Maria Said has been a member of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (AAA) since 1993. Her interest evolved when her second child was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening food allergy. She became National President of the organisation in 1999 and continues to hold this title.
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 food allergy and anaphylaxis, to teaching & health professionals, the food industry, federal and state government departments and the Australian community. Maria is a member of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and holds a position on several working parties. She has co-authored several publications in medical journals. Maria, through AAA, has worked closely with food industry in Australia, and has been involved in the creation of the Allergen Bureau (an initiative of the Australian Food & Grocery Council Allergen Forum) and work done on VITAL (Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling) since its beginnings.
As president of AAA, Maria forwarded submissions to both NSW and Victorian Coroners after the deaths of two peanut allergic children whilst in childcare and school. The unfolding of these stories has resulted in change throughout the country. In April 2010 Maria was called as an expert witness for a Coronial Inquest to investigate the death of a 20 year old woman who died after purchasing food from a cafe in Western Australia and in December 2010 she was again called as an expert witness to assist the Victorian Coroner after a 13 year old peanut allergic child died when he was given unsafe food on a school camp. In December 2012 Maria was again subpoenaed to the NSW Glebe Coroner’s Court after the death of a 16 year old in a Sydney school in May 2011.
Maria is a registered nurse with experience in emergency and paediatric nursing.