In February, the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action, founded by psychologist Jeanine Cogan, PhD, honored several people working to beat eating disorders through increased awareness, federal support, and funding for prevention and treatment.
Psychologist Ruth Streigel-Moore, PhD, shared the limelight with several notable policy-makers at the coalition's awards reception in Washington, D.C. Streigel-Moore, a professor at Wesleyan University, was honored for her National Institute of Mental Health-funded research on the prevalence and risk factors of eating disorders. Her work has shown that binge-eating disorders are more common than earlier literature suggested and that these disorders are a significant problem for women from ethnic minority groups, as well as whites. "Eating disorders are the most stigmatized and least likely to be recognized by providers, but there is research progress in the field," she said.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) was given the coalition's policy award for her commitment to child and adolescent health issues. She said eating disorders were an issue that "demand parity and demand [insurance] coverage" and pledged her commitment and support to raising awareness and "making eating disorders part of what we talk about and debate" on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) presented the coalition's action award to Kitty Westin and the Anna Westin Foundation, after a rousing introduction that ended with the battle cry, "We will win this fight!" and cheers from the crowd. Westin and her family successfully settled a case with Blue Cross/Blue Shield regarding discrimination of people with eating disorders after her daughter Anna died. Health insurance companies had refused to pay for Anna's treatment. "When Anna died, we made a decision not to hide and not to feel shame," she said.