National Eating Disorders Association

National Eating Disorders Association Awards $200,000 to Researchers Closing the Gap in Underfunded Field of Eating Disorders Research and Treatment 

New York, NY ––April 16, 2019–– The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders, announced the grant recipients of its sixth annual Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research.

Grant winners will focus on developing a scalable, low-cost eating disorders prevention resource through a fully automated chatbot; preventing binge eating disorders in Black women; and determining whether blind weighing practices impact distress around being weighed and symptom severity with patients with Anorexia Nervosa.

The Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research provides grants to qualified clinical researchers who have been selected through a very competitive application process. These grants focus on innovative treatment research, prevention research, and training dissemination research. 

The $200,000 awards are divided into three grants: $100,000 in the Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research Grant Category and two grants of $50,000 each awarded in the Early Career Investigator category. NEDA has awarded a total of $1.5 million in research grant awards since 2013.  

“Despite major advances in eating disorder research over the years, it is still an area that is incredibly underfunded when compared to other major mental illnesses,” said Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA. “We’re proud to do our part to help change that reality by supporting the work of these worthy recipients. I’m excited to see what advancements they make in the coming months and years.”

$100,000 Clinical Research Grant Recipient

Investigators C. Barr Taylor, MD and Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft from Palo Alto University are developing a scalable, low-cost eating disorders prevention resource. They have created a moderated, fully automated version of the StudentBodies© program using a specialized chatbot called Tessa™. Tessa™ provides users with access to brief, online StudentBodies© sessions, which contain essential components of targeted prevention. Having already developed a prototype of the StudentBodies© and Tessa™ program, the researchers will now determine if the intervention is effective in reducing eating disorders risk factors. Specific aims of the proposal are to:

  • Determine the effects of the StudentBodies© + TessaTM program in reducing key eating disorders risk factors like weight and shape concerns or thin-ideal internalization in women at high risk for the onset of eating disorders. 
  • Explore moderators of outcome and determine the features of the program that affect user progress through the program and outcomes.

$50,000 Early Career Investigator Grant Recipient 

Investigator Rachel Woodson Goode, PhD, MPH of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is researching how to prevent binge eating disorder among Black women in primary care. As African 

American women have the lowest rates of access to care for eating disorders treatment, the researcher proposes recruiting African American women with weekly binge eating episodes from UNC for a trial to examine the feasibility and accessibility of six-month Appetite Awareness Training (AAT). Currently, intervention research addressing binge eating behaviors among African American women is extremely scarce. She will conduct key informant interviews with UNC Department of Family Medicine staff and participants to determine the accessibility of the AAT intervention in the primary care setting. Specific aims of the proposal are to:

  • Examine recruitment, retention, barriers to completion, satisfaction and adherence
  • Examine changes in binge eating, depressive symptoms, and dietary outcomes (overall energy intake, fat, fruit, and vegetable intake) for participants
  • Produce evidence that will enhance scientific knowledge on methods to engage African American women in treatment to reduce disordered eating 

$50,000 Early Career Investigator Grant Recipient

Investigator Stuart Muarry, PhD of the University of California, San Francisco aims to examine whether open versus blind weighing practices impact subjective distress around being weighed; anorexia nervosa symptom severity; and treatment outcome in adolescents with anorexia nervosa. The research aims to:

  • Examine whether the discrepancy between predicted versus actual weight is associated with distress around being weighed and anorexia nervosa symptom severity
  • Examine whether baseline clinical or patient characteristics moderate the impact of either open or blind weighing practices upon distress around weighing, or severity across time points

Additional Information about the Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research can be found here on the NEDA website. 

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About the National Eating Disorders Association

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Through our programs and services, NEDA raises awareness, builds communities of support and recovery, funds research and puts life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. For more information, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. 

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