and I am still reeling from the news. I am focusing on all the positive memories—her smile and laugh most of all and the quirky fact that she loved PF Chang’s!! When she traveled for dietitian conferences she would find the locations of all the PF Chang’s in the area. The last meal we shared was at this restaurant. Maybe for you like me, spotting a PF Chang’s will cause you to smile and chuckle and think about Suzanne.