Senator Shelley Moore Capito kicked off the Fifth Annual West Virginia Eating Disorder Network Conference at West Virginia University Health Sciences Charleston Campus focused on improving care for people with disordered eating and co-occurring conditions

Sponsored by the West Virginia University Disordered Eating Center of Charleston, West Virginia University Health Sciences Charleston Campus and the CAMC Institute, providers from around the state gathered in Charleston to learn about new strategies for treating eating disorders, including innovative new interventions and methods for addressing co-occurring substance use disorders.

 

Eating disorder champion, Senator Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] began the conference by discussing her great work leading eating disorders policy in Congress, including the 2016 passage of the Anna Westin Act of 2015 within 21st Century Cures, securing $5 million dollars in eating disorders research for military members and their families in 2017, and passing the 2018 Senate Resolution recognizing National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (S. Res. 419).   

Over 30 million Americans will experience a clinically significant eating disorder during their lifetime including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder; based on these prevalence estimates, over 61,000 West Virginians currently experience an eating disorder.  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. This disorder has the highest mortality rate for any mental illness, higher than prostate cancer, melanoma cancer, and equal to acute leukemia; studies show that 50% of people with an eating disorder also experience a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Jessica Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP, and Chair of the WV Eating Disorder Network explained the goal for this conference has been to improve access to specialized, effective care for people with eating disorders in West Virginia by offering a local, low-cost training opportunity for healthcare professionals. She notes, “We include providers of all types, from nursing to psychologists to dietitians. Just in the past few years, more treatment teams have developed across the state. With the passage of the AWA, and with Senator Capito’s support, we are more motivated than ever to continue this great work”.