Exploring Virtual Reality, Increasing Access, and Treating ARFID: NEDA Announces Research Grant Recipients

NEDA Feeding Hope

Exploring Virtual Reality, Increasing Access, and Treating ARFID: NEDA Announces Research Grant Recipients

Eating disorders research receives less federal funding than research for many other serious mental and physical illnesses. With its two research funds, NEDA provides two year grants to advance treatment and prevention efforts. The Feeding Hope Fund aims to support projects that will improve the lives of individuals affected by eating disorders and the GFED Early Investigators Research Grant program is designed to support early career researchers. We are happy to announce our newest group of research grant winners: 

Awaken Emerse: Virtual Reality Exposure Treatment for Eating Disorders

The NEDA Feeding Hope Fund has awarded Dr. Christina Ralph-Nearman $125,000 to study virtual reality exposure treatment for eating disorders. Dr. Ralph-Nearman’s team has developed a prototype virtual reality program that stimulates eating disorder fears, such as fear of gaining weight. A pilot study has shown Awaken Emerse to be effective in aiding individuals with eating disorders to face fear of weight gain. The aim of the grant is to expand the virtual reality platform to be more inclusive of all body types and sizes, ethnicities, races, and gender identities, and test outcomes in a clinical setting. 

Adapting Transdiagnostic Treatment of ARFID for Community Health Centers

The GFED Early Investigators Research Grant has awarded Dr. Sarah Fischer Nowaczyk $50,000 to study treatment of ARFID for community health centers. Recent studies have found success in treating ARFID with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ARFID, however, many communities seeking out support don’t have access to treatment. This grant will support Dr. Fischer’s team in adapting strategies for use in community health centers, which support under-resourced folks, and assessing its effectiveness.

Piloting a Single Session Habit Training Intervention for Adolescent Eating Pathology

The GFED Early Investigators Research Grant has also awarded Dr. Courtney Breiner $50,000 to study a new model of habit training intervention for adolescent eating pathology. Single-session interventions are used to bridge the gap in care, especially in under-resourced communities. This grant will support Dr. Breiner’s team in developing and implementing a single session intervention for adolescents who are at risk for eating disorders using a habit framework. The single session intervention, which will include psychoeducation, will be delivered virtually targeting habit learning associated with restrictive eating. 

A second round of grant funding will be announced later this year. Learn about NEDA’s entire grantmaking portfolio.