Epidemic Answers was originally incorporated in CT in 2009 as PEACE: Parents Ending America’s Childhood Epidemic. Our website was launched at that time with the goal of educating parents about the “new childhood epidemics” and the many healing options available. Our guiding vision was to “Educate. Empower. Heal”. We received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2010.
The non-profit was co-founded by Beth Lambert and Michelle Giliberto, two parents who had recovered their children from chronic health conditions. Michelle and Beth wanted to bring what they had learned about the root causes of chronic health conditions and about the pathways to healing to other parents.
They reached out to knowledgeable healthcare practitioners in the Fairfield County, CT area and prevailed upon them to join the Board of Directors. The Board soon filled with practitioners such as Nancy O’Hara MD MPH FAAP, Vicki Kobliner MS RD CD-N, Gail Szakacs MD, Lauren Stone PhD MS HHP, Annalisa Behling ND, and Lorna Aliperti APRN IBCLC.
The next year, in September 2010, Beth published her book A Compromised Generation: The Generation of Chronic Illness in America’s Children. Beth’s book detailed root causes of children’s chronic illnesses and backed up claims of these root causes with peer-reviewed medical research studies.
She gave a presentation about her book at a local Library the following month, and Maria Rickert Hong was in the audience. Maria, who had also reversed many chronic health conditions of her own children, was thrilled that someone else also understood how root causes lead to chronic illnesses and signed up right away to volunteer with getting the message out that kids can recover.
She wrote blogs, created web pages, posted on social media – which was just beginning to take off – and worked on the back end of the website to improve our reach on the internet.
In 2011, PEACE filed an amendment to its Articles of Incorporation and officially changed its name to Epidemic Answers, Inc., and Maria accepted a position on the Board.
The Meeting with Patricia Lemer of Developmental Delay Resources
In 2013, Maria connected with Patricia “Patty” Lemer MEd LPC, the co-founder and Executive Director of Developmental Delay Resources (DDR), a similar non-profit.
DDR was the only resource that Maria found that was discussing things like retained reflexes, vision therapy, developmental delays and root causes of neurodevelopmental disorders such as toxicity and nutritional deficiencies. DDR was the lifeline that Maria utilized to make sense of her son’s multiple health problems such as developmental delays, acid reflux, failure to thrive, eczema, allergies, asthma and Sensory Processing Disorder.
Patty and Maria met in New York City, where Patty was attending a Klinghardt Academy training weekend and selling her first book – published in 2009, Envisioning a Bright Future: Interventions That Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, of which she was editor.
Patty talked about her decades-long history of working with children on the autism spectrum, which began with her first job in 1969 as a staff psychologist at what was once Kennedy Hospital for Children. At that hospital, Patty was fortunate to work with the best doctors and therapists.
They performed and witnessed miracles as they collaborated, using a multidisciplinary approach and interventions that focused on causes such as a ketogenic diet, intensive vestibular stimulation, play therapy and occupational therapy. They focused on the whole child, not just the diagnosis.
Patty related how she and Kelly Dorfman – the author of Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments – co-founded DDR in the Washington, DC area in the early 1990s with the same goal that Epidemic Answers had: to educate parents so that their children’s health conditions could improve.
Patty and Kelly were both inspired by the work of Dr. Bernard Rimland, who was the founder of the Autism Research Institute and who always maintained that “autism is treatable”.
When it first started, DDR published hardcopy newsletters that were sent in the mail, and its members attended conferences in order to educate both parents and practitioners alike, as they had discovered that not all practitioners were keeping up with exciting advances found in peer-reviewed medical journals.
DDR later developed a website and published its many practitioner-written articles on the site, many of which were ones that Maria had found in the mid-2000’s before meeting Patty. At the end of the lunch, Maria arranged a meeting between Beth and Patty.
The Merger with Developmental Delay Resources
A few months after that fateful lunch, Epidemic Answers merged with DDR. Patty was unanimously voted in to became the Epidemic Answers Chairman of the Board, a capacity in which she served for three years. Patty brought along DDR board members that joined the Epidemic Answers board: Teresa Badillo, Jayme Lewin-Rich, Janine Burnham-Ruth and Robin Mumford. Many of our previous directors chose to move to our Professional Advisory Board.
With these decades of combined experience and an experienced and seasoned Board Chair, we set our sights on new ways to reach parents of affected kids.
Maria sent out our first newsletter in March 2013 and began hosting free webinars for Epidemic Answers in October of that year so that more parents could be educated about their children’s conditions; you can view replays of these webinars here. The very first webinar was an interview of Patty and Beth about the soft signs of a compromised immune system that often precede an official diagnosis such as autism or ADHD.
The Launch of the Documenting Hope Project
With Patty now serving as Chairman, Beth was freed up to think about ways for us to reach and educate more people. Her big idea was to create a successful, grassroots, crowd-sourced model for improved health outcomes for children affected by chronic illness that can also serve as a model for healthy sustainable living.
She came up with the project that is now known as the Documenting Hope Project, which is a multi-year research and media initiative to scientifically investigate how children get better from chronic conditions including autism, ADHD, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease and many more conditions currently believed to be lifelong.
The project aims to demonstrate how a data-driven assessment of environmental and lifestyle factors coupled with a personalized therapeutic approach can result in improved health outcomes and even total disease reversal. The Documenting Hope Research Program features two cores studies: the CHIRP™ study and the FLIGHT™ study.
The Creation of Other Initiatives
With the combined knowledge of former DDR directors as well as those of Epidemic Answers, we launched our practitioner directory in early 2014 with major input from Patty, Lauren and Teresa. Today, this directory features almost 700 practitioners that have been hand-screened by us to help parents as they navigate their child’s healing journey. The directory includes both generalists such as functional-medicine doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors and nutritionists as well as a wide variety of specialists in many different kinds of therapy.
In September 2014, Patty’s book, Outsmarting Autism: The Ultimate Guide to Management, Healing, and Prevention, was published and was later updated in March 2019 as Outsmarting Autism, Updated and Expanded: Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages.
We call Outsmarting Autism the “Bible of autism recovery”, as it is a soup-to-nuts compilation of most everything known about it, including Patty’s five-step plan:
- Step 1: Take away the bad stuff, and add back the good stuff
- Step 2: Correct foundational issues
- Step 3: Address sensory problems
- Step 4: Focus on communicating, interacting and learning
- Step 5: Plan for the future
The following month, Maria’s book, Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder: A Reference for Parents and Practitioners, was published.
Launch of Our Health Coach Training Program
Less than three years later, our Health Coach Training program was launched in January 2017. This program is supplemental to the education of health practitioners or coaches of any kind; it’s also available to parents.
This program teaches you about the root causes of children’s chronic health conditions and how to address them with diet and lifestyle changes. Coaches who have completed our training are featured in our Health Coach Directory.
Publication of Our First Book
In October 2018, our first book as a non-profit, Brain Under Attack: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers of Children with PANS, PANDAS and Autoimmune Encephalitis, was published and became the number one new release in children’s health books on Amazon when it came out.
The book was co-written by five of our Board members: Beth Lambert, Maria Rickert Hong, Lauren Stone, Roseann Capanna-Hodge and Jennifer Giustra-Kozek. This book is helpful for parents of children with not only PANS and PANDAS but also those with Lyme disease, OCD, ODD, anxiety, tics, behavioral regression, academic regression and developmental regression.
Launch of Our Healing Together Community Site
In the spring of 2023, we launched Healing Together, our community membership site, where we’ve realized Beth’s dream of a grassroots, parent-driven community. In this site, we offer live monthly calls as well as our Healing Trail Map based on our scientific FLIGHT™ Study, a member forum and other resources.
Launch of Our Own Conference
In the fall of 2023, we held our first in-person conference in Orlando, FL for both parents and professionals entitled Adventures in Healing. We hosted world-class experts in a variety of healing expertises and offered research-backed solutions for parents and health professionals to put into action right away to help children on their healing journeys. We also provided CEUs for attending healthcare professionals.
Epidemic Answers has grown from a start-up built by grit and sheer determination to an organization that supports thousands of parents and professionals globally with invaluable resources, education, and support.
Epidemic Answers looks toward a future where parents and professionals are empowered with the knowledge, resources and support essential to raising healthy and vibrant children in today’s world.