Greek Groove Provides Treatment and Training for Eating Disorders

As we approach National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the annual UNC Greek Groove, we thought it important to let you all know just how meaningful the partnership is between UNC CEED and the UNC Panhellenic Council. Each year, CEED and the individuals whom we serve have benefited enormously from the funds raised by Greek Groove. You can watch why the Panhellenic Council members Greek Groove here and see our thanks for everyone who Greek Grooves here. But what actually happens to the funds that go to CEED that are raised at Greek Groove?

As a team we decided that the best use of those funds would be to provide funding for our annual clinical psychology intern. Everyone who does a PhD in clinical psychology is required to complete a one-year clinical internship before a degree can be awarded. Aside form UNC, there are very few accredited internships around the country that provide specialist training in eating disorders. In 2009, we decided to start an internship at UNC that allowed trainees to get advanced training in eating disorders while also honing their broader clinical skills. The internship has been wildly popular with budding clinical psychologists who seek specialized training in eating disorders. We have had a stellar parade of talented interns including: Cristin Runfola, PhD, Sarah Forsberg, PhD, Kristin Javaras, DPhil, PhD, Claire Peterson, PhD, and this year Cheri Levinson.

Cheri helped explain what this internship experience is offering her. “Clinically, I am working with eating disorder patients at all levels of care, including outpatient, partial hospitalization, and inpatient. I am providing individual therapy, group therapy, as well as participating in weekly supervision, interdisciplinary team meetings, and didactics on eating disorders. On the research end, I am completing a project testing how symptoms of bulimia nervosa are intertwined with symptoms of depression and anxiety. My ultimate goal is to become a clinical researcher developing novel treatments for eating disorders. This internship has been an invaluable experience for my development as both a clinician and clinical researcher because it is providing me with extensive, high-quality training in the treatment of eating disorders, as well as exposing me to cutting edge research in the eating disorder field.”

Not only has each of these interns treated scores of people with eating disorders while at UNC, but also they continue to treat patients and do research on eating disorders long after they leave CEED. Dr. Peterson is completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Runfola became faculty at UNC after her internship and is currently developing a couple-based intervention for binge eating disorder (UNITE). Dr. Forsberg is faculty at Stanford University and Dr. Javaras is about to leave UNC to accept a faculty position at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School where she will focus primarily on eating disorder and obesity research and continue to treat patients with eating disorders and obesity.

The CEED-Panhellenic partnership has widespread and long-lasting benefits. Stay tuned as plans for the 2015 Greek Groove unfold. Come out and show your support and enjoy some amazing dancing and the most inspirational event on campus all year!