Maria Said, a registered nurse, has been a member of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) since 1993. Her interest evolved when her second child was diagnosed with a potentially life threatening food allergy, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis in the early 1990s. She became national President of the organisation in 1999. Her role was initially voluntary however in 2004 she became a paid employee of the organisation. She has now worked as CEO of the organisation for more than 12years.
Since that time, as an advocate for individuals who live with the risk of anaphylaxis, she has presented on the recognition, management and emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. She shares information on the mission of the organisation, the consumer perspective and, allergic disease including food allergy and anaphylaxis, to teaching & health professionals, the food industry, federal and state government departments and the Australian community. Maria, through A&AA has worked closely with food industry in Australia, involved in the formation of the Allergen Bureau and work done on the VITAL labelling process since its beginnings.
Maria is a member of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and holds a position on several working parties. She has co-authored several publications in medical and food industry journals. Maria is a member of the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Alliance Committee and a committee member of the European Academy of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Patient Organisation Committee. Maria has been invited to present at international allergy and food labelling meetings in the US, Canada and Europe. Maria is on the review panel for articles submitted to the British Medical Journal.
As president of A&AA, Maria forwarded statements to NSW, WA and Victorian Coroners after the deaths of children and young people from food anaphylaxis. Of the deaths in recent years, those of 6 young people (aged 4-20 years) have resulted in Coronial Inquests (over a 9 year period). Maria has been called to assist State Coroners as an expert witness in 5 of the 6 inquests. The unfolding of these stories and investigations has resulted in change throughout the country.
Maria is co-chair of the National Allergy Strategy alongside Associate Professor Richard Loh (ASCIA immediate past President) which was launched in Sydney in August 2015.
Maria's clinical work included emergency and paediatric nursing (Registered as Mary Said with AHPRA).