National Eating Disorders Association
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5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Attend a NEDA Conference at Least Once

Kaitlyn Oberg

Two and a half years ago, I arrived in sunny San Diego, not knowing a single soul in the area and certainly not knowing what I would experience over the next few days. 

I was in town for the annual NEDA Conference, the first one I had ever attended. I remember feeling exceedingly nervous -- would I find people to talk to? Would I learn anything? I had no basis as to what I would experience. Luckily, I had an amazing time, and consider the conference one of the most valuable experiences of my personal and professional life to date. 

Having had such an amazing time, I can say with confidence that everyone should attend a NEDA conference at least once in their lives and careers! Still not convinced? Here are five reasons you should definitely consider registering for one: 

1. You’ll learn a ton about current research in the field. 

As a public health professional, I consider myself pretty up-to-date on eating disorder prevention and treatment practices, but the NEDA conferences give voice to researchers conducting cutting-edge trials that may not yet be public knowledge. Attending the NEDA conference means you’ll be that much ahead of everyone else in terms of knowing new treatment and prevention methods, a certainly invaluable experience! 

2. You’ll re-affirm why you do the work you do. 

NEDA conference attendees are some of the most dedicated, passionate individuals about eating disorder prevention work. Getting to talk with these individuals will reaffirm why you’re there in the first place: to reduce stigma and increase access to treatment for those who need it. When you’re surrounded by such a strong, supportive culture, you can’t help but feel re-energized and ready to fight for change! 

3. You’ll pick up some new skills, whether you realize it or not.

And what “skills” means is up to you- whether it be facilitation techniques, treatment techniques, or skills that help you in your own recovery, the NEDA conferences are a total place of learning. Through the speaker panels and roundtable discussions, it’s unlikely you’ll come away from the conferences without learning something new you can use either in your personal or professional life. 

4. You’ll have fun! 

When navigating the life-threatening consequences that eating disorders pose, it’s easy to get caught up in the severity of the topic. Attending the NEDA conferences allows you to still talk about eating disorders and the serious health risk they pose, but have fun at the same time. Which leads me to my favorite reason to attend the NEDA conferences...

5. You’ll make friends you can reach out to even after the conference ends. 

Worried about attending the conference alone? Have no fear! When I embarked on my first NEDA conference, I was terrified of spending the time alone and not socializing with anyone. Luckily, NEDA conference attendees are some of the kindest, most friendly individuals I’ve encountered. What’s more, I’ve been able to keep in touch with a lot of the people I met while at the conference. You’ll walk away with connections you can use both personally and professionally for a long time to come! 

Sound like something you’d be into? You’re in luck! NEDA will be hosting #NEDAcon in Philadelphia on May 12th, and it’s a great way to experience all of these conference benefits and more. Make sure you register, so you don’t miss out on the awesome learning and networking experiences that attending a NEDA conference will give you! 

Kaitlyn is a current communications and marketing professional residing in the city of Philadelphia. She has a degree in Public Health from Temple University, and uses her degree to advocate for healthy attitudes towards nutrition, health, and wellness for the general public. When not writing or working, you can find her teaching indoor cycling, running, or dog-watching with a cup of coffee!