Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anna Westin Foundation closes; transfers legacy to Emily Program Foundation

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (March 12, 2008) -- The Anna Westin Foundation, established in 2000 following Chaska resident Anna Westin's tragic death as the result of anorexia, has officially closed.

But the foundation's work, the prevention and treatment of eating disorders, will continue as a result of the transfer of assets to the newly-created Emily Program Foundation, which shares the Westin family's mission.

The Anna Westin Foundation was created by the Westin family as a result of the outrage and outpouring of public support that followed Anna's suicide at the age of 21, following a five year struggle with anorexia.

The Anna Westin Foundation also was funded, in part, from proceeds of a June 2001 out-of-court settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. The Westin's were among families named in a lawsuit filed by former State Attorney General Mike Hatch charging BCBSMN with misconduct for denying, delaying and withholding mental health, chemical dependency and eating disorder treatment for Minnesota children and young adults.

As a result of that settlement, many state insurance companies now offer greatly improved access to care.

As president of the Anna Westin Foundation, Anna's mother, Kitty Westin, has tirelessly advocated on a state and national level for individuals with eating disorders and their families. She has testified before Congress, started a grassroots family action council, and currently is president of the national Eating Disorders Coalition, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Westin and her daughters, Mary and Sarah Westin, will continue their advocacy as members of The Emily Program Foundation Board of Directors.

Since founding the Anna Westin Foundation nearly 8 years ago, our family has accomplished many of our goals, said Westin.This transition will allow me to put my energy, time, talent and enthusiasm into education and advocacy.

Like the Anna Westin Foundation, the Emily Program Foundation is dedicated to fighting eating disorders through education and prevention, advocacy, support and treatment. The Emily Program Foundation also is focused on building a better understanding of all weight-related issues and their wide-ranging effects on today's society, including childhood obesity.

Emily Program Foundation President Dr. Jillian Croll said the organization is humbled by the Westin family's gift.

We are further humbled that they have chosen to let us to share in Anna's legacy and honored that Kitty and her daughters will continue to carry the message of hope, Croll said. The Westin family's generosity will allow the Emily Program Foundation to focus on our shared goals while freeing Kitty up to do what she does best “ provide an unstoppable voice to rally support for those who cannot speak for themselves. We look forward to a long collaboration."

The Emily Program Foundation's educational services and training are available to schools, health professionals and others who want to know more about eating disorders, prevention and treatment.

Contact Dr. Jillian Croll at 651.379.6133 or for more information or to schedule an educational seminar. Tax deductible contributions may be sent to The Emily Program Foundation, 2265 Como Avenue, Suite 110, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eating Disorders Coalition takes on Miss America as spokesperson!

What gets the attention of Congress? Passionate personal stories, and the simple courage of citizens who step forward to tell them.

The EDC has a rare opportunity to bring a particularly high-profile story to Congress that represents everything we stand for: awareness, hope, the courage to speak out, and the message of urgency to pass legislation on eating disorders.

Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, made headlines recently when she stepped forward to choose eating disorders awareness as her personal platform. EDC is honored to announce that Kirsten will lend her visibility as Miss America and her personal story to the April 9 launch of the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders Act (FREED Act).

EDC believes the time has come for a comprehensive approach to fighting eating disorders and with guidance from you and hundreds of others in the field, the EDC and members of Congress have crafted the FREED Act. The FREED Act represents a legislative answer to a long-overdue question: how to promote research, treatment, and education and prevention programs on a national level.

FREED will mean Centers of Excellence for research, enforce insurance reimbursement, and establish prevention and education opportunities in schools and for health care professionals

The FREED Act, to us, is a star – but a high-profile public figure like Ms. Haglund can help us draw attention to the issues and offer added energy to a Lobby Day that will send many personal stories into the offices of our lawmakers to get the FREED Act into the public eye. We know, and lawmakers know, that each story represents many others. Each story is a testament to the suffering and stigma this illness can cause – and the hope and dignity of each person who fights back.

Miss America, whose responsibilities this year are daunting and not entirely under her control, has arranged for her normal speaking fee to be completely waived for this appearance and her organization has allowed her to stay in Washington for both days of events. She wants to help EDC, and she also wants to be part of the movement to improve eating disorder treatment and outcomes.

Please help us bring Miss America to Washington so she can magnify the impact of all the wonderful Lobby Day participants who will share their personal messages to our policy makers.

Gail Schoenbach from the FREED Foundation has led the way for us by generously donating the cost of Ms. Haglund’s hotel in DC. We need additional sponsors for the following:

· An evening reception to honor our lobbyists and welcome Miss America: $3OOO - $4000

· Transportation to Washington, D.C.: $1500

· Transfers for Miss America during events: $500

· A donation in any amount is greatly appreciated and will help us bring Miss America to our nation’s Capitol.

(As a special incentive, donors who contribute $2500 or more will be invited to a special dinner with Kirsten and EDC leaders on Thursday evening, April 10th.)

EDC is proud to welcome Ms. Haglund as a lobbyist. Her schedule is busy, but she chose EDC as the organization with the reputation and the reach to raise eating disorder awareness on Capitol Hill in a way that truly matters. We need your help!

Please send your contribution to:

Eating Disorders Coalition

611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #423

Washington, DC 20003-4303

If you have questions call Mar Lerro (202-543-9570) or Kitty Westin (952-240-5761)

Families Play a Role in the Development of Eating Disorders

PHOENIX (March 18, 2008) ­ Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders
(, the nation's leading and largest inpatient treatment
center for women and girls suffering from eating disorders, reports families
often play a major part in both the development and healing of eating

Part of our treatment program includes Family Week and this occurs mid-way
through a patient's stay at Remuda, said Amy Wasserbauer Ph.D., assistant
clinical director at Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders. Families are
very much a part of the puzzle of eating disorders. There are biological,
psychological, cultural, and family reasons why a person has an eating

Some of the common characteristics of the families that Remuda treats
* Distant fathers
* Chaotic families or families with substance abuse problems
* Mother¹s high expectations for daughter and/or demanding parents
* Parents who openly foster sibling rivalries
* Over-controlling or domineering parents
* Father¹s depression, rigidity, or excessive self-discipline
* Marital conflict
* Parents¹ sexual relationship problems
* High levels of parent-daughter stress and family tension
* Fathers who are chronically ill

Another common thread we see are family members who are disconnected from
their own feelings and become emotionally distant from others, said
Wasserbauer. Many families come to Family Week disillusioned because they
feel they're a close family, but when they begin to understand that their
loved one with the eating disorder never experienced validation for her
feelings, felt unimportant because they never listened to her needs, they
begin to see that although they did a lot of activities together, they
weren't connected emotionally.

Family members often come to treatment with fear, carrying their own shame
and guilt about why their loved one is struggling. Family Week challenges
families to stop pretending, to get honest, and learn to be accepted for
their failures and humanness.

Research shows that positive family support can open the door for healing.
If a patient doesn't have the family's support, it¹s much easier for her to
relapse in the future.

The most important thing a family can do is listen to one another, validate
emotions and be careful not to judge, adds Wasserbauer. This often means
they need to make time during the week to be together without distractions
like cell phones and the TV, so they can really hear each other.

About Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders
Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders offers Christian inpatient and
residential treatment for women and girls of all faiths suffering from an
eating disorder. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team
including a Psychiatric and a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian,
Masters Level therapist, Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional
staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive
life. For more information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit .

Monday, March 17, 2008

DEADLINE EXTENDED! Soul Hunger: Treating Eating Disorders from the Inside Out. For Professionals Working with Eating Disorder & Body Image Issues.

April 11, 9:00 am - noon
Remedy Center for the Healing Arts 4910 Burnet Road, Austin, Tx $55
(CEUs provided for an additional $5)
Experience a lively, interactive presentation where you can learn:Approaches for helping clients understand the connection between theirdisordered eating behavior and their deeper hungers. The life skills essential for recovery from disordered eating and howto bring them into a clinical setting. Techniques for dealing with resistance and denial. How to use the symbolism of food cravings and phobias to discover hidden emotional hungers.
Register online at or Contact Elissa at (512)779-3121 or .

Soul Cycles: Four Faces of the Feminine PsycheSaturday, April 12, 2008 12:30 - 6:30 pm
A powerful workshop for women of all ages with Anita Johnston, Ph.D & Elissa Shapiro, LCSW. Experience the power of the feminine life cycle -- from menarche to menopause -- as it relates to eating, body image, and sexuality. Discover the four feminine archetypes (maiden, mother, queen, crone)traditionally found in ancient storytelling traditions and learn how to use them for healing. Develop a deeper understanding of the power of the sacred feminine --how to embody it and use it for transformation and creativity. What are the Four Faces of the Feminine Psyche and what makes them sacred? They are archetypes that correspond to four significant phases in a woman's life (maiden, mother, queen, crone) and slso correspond to the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall, winter), four cycles of the moon (waxing, full, waning, dark), four directions(east, south, west, north), four times of day (dawn, noon, dust, mignight) and four elements (air, fire, water, earth). These archetypal energies are available to the conscious woman for personal growth and healing, regardless of her chronological age. Anita Johnston, Ph.D, internationally known storyteller and Author of Eating in the Light of the Moon & Elissa Shapiro, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Nia Instructor. $149 before March 21; $169 after March 21***Register online at****Early registration is highly recommended, as space is limited.Contact Elissa at or (512)779-3121 with any questions.Anita Johnston, Ph.D. **Author, Eating in the Light of the Moon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eating Disorders Awareness Helps Mental Health Parity Pass in House Vote


MARCH 6 2008

CONTACT MARC LERRO, 202-543-9570

Eating disorders were front and center in the debate leading to yesterday’s passage of mental health parity in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed the parity bill by a vote of 268 to 148.

The House version of a national mental health parity bill includes broad definitions of mental illness that would include eating disorders. A Senate bill passed last year offers fewer protections but is likely to become the final version that Congress will send for the president’s signature. The Eating Disorders Coalition has supported both House and Senate versions, but prefers the House bill.

Yesterday’s action in the House marks the first time in 12 years that mental health parity has been brought to a vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to schedule a vote, reversing the long-held opposition of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The EDC was in the front row during yesterday’s rally at the Capitol. Speakers included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jim Ramstad, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, and David Wellstone. The audience included singer-songwriter Carole King and U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken.

Since the beginning of the 110th Congress, the Eating Disorders Coalition and other mental health advocates have had numerous opportunities to bring the issue to the attention of congressional committees. EDC President Kitty Westin testified in Congress and spoke at a parity rally with Speaker Pelosi in 2007, recalling the loss of her daughter after the family’s insurance company denied treatment for Anna Westin’s eating disorder.

EDC Executive Director Marc Lerro says, “We made our points so often that members of Congress started making our points for us. In committee meetings, Republicans and Democrats alike described how parity could affect people with eating disorders.”

David Wellstone, founder of Wellstone Action, campaigned aggressively for the passage of the House bill. He often cited eating disorders as an example of mental health conditions that may not be fully covered under the weaker Senate bill. Wellstone was critical of the Senate bill and refused to allow the bill to be named in memory of his father, the late Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone told National Public Radio’s Julie Rovner, “My dad always believed that you can’t leave people out. You can’t have people like Kitty Westin, who was his friend and my friend, who’s daughter had an eating disorder and went in and was told ‘we have to figure out if this is a medical necessity.’”

During a national speaking tour in support of parity, members of Congress in several major cities appeared with speakers who had first-hand experience with eating disorders. In Washington, D.C., the EDC hosted educational briefings and sent mailings that also kept the issue before policymakers at the Capitol. Last week, the Coalition hosted a briefing in the House of Representatives titled “Eating Disorders: From Stigma to Science,” which drew a capacity bipartisan audience.

Next, negotiations between the House and Senate must close the gap between the two bills before a final piece of legislation can be sent to the president. Rep. Kennedy is willing to compromise. He told NPR, “I’m not an all-or-nothing person. I want something, and then I can add to it next year, and the year after, and the year after that. That’s the way Congress works. I’ve watched my father over the years. I’ve taken lessons.”


The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action is working in Washington, D.C., to increase awareness, educate policymakers, and promote understanding about the disabling and life-threatening effects of eating disorders. Our mission is to advance the federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority.

Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders Launches New Anxiety Disorders Program

Nation's Leading Eating Disorders Treatment Center Now Offers Help For Those
with Anxiety Disorders

PHOENIX (March 6, 2008) ­ Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders, the nation's
leading and largest inpatient treatment center for women and girls suffering
from eating disorders, has launched a new treatment program for anxiety
disorders. The inpatient program will treat adolescents and children
suffering from: obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); panic disorder;
specific phobia; social anxiety disorder; separation anxiety disorder;
generalized anxiety disorder; anxiety disorder NOS (not otherwise
specified); and OCD spectrum disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder or

³Four to five million children and adolescents struggle with anxiety
disorders,² said Amy Spahr, Executive Clinical Director, at Remuda Programs
for Eating Disorders. ³We have been extremely successful in helping
thousands of girls and women overcome eating disorders for almost 18 years.
During this time, thousands of our young patients have entered treatment
with an anxiety disorder and we¹ve had great success in treating those
issues as well.²

The minimum stay is 60 days for Remuda,s Anxiety Disorders Program. This
time in treatment is needed to stop negative behaviors, address critical
issues and help patients and their families. All therapies occur within a
cognitive behavioral framework, are based on Biblical Christianity and

· Exposure with response prevention therapy

· Didactic presentations

· Skills groups

· Equine and canine therapy

· Art therapy

· Challenge course and recreation groups

· Movement and relaxation therapy

· Daily chapels, providing non-denominational Biblical teachings

· Spiritual growth groups

Parents are encouraged to meet their daughter's treatment team at admission.
This helps Remuda's professionals gain understanding of family issues and
possible familial background of the disorder. During the patient¹s stay,
parents participate in weekly therapeutic telephone sessions with their
daughter and her therapist. Half-way through treatment, the entire family
meets at Remuda for two to three days of education, process groups and

Remuda's programs and ranch settings are different from the traditional,
institutional format offered at hospitals and clinics. Remuda¹s programs
offer a balanced, multi-disciplinary team approach that is designed to treat
the whole person and meet her unique medical, nutritional, psychological,
and spiritual needs.

³We look forward to offering our anxiety disorders program to teens and
girls who are in need of inpatient treatment,² adds Spahr. ³Remuda has long
practiced treating the individual biologically, psychologically, socially
and spiritually. We bring to this program years of success and specific
treatment tailored to each individual.²

About Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders:
Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders offers Christian inpatient and
residential treatment for women and girls of all faiths suffering from an
eating disorder. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team
including a Psychiatric and a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian,
Masters Level therapist, Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional
staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive
life. For more information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit

Monday, March 03, 2008

Phone NOW!Mental Health Parity Vote Scheduled March 5 in Congress

Eating Disorders Coalition Action AlertMarch 1, 2008
Phone NOW!
Rally on March 5!

February 29, 2008 - The EDC has been working throughout 2007 and early 2008 to enact full mental health parity. Now, victory is within reach. Following the Senate's passage of the Mental Health Parity Act (S. 558) by unanimous consent, the House is ready to take up its version of the bill, H.R. 1424, on Wednesday, March 5. After that, Senate and House leaders will reconcile differences between the two versions of the bill in order to pass the strongest possible parity legislation.

As a supporter of mental health parity, we urge you to contact your U.S. Representative NOW to urge support for H.R. 1424.

Take 3 minutes. Call now!

Use the toll-free Parity Hotline, 1-866-parity4 (1-866-727-4894), to call your U.S. Representative. (The Parity Hotline reaches the Capitol switchboard, which can connect callers to the members of Congress. Using this hotline, rather than calling House offices directly, helps us gauge our effectiveness.) If you are not sure of your Representative's name, you can find it by entering your zip code at

Your message: "I am a constituent of Representative ______ and a supporter of the Eating Disorders Coalition. I am calling to ask that the Representative vote for H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health & Addiction Equity Act. Parity is a fair and affordable solution to insurance discrimination against people with eating disorders and other mental disorders. It will save lives and families."

Background: The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 expands the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 by prohibiting group health plans from imposing treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical/surgical services. The legislation applies only to group health plans already providing mental health benefits and exempts plans sponsored by small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. For extensive information, link to the following EDC summary sheet on parity:

Research Participants Needed for Columbia University Study

Research Studies for Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Does your eating feel out of control?If so, you may be eligible for a research study.We are recruiting girls (13 to 19 years old) who have a problem with binge-eating and purging. These studies involve either 12-weeks of individual therapy, or monetary compensation ($100). There is no fee for participation.

For more information, please call 212-543-5316. The studies take place at Columbia University Medical Center, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Do You Struggle with Exercise Bulimia?

Jenni Schaefer, author of Life Without ED, is looking for participants to share their experience with exercise bulimia for an upcoming story in a national magazine.Participants must fit the following criteria:
1.) female, age 21 or under
2.) normal weight range during struggle with exercise bulimia
3.) willing to have photo appear in magazine
4.) live in the United States

Jenni will interview participants over the phone. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact