By: Dr. Christine Peat
The UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (CEED) was recently awarded a $3.75M grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. SAMHSA, which is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, announced in July that it would be funding its first eating disorders-focused grant to establish a National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. The funding recognized eating disorders as a significant priority within SAMHSA and helped bring to fruition important components of the 21st Century Cures Act, which seeks to enhance education and training in eating disorders.
In September, CEED was informed it had been awarded the first-of-its-kind grant from SAMHSA. The multidiscipliniary team could not be more excited to take on this incredible opportunity and responsibility! Led by Dr. Christine Peat, the grant will allow CEED and its partners (the 3C Institute and the Academy for Eating Disorders) to develop and launch the Eating Disorders Information and Training Network (EDIT-NET). EDIT-NET will be a web-based education and training program with two primary goals: 1) providing healthcare providers across disciplines with education and training on the identification and management of eating disorders, and 2) improving eating disorder literacy in the public.
EDIT-NET will deliver discipline-specific training to healthcare providers on how to best identify and treat eating disorders within their practice. For example, primary care providers will receive education on evidence-based practice guidelines and will be provided with practical evidence-based training in how to identify and refer individuals in their practice who may be dealing with an eating disorder. Similar trainings will be customized for other healthcare professionals including (but not limited to): dietitians, psychologists, oral healthcare professionals, and pediatricians. Healthcare providers will have access to leading-edge educational strategies and technological advances to help them translate their online training to immediate application with actual patients in their practices.
EDIT-NET will also play a crucial role in helping the public to better understand and identify eating disorders. Individuals with a past or current eating disorders, parents/caregivers, advocates, and the general public will have access to EDIT-NET in an effort to improve eating disorder literacy and decrease barriers to treatment-seeking. The public will have access to information on evidence-based treatments, best practices for educators, coaches, and mentors, as well as ways to get involved in prevention and advocacy efforts.
The SAMHSA grant application and the subsequent development of EDIT-NET would not be possible without the incredible collective efforts of CEED faculty and contributing experts. The success of EDIT-NET heavily relies on these faculty and their distinct expertise and the multidisciplinary backgrounds of those involved reflects the aims and scope of the overall program. (A full list of the CEED faculty and contributing experts involved in EDIT-NET can be found here.) EDIT-NET experts will play a crucial role in both the healthcare provider and public components of EDIT-NET as they will help develop and vet discipline-specific content and content for specific eating disorder populations (e.g., Latino populations, LGBT communities). EDIT-NET experts will also be conducting regular webinars to help healthcare providers apply the knowledge from their online trainings to practical use with actual patients to whom they may be providing treatment. EDIT-NET faculty will consult widely with stakeholders in the eating disorders space to ensure that we set and achieve goals the reflect the needs of the field.
Collectively, EDIT-NET will establish UNC as the national hub for education and training on eating disorders and will help improve access to care. CEED is thrilled to be able to lead the charge on such a crucial initiative and look forward to rolling out the program as we progress. Stay tuned!