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1295 Bandana Boulevard West
Suite 310 & 210
St. Paul, MN 55108
P: 651-645-5323
F: 651-621-8490
Toll-Free: 1-888-364-5977

EDI Council

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Veritas Collaborative

Veritas Collaborative and The Emily Program jointly operate an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council under our parent company, Accanto Health. Comprised of staff members from across our programs, the EDI Council champions the rights of marginalized individuals within our organization and the communities we serve.

Two people talking

Our Mission

We believe our unique perspectives and diversity of training, background, and job function enhance our community of care, creating the most optimal, dynamic, and collaborative environment for everyone.  We celebrate the different abilities, races, body sizes, and sexual orientations our staff and clients hold.  We honor the ethnicities, faiths, socio-economic statuses, belief systems, genders, and perspectives among our staff and clientele and are committed to creating an eco-system in which each person feels a sense of belonging and engagement, valued for their ideas and contributions, empowered to freely express their authentic selves, and fully able to contribute and grow. By practicing radical inclusivity, we draw on the strengths of all to create an organizational culture that values all.

Our Work

The EDI Council consists of staff members from various locations, departments, and levels of the organization. Guided by an Advisory Council, council members advocate for the needs, interests, and rights of staff and patients through a variety of activities.

  • Advise on inclusive policies and practices: Offer guidance to foster diversity and inclusion in our treatment programs, site activities, internal and external communications, and staff recruitment and retention efforts 

  • Empower staff with ongoing training: Promote training for staff to effectively understand and meet the unique needs of patients from diverse backgrounds, including BIPOC patients, gender-diverse patients, and patients in larger bodies, as well as foster workplace diversity and inclusion 

  • Host Heritage Months: Support treatment sites in recognizing Heritage Months with art and culinary activities that honor the history, contributions, and current challenges of diverse heritage groups

  • Offer support when social justice is challenged: Provide opportunities for staff reflection and support when social justice is challenged at a local, national, or global level

  • Encourage dialogue on underserved populations: Explore the underrepresentation of diverse populations within our specific programs and the field as a whole to improve access to care and increase representation of diverse individuals within the field

A Selection of Council Initiatives and Activities to Date

  • Ongoing community conversations for staff on topics such as cultural appropriation vs. appreciation and representation in the eating disorder field

  • Staff trainings on topics related to equity and inclusion, including food insecurity, racism in mental health, implicit bias in clinical practice, LGBTQ+ affirmative care, and culturally competent nutrition

  • Monthly BIPOC affinity groups as a place of support and community for staff who identify as members of racially and/or ethnically marginalized groups

  • Healing space conversations to process, connect, and organize around current events, such as gun violence and legislative decisions

  • Ongoing anti-racism consulting

  • Implementation of gender-inclusive care training as part of staff onboarding and anti-bullying policies

  • Revision of the patient information form (PIF) to be more inclusive in race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation categories

  • Supervision to ensure that curriculum and clinical care are trauma-informed and culturally humble

  • Ongoing celebration of heritage months at sites, including spirit weeks for staff and art and culinary projects for clients

  • Resources for additional education and external community involvement

EDI Advisory Council

The EDI Council is led by an Advisory Council that includes the following positions:

  • Sydney Brodeur-Johnson, Senior Director of Clinical Services and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Sydney elevates the Council’s observations, feedback, and recommendations to Accanto Health’s Executive Team, providing support, advocacy, and guidance to align the Council’s efforts with the organization’s goals.

  • Jackie Ottoson, Vice President of Human Resources and Executive Sponsor of the EDI Council 

  • Leanna Pai, External Communications Coordinator, responsible for creating and delivering messages externally

  • Sarah Zuber, Internal Communications Coordinator, responsible for creating and delivering messages internally

  • Site Coordinators, who coordinate meetings, plan events, and follow up on action items at their Veritas Collaborative or Emily Program site. Current site coordinators and co-coordinators include:

    • Amra Budimlic – Anna Westin House
    • Anne Marie Muench – Anna Westin House
    • Aubrey Whillhite – Anna Westin House
    • Bobbi Lettimore – Columbus Residential for Adolescents
    • Catherine Weiss – Seattle Outpatient and Residential
    • Dianna Garbison – Anna Westin House
    • Elgina Wilson – Cleveland Residential
    • Emerald Smith – Charlotte
    • Hannah Batty – Anna Westin House
    • Heather Petraszko – Cleveland Residential
    • Jenna Daugherty – Cleveland
    • Jill Fondriest – Columbus
    • Joanne Parks – Atlanta
    • Katie McMahon – Cleveland
    • Kelsey Todd – Seattle
    • Leanna Pai – Charlotte
    • Maggie Weller – St. Paul (Como)
    • Mia Denuit –Anna Westin House West for Adults
    • Rachel Burke – Durham Adult
    • Robyn Brandstrom – Spokane
    • Sarah Zuber – St. Paul (Como)
    • Shamane McAdams – Durham Child & Adolescent
    • Summer Starkey – Durham Adult

Additional Resources

  • Diverse employees seated at a conference table

    Introducing our Integrated Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council

  • Transgender flag

    Accanto Health’s Statement of Support for the Transgender Community

  • Two people hold hands with a Pride flag in the background

    Eating Disorders in the LGBTQIA+ Community

  • Dr. Mae Lynn Reyes-Rodríguez

    Eating Disorders in Latinxs: Lessons Learned From History