CHARLESTON, W.Va. – February 20, 2018  — For Immediate Release — West Virginia University’s Charleston Division will host a first of its kind conference for health professionals, individuals and families who are dealing with eating disorders.  

   Planned for March 16, the 5th Annual West Virginia Eating Disorder Network Conference will be held at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Charleston Campus auditorium and will provide a networking and training opportunity for providers across the state.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (center) joins WVU Disordered Eating Center Director Dr. Jessica Luzier (2nd from right) and conference presenters at the most recent network conference.   Senator Capito will provide opening remarks at the 2018 conference on March 16 in Charleston.

   “Eating disorders affect up to one out of three females and one out of ten men. Individuals may have all different shapes and body sizes, yet still be suffering from very problematic behaviors and attitudes”, says Jessica Luzier, Ph.D., Clinical Director of the WVU Disordered Eating Center of Charleston, who is hosting the conference. It is estimated that 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating or other eating disorders. “We know that the sooner someone gets treatment for their eating disorder, the more likely it is that they will recover”, indicated Dr. Luzier.

  Eating disorder champion, Senator Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] will kick off the conference by discussing her great work in expanding treatment access to people with eating disorders through the passage of the Anna Westin Act of 2015 within 21st Century Cures as well as discuss her current work to continue to help people with eating disorders and substance use disorders across the state and nation.   

   The WVU Disordered Eating Center of Charleston (DECC) was launched in the summer of 2010. DECC is a multidisciplinary outpatient treatment program that provides services for youth and adults with disordered eating, including clinical eating disorders. Team members include psychologists, social workers, a dietician, and physicians specializing in adolescent medicine, psychiatry, and internal medicine.

   Awareness and prevention are major commitments for the WVU-DECC. Eating disorders remain hidden and are often associated with misinformation and strong emotions in both those patients and their families and friends. There is an imperative to increase public awareness and provide high fidelity information to counter the myths and shame associated with these perilous medical and psychiatric conditions. Dr. Luzier routinely presents workshops on disordered eating for local educators, schools, and clinicians to raise awareness of the frequency and urgency of this problem, to highlight signs and symptoms and assist them in making assessments and necessary referrals.

   In the Summer of 2013, Dr. Luzier developed the WV Eating Disorder Network, which aimed to develop a registry of providers across West Virginia who are interested in treating patients with eating disorders. The network routinely disseminates information on trainings in the area, provides consultation on challenging cases, and serves as a potential referral source for individuals around the state.   The conference will be the network’s fifth statewide gathering.

Luzier and her team are excited about the upcoming conference to provide training and to heightening awareness of eating disorders. “It’s important for individuals and families to know there is hope and treatment available for these very challenging disorders,” Luzier said.

   For more information on the conference and WVU DECC, please visit http://charleston.hsc.wvu.edu/DECC/.