The Right Thing to Do

Published by Richard J Noel, MD, PhD on Jan 23, 2023

Happy New Year! This month we bring you a message from Feeding MattersVolunteer Medical Director, Richard J. Noel, MD, PhD. 

As we begin 2023 and continue to establish some normalcy after a challenging couple of years, I would like to reflect on a question that I am asked now and then: “Why, in your limited free time, do you choose to work with Feeding Matters?”

The simple answer is that it is the right thing to do. While it sounds like a too-simple, flippant response, I have sound reasoning with which I form this opinion.

To begin with, this is one of the few organizations I know that is one hundred percent about children with a chronic condition. While Feeding Matters addresses the needs of families and providers, they only do so because it aligns with the needs of children with pediatric feeding disorder (PFD). You would think that this was typical for the healthcare advocacy world, but it is not. Organizations sometimes simply work to aggrandize themselves or its members who use the group as a platform for advancing their own career or business. Like many individuals I know, I can assure you that I have not been paid by Feeding Matters for what I’ve done, nor have I been recognized or rewarded by my institution in any manner for work I have done with the organization. I do it because it’s the right way to care for children with PFD.

Another reason is that, Feeding Matters is at its core still the founder Shannon and other mothers who traveled the country seeking needed healthcare solutions that were not easily emerging. Where others may have been dissuaded, these parents were able to capture the attention and respect of the healthcare system that was failing their children and created one of the best examples of consensus and synergy many will ever see. I only know of a couple of other advocacy organizations that have established such an objective body of work; Feeding Matters’ achievements easily surpass what many similar groups would dream to achieve. Simply put, it is highly unlikely that the multidisciplinary conferences (in-person and online), PFD consensus publication, or the ICD codes would have ever happened without Feeding Matters and its tenacious founders.

Lastly is the inclusiveness the organization has strived to develop throughout its history. The membership draws openly across different disciplines and has attracted individuals from academic and private practice backgrounds, alike. They also involve those who have developed their own perspective on PFD via research, published materials, educational seminars, patented methodologies, family advocacy, and social media influence. Feeding Matters will always be a neutral ground where diverse ideas can be openly discussed and vetted on their own merits as they pertain to improving the lives of children and their families, we all work for.

In sum, I am very proud to have been a part of this organization. With everybody’s time being a limited commodity, I see Feeding Matters as a worthy investment of time and effort for myself, and I hope more and more people will too. I would urge all to continue doing the right thing and in your own way help Feeding Matters support our children with PFD well into the foreseeable future.