Melinda Braskett, M.D. investigates unusual skin rashes of patient Thomas Luchik of Glendale at the new UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Center on Arizona Avenue on Tuesday afternoon. (photo by Brandon Wise)

Aiming to provide state-of-the-art testing and treatment for food and drug allergies, UCLA Health System this month announced the opening of a new allergy center in Santa Monica.

The facility, located at 1245 16th St., provides a variety of unique services in allergy care, including skin testing for penicillin allergy. It’s also the only facility in the Los Angeles area that offers a desensitization program for patients who are allergic to aspirin.

“Most allergy centers focus on food or drug allergies,” said Dr. Melinda Braskett, the center’s medical director. “We’re unique in that we have them together under one roof with a dedicated staff that can provide the best possible care to patients with these conditions.”

Braskett said about 6 percent of children and 3 percent of adults suffer from high-risk food allergies, while about 7 percent of the population reports having an allergic reaction to penicillin and 10 percent of asthma sufferers have an allergy to aspirin.

The center, located across the street from Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, is equipped to treat infants through geriatric patients and is fully integrated with a primary-care medical practice.

“The idea was to take the Food and Drug Allergy Care Center and put it in a setting where we could take care of children and their parents because allergies are very often inherited,” said Dr. Alan Fogelman, executive chair of UCLA’s Medicine Department. “Our vision is this will become a model for how we treat diseases that are in common in families.”

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