Newswise — After months of negotiations and two Continuing Resolutions, Congress reached an agreement to fund the federal government's FY 2017 budget on May 5th.  This budget package represents the first time that Congress permitted federal research funding to help our military members and their families affected by eating disorders.  Led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] on the Appropriations Committee, along with support from Senator Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] and former Senator Kelly Ayotte [R-NH] through a letter to the Committee, these Senators worked to ensure that eating disorders be included in the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program's (CDMRP) Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program.  The CDMRP supports research across the full range of science and medicine, with an underlying goal of enhancing the health and well-being of military servicemembers, veterans, retirees, and their family members.  This will provide an average of $3-$5 million in new eating disorders research funding.

"Our servicemen and women devote their lives to keeping America safe and free, and it's important that we do our part to make sure they are cared for as well," Senator Capito said."These funds will support important research to help military families and their loved ones who are struggling with eating disorders, and I'm thrilled we were able to secure them in the recent funding agreement.  I will continue working to ensure all our servicemen and women have the care and support they need."

In the United States, 30 million Americans experience a clinically significant eating disorder during their lifetime.  Research has shown that there is a higher prevalence rate for eating disorders among military servicemembers than the civilian population.  A Clinical Psychology study showed that as many as 30 percent of female cadets and 34 percent of active duty female servicemembers were at-risk for an eating disorder across all branches of the military, with very low rates of seeking treatment.  Dependents of servicemembers report similar conditions at a significantly higher rate than the civilian population-over 20 percent.  A Military Medicine study also showed significant relationships between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and lifetime eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious and complex mental health conditions that affect people of all genders, ages, body sizes, races, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses, and have a notably higher prevalence rate in women.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.  Including eating disorders to be eligible for research funding through the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program has the potential to benefit military members and their families and vastly improve eating disorder research in this country for all who are or will be affected by this deadly disease.

Late this past week the Department of Defense released the announcement for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program that permits funding for eating disorders research!  AED will be alerting its members that the Pre-Application (letter of intent) deadlines are between July 13th and July 20th and the full applications are due August 2nd (Discovery Award), October 18th (Investigator-Initiated Research Award and Tech/Therapeutic Development Award), and October 26th (Clinical Trial Award and Focused Program Award). The application information can be found at:

Katrina Velasquez, Director of Policy for the EDC says “Please remember that we are in a critical period for our field, and if not enough eating disorders researchers apply with strong applications, the DoD has the opportunity in FY 2018 to decrease funding amounts or even advocate for eating disorders to be taken out.  Our goal is to keep increasing funding within this pot, so we need all hands on deck to get the word out. ”

Katrina will be honored this week at the 2017 International Conference on Eating Disorders, Prague, with the AED Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy.

AED, an active member of The Eating Disorders Coalition,  a Washington, D.C.-based, federal advocacy organization comprised of treatment providers, advocacy organizations and entities, parents of children with eating disorders, and people experiencing eating disorders nationwide, met with key members of the Senate and the House, and wrote to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, requesting consideration of eating disorders in their research funding.