PAGER, previously known as the Capital Area Pediatric Heartburn and Reflux Association (CAPHRA) was founded in 1992 by Beth Pulsifer-Anderson. At the time, her daughter was two years old and Mrs. Anderson had found that talking to experienced parents was very helpful when learning to position and feed her daughter properly. Parents simply knew more about the day-to-day management of GER than doctors. She also found that hearing other parents' experiences helped to assure her that she was not doing anything wrong.
Early on, we focused getting our information on paper because there was absolutely nothing available for parents at that time. We were also one of the earliest non-profits to have a web site starting in 1994. This is our third major revision.
In 1996 we renamed the organization to reflect our geographic spread and the growing number of teens diagnosed with GER. When the group was originally formed, pediatric GER was considered rare and the group operated only in Montgomery County, Maryland. Now pediatric GER is considered very common and PAGER has many international members.
In 1997 we convinced some researchers help us look into the genetics of GER. One of the researchers had seen a few families with inherited reflux and was fascinated by the idea. We signed a research collaboration contract and were able to hire four part-time staff to locate families. The study has had many financial setbacks but we are pleased to announce that the talented group at Allegheny General Hospital, Center for Genomic Sciences has mapped the gene. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on July 19, 2000. The researchers can be contacted at 888-887-7729.
In 1988 the AmeriCorps program provided us with a full time volunteer who developed our Expert Parent Volunteer program. We maintain a list of about 30 active volunteers at a time and have had several chapters.
In 2001, Jan Gambino-Burns joined the team as Associate Director and Volunteer Coordinator. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education and has first hand experience with two of her own three girls suffering from significant reflux.