FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Academy for Eating Disorders
Newswise — Reston,VA, [October 16, 2018] – On September 21, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), led by Christine M. Peat, Ph.D., with a grant for $3.75 million over five years to develop a training center for eating disorder-related education in the community. Dr. Peat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Neurosurgery at UNC who conducts research and provides clinical services at UNC’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. The SAMHSA funding will support a partnership between research experts at UNC and the 3C Institute, a company that develops web-based software to support delivery of evidence-based treatment and training in behavioral health. This collaborative team of experts joins together to develop the first-of-its-kind Eating Disorders Information and Training Network (EDIT-NET). Dr. Peat describes EDIT-NET as “a web-based platform that will train healthcare providers across disciplines in the evidence-based identification and management of eating disorders.” Dr. Peat and her colleagues expect EDIT-NET “to become the national resource for eating disorder literacy.” This is the first time that SAMHSA has offered specific funding to establish a Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, and therefore marks an important step forward toward improving access to evidence-based care and increasing public awareness about eating disorders.
As Dr. Peat states, “The overarching goal of EDIT-NET is to increase the capacity for healthcare professionals to effectively identify and manage eating disorders in their practice. In doing so, we believe those with eating disorders will be more efficiently referred and/or directly provided with evidence-based interventions. With EDIT-NET, the healthcare workforce and the general public will collaboratively contribute to meaningful improvements in both the treatment and prevention of these serious illnesses.”
The SAMHSA funding for this program fulfills a national legislative effort to increase access to education and training on eating disorders. In 2016, President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, which included specific language to establish new training programs for health professionals on the early detection and treatment of eating disorders (Section 13006, “Education and Training on Eating Disorders”). Inclusion of Section 13006 in the 21st Century Cures Act was largely made possible as the result of advocacy efforts by members of the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC), which is a national advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., and a partner organization of the Academy for Eating Disorders. In recent decades, research knowledge on eating disorders has advanced rapidly, and the field now has a well-established understanding of effective ways to prevent, detect, and treat eating disorders. However, due to the nature of the academic and scientific process, new research findings often take years to become publicly available and put into practice by community health professionals. Once developed, EDIT-NET will enable health professionals and public stakeholders across the United States to receive training in eating disorder prevention and treatment. At least 4 programs across the United States applied for the SAMHSA funding this year with support from the Academy for Eating Disorders, in addition to many others outside of the Academy, all of whom share similar missions to improve awareness of and treatment for eating disorders. This volume of highly talented, expert applicants highlights the fact that EDIT-NET may only be the first step. Many researchers and community clinical programs appear eager to build even more research-practice connections in the future.
The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) is an international professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention. The goal of the AED is to provide global access to knowledge, research, and best treatment practice for eating disorders. For additional information, please contact Elissa Myers at (703) 626-9087 and visit the AED website at www.aedweb.org.