Evidence-Based, Family-Focused, Personalized Care

Welcome to the Hoyt Institute of Food Allergy


Meet Dr. Hoyt

Alice Hoyt, M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I.

Dr. Hoyt is the allergist who leads the Institute. She has been practicing academic, evidence-based medicine for over a decade. Prior to medical school, she earned a degree in nutrition, so she is well versed in navigating the complexities of food allergies. She then completed training and earned board-certifications in internal medicine, pediatrics, and allergy & immunology.

During her fellowship at the University of Virginia, she launched a now national allergy-focused non-profit organization. At Vanderbilt University, she continued her food allergy-focused efforts before transitioning to Cleveland Clinic, where she helped launch its Food Allergy Center of Excellence. Check out Dr. Hoyt's publications here on PubMed.

After working at such world-renown institutions, Dr. Hoyt is excited to share her knowledge of food allergy with families in her home state. In addition to leading the Institute, Dr. Hoyt hosts the top-ranked food allergy podcast Food Allergy and Your Kiddo and chairs the nationally recognized non-profit organization Code Ana.

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Meet Alexis

Alexis Menasco, M.S.H.C.M., B.S.

Alexis assists our patients in navigating all-things food allergy. She is a New Orleans native and fierce advocate for families, especially children, with food allergies. Alexis has robust experience in healthcare having volunteered with medical missions and multiple health-related outreach initiatives. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in Sociology from Louisiana State University, then earned her Master in Healthcare Management from the University of New Orleans.

At the Institute, Alexis works alongside our providers to ensure our patients and their families have all food allergy-related needs addressed. When not serving Institute families, you'll find Alexis working with the allergy-focused nonprofit Code Ana, equipping schools in New Orleans and across the country for medical emergencies like anaphylaxis. 


Meet Melissa

Melissa Piazza Richard, M.S.W, L.C.S.W.

Melissa is the clinical psychotherapist who helps our families manage the psychologic challenges that accompany food allergy. In her 20+ years of experience, she has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings helping her patients with challenges ranging from anxiety to eating disorders to traumas and beyond.
Through her skills in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT), Melissa has guided thousands of patients and families on their roads to wellness. Melissa is skilled in working with patients through the challenges of trauma reprocessing, anger management, and the anxieties that come with food allergy. She especially enjoys collaborating with families in child, adolescent, adult, couples, family, and group therapies.

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"The Institute is 'by referral only.' What does that mean?"

At the Institute, we request that all potential new patients have their physician - either their pediatrician or their primary allergist - send us his or her most recent progress note about your child's food allergies or about the concerns for possible food allergies. Any prior allergy testing will also be requested.

"The Institute is 'out-of-network.' What does that mean?"

We are considered “out-of-network” by insurance plans, which means that we develop and implement our evaluation & management plans without the input of insurance companies. Although we are out-of-network, we do help our families take advantage of their insurance benefits. We do this by providing an itemized record of your experience to you for you to then submit to your insurance company. You can also submit for reimbursement from FSA's and HSA's. We do not accept any forms of payment in office and accept only electronic payments online or checks (no cash) via mail service. Our comprehensive care coordinator is here to assist you in this process.

"Do you offer financing options?"

Yes. We believe that cost should never come between your family and its medical needs. This is why we offer budget-friendly payment plans. Talk with Alexis, our Comprehensive Care Navigator, for more information.

"Can I get a same-day appointment?"

Our established patients enjoy access to the Institute team as-needed. We are here for you for all-things food allergy, such as food-avoidance letters for sporting events, school forms, timely questions, medication refills, and more. 

Regarding new patients, we typically schedule new patient appointments at least one week in advance. This provides our team the time to obtain important medical records and review your child's case prior to your arrival.

"Do you offer OIT?"

OIT (oral immunotherapy) is one way to treat food allergy, and we offer this treatment to qualified patients. Qualifications include but are not limited to having an IgE-mediated food allergy (meaning the patient has a food allergy that puts him or her at risk of anaphylaxis) and being committed - as a family unit - to undergoing this years-long therapy. We at the Institute are dedicated to making this experience as convenient as possible without jeopardizing safety or quality.

"What about other allergic disorders?"

Dr. Hoyt focuses her clinical efforts on providing highest quality food allergy management. This often means optimizing the control of other disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, to help minimize a child's overall allergic inflammation. This may be done in conjunction with your primary allergist. Dr. Hoyt believes that teamwork makes the dream work, which is why our families receive easy access to our comprehensive care navigator, who, with Dr. Hoyt, will help ensure all of your child's providers are on the same page with your child's care plan and management recommendations.

"Do you see adults or only children?"

The Institute is geared toward families of children with food allergies. If you are an adult and would like to be seen at the Institute, please have your primary allergist submit a request. Contact us with any questions.