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Through advocacy work, community and professional events, and media outreach, Veritas is helping to bring cutting-edge research, best-practice care, and scientifically backed information into the national eating disorder conversation. Here in our blog you can learn about the work we and others are doing to advance the understanding and treatment of eating disorders. You’ll also find interesting articles and helpful insights that can support you or a loved one on the journey to lasting recovery. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@veritascollaborative.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

Haleigh Stanley

Staff Spotlight, Haleigh Stanley

Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Haleigh Stanley and I am the Hospital Education Manager at the Atlanta Hospital. I have been with Veritas Collaborative since July 2020, so almost two years now!

Describe the career path that led you to Veritas Collaborative.

I went to college at the University of Dayton (go Flyers!) for Middle Childhood Education. I was a teacher for five years and worked with students ages 10 to 14 in varying subject areas, including math, science, English, and special education. 

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Farheen Ahmed

Are You Sure It’s Just Picky Eating?

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Farheen Ahmed is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Neuroscience on the pre-medical track. She is originally from Virginia and spends almost half of every year in Houston, Texas. In her free time, you can find her working at her research lab, volunteering for Rock Recovery, hanging out with her friends, or reading romance novels. Farheen struggled with an eating disorder throughout her high school years and can proudly say she is a recovered survivor.

For the longest time, my friends had me labeled as a picky eater. To them, I didn’t like pasta, I hated pizza, and I’d rather not eat at all than eat anything with cheese. Some excuses I told them were that cheese hurt my stomach, dairy made me break out, and ice cream hurt my teeth. All of this was nothing but lies. I was trying to cover up my fear of most foods. To my friends, I was just a picky eater, which is how I justified eating the same foods every day. I called myself “a creature of habit,” but in reality, I was simply living my life in fear of foods that didn’t deserve to have any sort of power over me.

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Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian

Episode 73: Diabetes and Eating Disorders with Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian discuss their study on physicians’ knowledge about disordered eating in patients with diabetes. Through their study, they found that many physicians feel that they do not have the resources to help patients who show signs of disordered eating. They also describe warning signs of disordered eating to look for in patients with diabetes, as well as some serious health complications that may occur in patients with an eating disorder and diabetes. They end the conversation by emphasizing the importance of spreading awareness about the elevated eating disorder risk for those with diabetes, as well as highlighting the fact that weight does not determine health.

Dr. Jaime Taylor is the Director of Adolescent Medicine at Beaumont Children’s and is the Medical Director of the Hough Center for Adolescent Health. She is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of adolescents and is passionate about teaching on that subject as an Assistant Professor at Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Nayiri Khatchadourian is currently a third-year medical student at Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Her passion for advocating for mental health along with nutrition and wellness stemmed from her personal journey and struggles throughout her adolescent years. 

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A parent cutting up their child's food for them

How to Support Your Child with ARFID

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a newer eating disorder diagnosis that is not as well known as conditions like anorexia and bulimia. Once classified as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), ARFID most commonly affects children and young adolescents⁠—and of course, the parents caring for them. Navigating how to support a child with an eating disorder can be a challenging journey, one made even more difficult when the eating disorder is not widely known or discussed. 

In this blog, we will provide an overview of ARFID, its warning signs, and helpful ways to support your child affected by this type of eating disorder. 

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Alisha Hana

A Journey to Healing Is Never Easy, but It’s Always Worth It

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Alisha Hana is a bulimia survivor and Surgical Tech in Columbus, Ohio. Writing has always been a passion of hers and has given her a healthy outlet in her recovery. As she continues her journey in healing, she hopes her story can help others and remind them they aren’t alone.

My eating disorder began as a thought, then morphed into a response to an idea that progressed to fear and eventually extreme restriction.

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Kateri Anderson Heymans

Episode 72: The Benefits of Meditation with Kateri Anderson Heymans

Episode description:

Kateri Anderson Heymans is a woman from Minnesota who works remotely and lives her dream of traveling the world. After years of struggling with anorexia and binge eating disorder, she has found freedom from the illnesses that once consumed her life. Since Kateri was 17, she has practiced a type of meditation called the Isha Judd System, taught by the Isha Educating for Peace Foundation. She now teaches this method of meditation and supports others on their journey, taking whatever opportunity she can to share with others the tools and insight that transformed her life.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Kateri discusses her history of anorexia and binge eating disorder, including the isolation and misery these eating disorders caused. She tells us about her journey to finding a meditation practice that positively changed her recovery and life. Through meditation, Kateri was able to gain the self-love and compassion that she so desperately needed, as well as overcome anxiety, depression, and grief from the loss of her mother. Kateri encourages everyone to give themselves the love and grace they deserve and ends the episode with a powerful meditation. 

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Diverse employees seated at a conference table

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

As Veritas Collaborative and The Emily Program continue to integrate under our parent company Accanto Health, we are so excited to now have a common Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council. The EDI Council has been shaping our shared policies, procedures, and culture since our brands merged, and we feel it is time to introduce ourselves. The common questions and answers below provide an overview of the Council, its members, and its initiatives.

What is an EDI Council?

An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council is a group of staff from different levels and departments of an organization who represent varied personal and collective identities. EDI Councils typically work to advance the rights of marginalized folks within an organization, as well as those the organization serves. They also catalyze advocacy and spaces for reflection in response to local, national, and global events that challenge social justice or the rights of vulnerable populations.

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A group of adults sitting in a circle

The Importance of a Multidisciplinary Care Team

Eating disorders are complex illnesses that require medical, psychological, and nutritional treatment. At Veritas Collaborative, every member of the multidisciplinary treatment team plays an essential role in a patient’s recovery. In higher levels of care, eating disorder specialists collaborate to deliver treatment that fits the unique needs of each individual in our care. 

In this blog, you will learn about the varied roles that make up our multidisciplinary team of professionals, as well as how each team member contributes to the evidence-based treatment of eating disorders.

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Nicole Soltis

Episode 71: Figure Skating and Eating Disorders with Nichole Soltis

Episode description: 

Nichole Soltis recently earned her master’s degree from The University of Akron and is now a licensed therapist in the state of Ohio. A long-time figure skater, she will be competing at her second Adult National Championships this month. She has a passion for eating disorders and their impact on athletes, and she hopes to use her platform to spread awareness, support others, and start the conversation about eating disorders and sports. 

In this episode of Peace Meal, Nichole discusses how her passion for figure skating played a role in the development and maintenance of her eating disorder, as well as how she was able to get back on the ice after treatment. Delving first into the complicated relationship between aesthetic sports and eating disorders, she shares how restricting her food did not improve her skating performance in the way her eating disorder promised it would. Instead, it negatively affected not just her sport, but also her physical and mental health. Through recovery, Nichole learned that nourishing her body and working on her technique was the best thing for her skating performance. Now as a therapist passionate about supporting athletes, she encourages all coaches to get their athletes professional help if they notice the warning signs of an eating disorder. Nicole ends the conversation by assuring any athletes struggling with an eating disorder that getting help can mean enjoying life, food, and their sport once again. 

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Charlotte Markey

Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys: A Q&A with Charlotte Markey

Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a world-leading expert in body image research, having studied all things body image and eating behaviors for her entire adult life (25 years!). She is passionate about understanding what makes us feel good about our bodies and helping people to develop a healthy body image. Charlotte loves to share her body image wisdom with others and is an experienced book author, blogger, and professor at Rutgers University, Camden. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her son Charlie, daughter Grace, husband Dan, and their dog, Lexi. 

Here Charlotte tells us about her new book, Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys, why discussions of body image and mental health need to become more normalized for boys, how parents can help their sons build a positive body image, and more.

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Yvonne Pedley

Make Small, Gradual Changes in Anorexia Recovery

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Yvonne-Anne is an anorexia survivor currently residing in the UK. While caring for her family members, Yvonne also went to university for a Health and Social Care degree and graduated in 2016. Yvonne’s passion is providing coping strategies with a mix of self-help for those suffering with an eating disorder. She is also seeking literacy representation for her book, The Kaleidoscope Influence, which has recently been published on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

I would firstly like to congratulate those who have recovered or are still recovering from an eating disorder. My journey began when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of 16. The treatment, or lack of treatment, that I received would be considered unethical compared to the treatments available today. I had no choice but to navigate recovery on my own and find alternatives that worked for me.

In this blog, I will be discussing my recovery journey, including how I dealt with some of the physical and emotional effects that can come along with it.

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Two people hold hands with a Pride flag in the background

Eating Disorders in the LGBTQIA+ Community

There is a stereotype that those with eating disorders are primarily young, thin, cisgender white women. Here at Veritas Collaborative, we know this stereotype is untrue and potentially harmful. Eating disorders affect people of any race, gender, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, or size. In fact, studies show that the LGBTQIA+ community experiences eating disorders just as much, if not more than their non-LGBTQIA+ peers. LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term that includes several sexual and gender identities. We will be speaking about this group generally, but we know that it encompasses a diverse mix of identities and experiences. 

In this blog, we will discuss eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community, including unique challenges, barriers to treatment, and ways healthcare providers and treatment centers can create an inclusive environment. 

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Jon McCue

Staff Spotlight, Jon McCue

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Jon McCue and I am the Clinic Navigator at Veritas Collaborative’s Child, Adolescent, and Adult Center in Richmond, Virginia. I have been with the company since September of 2017.

Describe the path that led you to Veritas Collaborative.

I had a meandering path to where I am now. I started off studying fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and I had no intention of going into healthcare. I took my first psychology class to meet some requirements to complete my degree and I ended up taking a few more because I thought the subject was interesting. Before I knew it, I met all the qualifications to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and I was way behind in my fashion design program.

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Woman holding a mug and looking out the window

Reflections on Mental Health: A Q&A with Veritas Staff

Millions of Americans struggle with their mental health. That is one reason why Mental Health Awareness Month is so significant. Eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are just some examples of what people are experiencing. Mental health is often stigmatized, but it deserves to be seen as equally as important as physical health. Everyone deserves support and care for their mental health, regardless of whether they suffer with a mental illness. 

To close out Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our therapists about mental health—what it means to them and how they protect theirs while working in the field. Check out their answers below!

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Group therapy

Ethics in Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorder clinicians are guided by ethics to ensure the best for every patient that comes into their care. In general, ethics help clinicians determine appropriate clinical decisions and behavior. They provide a compass for what is “right” and what is “wrong,” although determining that is not usually so simple. Treatment providers will encounter a variety of moral dilemmas in their careers, and ethics can provide a general framework for navigating these situations. 

In this blog, we will cover key ethical principles in the treatment of eating disorders, as well as several dilemmas that the field’s clinicians may face. 

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Andre Alston

Staff Spotlight, Andre Alston

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Andre Alston and I am the Executive Chef de Cuisine at Veritas Collaborative’s Child and Adolescent Hospital and Center in Durham, North Carolina. December 11, 2022 will make five years with the company.

Describe the career path that led you to Veritas Collaborative.

Before my role at Veritas Collaborative, I worked in the culinary industry for over 20 years in different types of settings, but I had never worked at an eating disorder treatment center. Working in a hospital setting has been so unique compared to my previous work.

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Rachel Smith

Recovery Isn’t Linear

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.   

Rachel Smith is a college student studying sociology. She has recently been interested in studying eating disorders alongside her own experience as someone who has struggled with bulimia.

When I was in middle school, I learned about eating disorders in health class. Among the things I learned were specific eating behaviors, and I am now a firm proponent of better-quality eating disorder education in schools. I know that I and many people like me have learned disordered eating behaviors from the institutions that were supposed to protect us from them. I’m confident that there is a healthy way to teach about the symptoms and hazards of eating disorders without having to go into details that are negatively affecting real people.

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A patient sitting on a couch with a medical provider

Responding to the Rise: The Growing Need for Eating Disorder Care

Over the past few months, we have seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases across our communities. Every region that The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative serve is currently rated either low or medium risk for COVID-19 by the CDC. We have collectively seen a tremendous diminishment in the numbers of people with COVID, hospitalized with COVID, and dying from COVID. 

Having said that, we have now lost almost a million Americans to COVID-19. It is the most profound pandemic of any of our lifetimes. We are so glad to now see fewer people becoming ill or dying from this virus, as well as a rising level of safety in our community. However, two years of this pandemic have had a profound negative impact on people with eating disorders. 

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Megan Wine

Staff Spotlight, Megan Wine

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Megan Wine. I am a Registered Dietitian at Veritas Collaborative’s Richmond location and I have been here for almost a year and a half!

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Farheen Ahmed

When Exercising Goes Too Far

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Farheen Ahmed is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Neuroscience on the pre-medical track. She is originally from Virginia and spends almost half of every year in Houston, Texas. In her free time, you can find her working at her research lab, volunteering for Rock Recovery, hanging out with her friends, or reading romance novels. Farheen struggled with an eating disorder throughout her high school years and can proudly say she is a recovered survivor.

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Recovery Starts Here

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