Vanderbilt adds epinephrine pens in dining halls

This semester, Vanderbilt has begun stocking emergency epinephrine pens in dining halls across campus for those suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions. 

This initiative was originally inspired by Chelsea Janda, a Vanderbilt alum who suffers from severe food allergies. Tasked with writing a memo in her Public Policy class, Janda chose to research and present the idea of offering emergency epinephrine auto-injectors to then Campus Dietitian Emily Suttle. 

“In K-12, many schools have undesignated EpiPen if you need them, but [most] don’t do that in post-secondary settings,” Janda said. “I did some research and discovered that there are schools that do have undesignated stock-epinephrine pens available on campus, and I thought Vanderbilt should do that too. We would be one of the few universities in the country to offer this as an option. We have a great allergen program already, and adding EpiPens is a great enhancement.” 

In close collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center clinical staff, Suttle and Janda successfully coordinated the procurement and installation of six EpiPen units in visible emergency boxes in residential dining halls and began staff training for Campus Dining employees. The project was completed by current Campus Dietitian Emily Svennevik during the spring 2023 semester. 

In the event of an unintended allergic reaction, a student or staff member will be able to call a helpline that directly connects to a VUMC medical professional, who will provide immediate instructions on how to administer the epinephrine while also dispatching a medical team to the scene. 

EpiPen auto-injectors are available at Commons Dining Center, The Kitchen at Kissam, Rand Dining Center and E. Bronson Ingram, Rothschild and Zeppos Dining Halls. 

Recognized by Allertrain as the “2021 Best Overall Food Allergy Champion for Universities,” Vanderbilt University Campus Dining believes all students should have access to safe and nutritious food, regardless of allergy or dietary restriction. For assistance with nutrition or other dietary needs, students are encouraged to email Svennevik at For more information about Campus Dining’s commitment to dietary assistance, click here