In The News

Parasol in the News

News 8 (February 23, 2024)

“State leaders advocate for mental health equity” by George Grotheer

Connecticut leaders held a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to urge enforcement of the state’s existing parity laws.  Loretta Jay was invited to give families a voice. She gave real examples about how people seeking mental health care are discriminated against, and how this causes harm.  Read Loretta’s remarks.

Fairfield Citizen (June 25, 2021)

“Inclusive of all people: Fairfield looks to meet the needs of people with disabilities” by Serenity Bishop

Fairfield’s selectmen recently voted unanimously to create a standalone commission for people with disabilities after a presentation from Fairfield’s Human Services Commission. Loretta Jay, a commissioner and chair of its disability committee, described its purpose “…to ensure that Fairfield is a welcoming community where people with disabilities can [live] inclusive and fulfilling lives, participating and contributing as active members of our town.”

“Taking this from where we are currently as a committee and making it into a standalone commission, would allow commissioners to focus specifically on the matters that pertain to people with not just visible disabilities, but invisible disabilities,” she added.

Zip06 (March 10, 2021)

“Study Lauds Madison Youth & Family Services Model as Mental Health Needs Grow” by Jesse Williams

“A study commissioned by the town to examine the function and structure of Madison Youth & Family Services (MYFS), which finished up in January, found the town’s somewhat unique model of providing clinical services for young people has been extremely effective, cooperative, and efficient, with the ability to offer flexibility and take on growth going forward.

Launched right at the beginning of the pandemic, the study lauded MYFS for its ability to integrate programs into the community, its experienced staff, and structural relationship with the schools, with the study’s author Loretta Jay telling the Board of Selectmen (BOS) that she was ‘very impressed’ overall.” View report here.

Connecticut Mirror (July 8, 2019)

“Mental Health Parity Bill Signed Into Law” by Jenna Carlesso.

“Beginning in 2021, Connecticut insurance providers will have to submit annual reports detailing their coverage of mental health and substance abuse services. The push toward greater transparency is aimed at ensuring the companies comply with state and federal mandates that bar them from placing greater restrictions on access to mental health services than on surgical or medical care.” The bill was based on a 2018 White Paper that Loretta Jay authored on behalf of NAMI Fairfield. She then partnered with State Representative Brenda Kupchick, who was the lead sponsor of the bill.

Washington DC (April 27, 2012)

US Representative Tim Ryan’s (D – OH17) office tapped Loretta Jay for advice on the approach and language of HR 4972 Gluten in Medicine Identification Act of 2012, renamed the “Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2013”  The proposed legislation requires adequate labeling of the source of inactive ingredients in medicine to protect those following a medically required gluten-free diet. It is endorsed by all of the national celiac organizations: American Celiac Disease Alliance, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association and Gluten Intolerance Group.

Health Talk (April 4, 2012)

“St. Vincent’s New Autism Program – A Welcome Resource for Families”
Loretta Jay’s strategic approach to program development and detail oriented manner of engaging stakeholders for St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services helped establish its newly formed Autism and Developmental Services as a valued community resource.

Ambler, PA (November 16, 2011)

Press Release – “FDA Funds Gluten in Medications Research”
Loretta Jay is the Project Manager and co-Primary Investigator in the first scientific research in the area of gluten in medication. Jay is a consultant to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and she successfully applied for a $50,000 grant from the Food and Drug Administration to fund the research study. Partnering with Jay on the study is Dr. Robert Mangione, Professor and Dean of Pharmacy at St. John’s University.

Ambler, Pennsylvania (June 17, 2011)

Press Release – “Celiac Disease Training for Pharmacists”
Loretta Jay is faculty member of Gluten in Medication training program for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredited continuing education (CE) course is free for participants and is dedicated to the topic of celiac disease.

Middletown Press (February 12, 2011)

Riverview Hospital Supporters Voice Concerns Over Possible Closure” by Jason Siedzik.
Loretta Jay provided expert testimony to Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Children about a Bill proposed to close the state’s psychiatric hospital for children. The state’s chief child protection attorney, Carolyn Signorelli, opposed the bill. While she did not rule out private facilities, Signorelli said that not everyone at Riverview can be relocated and receive appropriate treatment. Loretta Jay, president of Parasol LLC, was more direct, describing Riverview Hospital as “not an expendable state service,” adding “its programs cannot be adequately privatized to save money.”

Philadelphia, PA (September 29, 2010)

Loretta Jay managed the development of a new continuing medical education (CME) for primary care, The collaboration between The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) ( and Continuing Medical Education expert, Impact Education, LLC (, offers primary care providers the valuable education needed to support improvement in outcomes for patients with celiac disease.

Fairfield Sun, November 20, 2008:

“Happy Thanksgiving… But What’s in the Gravy?” by Bill Bittar.
This article discusses the challenges the holiday season can present for families with celiac disease or food allergies. Loretta Jay, President of Parasol was interviewed.

Parasol, LLC, provided parenting programs but it’s mission changed six years ago, when Jay and both of her children were diagnosed with celiac disease. In addition to sticking to a gluten-free diet, Jay does not want children with celiac to feel like outcasts at parties when other children are eating things they cannot have, or when they have to bring their own food to a barbecue. “My goal is to help others recognize the need to promote emotional health,” Jay said.

Parasol provides support to families and training for non-profits and for schools in handling food restrictions in an educational setting. It also writes grant applications.

Stamford Advocate, Norwalk Advocate and Greenwich Times, September 19, 2008:

“Residents Bring Health Needs to the Floor” by Brian Lockhart.
HealthFirst Connecticut Authority, appointed by the General Assembly last year, has been charged with recommending to state lawmakers before year’s end ways of providing affordable, quality “universal health care” to all residents. Loretta Jay, of Parasol, testified about the high cost of allergen-free food, noting it costs $9.56 to buy a gallon of rice milk. She said that the selection of these foods is not optional, and she noted that medical dietary restrictions are not included in insurance companies’ disease management protocols.

Fairfield Citizen-News, June 4, 2008:

“Striding Toward a Cure for EGID” by Alison Walkley.
Fairfield’s Parasol is proud to have been a sponsor of Connecticut’s EOS Walk on May 17, a benefit for people afflicted with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. EGIDs make it difficult to eat, the sufferer usually having multiple allergies to food, among other problems.

Connecticut Post, April 23, 2008:

“Watching What they Eat” by Eileen Fischer.
At this evening’s FLAAG meeting, Loretta Jay…will discuss strategies to empower children on restricted diets. “One of the philosophies I have when supporting children with food allergies, is 50 percent is keeping them physically safe and 50 percent is keeping them emotionally healthy. That’s challenging,” she said…”Partnership and knowledge are the keys to success, both with our children and [their] caretakers,” Jay said.

New Haven Register, May 29, 2007:

“Celiac Group Fights Battle for Awareness” by Pam McLoughlin.
Many groups undertake campaigns to raise awareness for their cause, but the Greater New Haven Celiac Group has an extra reason for such a campaign: 97 percent of those who have the disease remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. “Very frequently, a patient brings it (the disease) to their physician’s attention,” said Loretta Jay.

This was the fourth year of the walk-a-thon that raises money to support celiac disease research, a week at gluten-free sleep away camp and to buy gluten-free food for the newly diagnosed because the food can be expensive. But the awareness campaign got an added boost this year with 14 signs that were posted at Metro-North train station platforms. The signs were funded through a grant. Jay, who designed and managed the billboard campaign, said it’s through groups such as hers that volunteers hope to raise awareness so the diagnosis rate goes up and suffering ends.

Stamford Advocate, Norwalk Advocate and Greenwich Times, May 15, 2007:

“Breaking the Celiac Cycle” by Beth Cooney.
Here are facts Loretta Jay suspects you may not know about celiac sprue, an allergy or intolerance to wheat gluten that made her and her kids sick with a long list of strange symptoms before they stopped eating it. (And almost immediately got better.) Now Jay is spearheading a growing effort by celiac suffers in Fairfield Country to get the word out about the illness. Earlier this spring, the Greater New Haven Celiac Group, an organization she often works for, began an intensive public awareness campaign in Fairfield. They bought billboards at high-profile location in the Stamford/Norwalk area – such as train stations – that list some of celiac sprue’s cunning and baffling symptoms.

Fairfield Minuteman (May 3, 2007)

“Local Woman Promotes Awareness of Celiac Disease”
The Fourth Annual Connecticut Celiac Walkathon and picnic will be held at Wharton Brook State Park in North Haven. Loretta Jay of Fairfield is the co-founder and chair of the event says, “Over 300 people are expected to participate statewide and tens of thousands of people around the world will also walk to raise money for research to find a cure for celiac disease.” Jay has also started a billboard campaign to promote celiac disease awareness.

WTNH-TV Channel 8, May 1, 2007

Loretta Jay was interviewed live by Sonia Baghdady during the noon News Show about celiac disease, the gluten-free diet and Connecticut’s fourth annual Celiac Walkathon.

Jewish Ledger, March 27, 2007:

“Gluten-free Foods a Boon to Celiac Sufferers”  by Stacey Dresner.
For many people, especially carb lovers — Passover can be a difficult holiday: no bread, no pasta or other chometz for eight long days. But for people with a serious autoimmune disease called celiac disease in which they cannot eat gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, rye and oats — Passover is a time when they can find many gluten-free foods on their local supermarket shelves.

“There aren’t many foods that are out there year-round that are gluten-free and safe,” said Loretta Jay, of Fairfield, co-chair of the Connecticut Children’s Celiac Group. “At Passover time, people with celiac go wild because of all the gluten-free food.”

When people with celiac eat gluten, Jay explained, they are unable to absorb nutrients from the foods they eat. Symptoms of the disease include gastrointestinal ailments like diarrhea, chronic fatigue, fertility issues, migraines, epilepsy, depression, and failure to thrive and developmental delays in children.

Fairfield Citizen News, January 24, 2007:

“How I Survive and Deal with this ‘Thing’ Called Celiac Disease” by Ellie Stepanskiy.
Jennings School Kindergartener Stepanskiy won CSA/USA, Inc.’s Elementary Division Essay Contest.

Fairfield Citizen News, January 24, 2007:

“Coping With Celiac” by Cassandra Heller
Five-year-old Fairfield native Ellie Stepanskiy probably knows more about celiac disease than your average American.  Ellie just won in the elementary division of the Celiac Sprue Association essay contest for her essay called “How I Survive and Deal with this Thing Called Celiac Disease.”

“Ellie is a wonderful advocate for herself. She remembers what it is like to be sick, and she doesn’t want to be sick,” said Loretta Jay, who is chairman of the Connecticut Celiac Walk-a-thon, co-chairman of the CSA Greater New Haven Celiac Group children’s group and also has celiac disease.

Connecticut Post, May 18, 2006:

“Against the Grain”  by Amanda Cuda
Keeping her family healthy is challenging for Loretta Jay Stepanskiy. The 39-year-old Fairfield mother of two and her children all have celiac disease. The illness is a genetic disease that leaves one unable to digest gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, rye and oats.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and, in honor of that, Stepanskiy is chairing the third annual Connecticut Celiac Walkathon, which takes place 10 a.m. Saturday at Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford. The walk raises money for celiac disease research, and Stepanskiy – also one of the event co-founders – hopes the walk will raise the disease’s profile as well.  Doctors now are more educated about the disease, and are more aware of how common it is. “The experience I had four years ago is very rare now,” Stepanskiy said.

Fairfield Citizen News, November 22, 2005:

“Bring These Healthy and Tasty Alternatives to the Table” by Karen Kosminoff
It’s getting to be that time of year again – the supermarket freezers are stocked with turkeys and bread and stuffing mixes are flying off the shelves. … For those who can’t eat the traditional Thanksgiving feast because of food allergies, Loretta Stepanskiy may have a solution.

Fairfield Citizen News, April 23, 2004:

“Proper Diet Key to Controlling Celiac Disease” by Jessica Papini
Eating no wheat, barley, rye and oats is not a new fad diet but a way of life for a person with celiac disease, in which on has to live a life free of gluten. To bring attention to the disease and to raise money, the inaugural Connecticut Celiac Walkathon will take place.

Westport News and Fairfield Citizen News, January 22, 2003:

“Baby Love: New Mothers and Babies Invited to Educational Luncheons” by Carol King.
When Laura Ellwanger of Fairfield gave birth to her son, Aidan, three months ago, she felt that getting out of the house and interacting with other new mothers was imperative. Babies 101 offered precisely what she was looking for.

Fairfield Minuteman, November 14, 2002:

“Luncheons offer new moms food for thought” by Lynne Weber
Good food and inspiring conversation can be hard to come by during those first sleepy weeks of new motherhood. Hoping to get new moms out of the house for a little of both, former social worker Loretta Jay recently launched Babies 101.

Connecticut Post, November 14, 2002:

Life After Childbirth … what mom and your doctor never told you about post-pregnancy” by Christine M. Cooney.
In this article about Sylvia Brown’s book, The Post-Pregnancy Handbook, the author recommends programs like Babies 101 to help deal with the challenges of being a new parent.

News Channel 12, November 4, 2002:

Loretta Jay, founder and president of Parasol, was interviewed live on News Channel 12 about Babies 101. Rebecca Surran and David Smith conducted the interview for Channel 12’s Daytime Edition program. Ms. Jay spoke about child safety and some of the many challenges that new parents experience. She explained that Babies 101 provides parent education for moms and dads, as well as reduces isolation by helping new parents meet one another and make new friends.

Connecticut Post, September 05, 2002:

“Babies 101: Program helps answer parenting questions and brings new moms together” by Christine M. Cooney.
If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend time with your newborn, then pencil in Babies 101, a six-part series of educational luncheons beginning Tuesday. Some of the topics that will be addressed are child development, breast-feeding, child safety, scrapbooking, starting a playgroup and maintaining a marital relationship. Babies 101 is the first program for Jay’s newly formed company, Parasol. The company’s goal is to provide useful programs for parents and children.