Eating disorders can be devastating, isolating conditions that strongly impact individuals, families, and communities. And while more prevalent than breast cancer or Alzheimer’s, eating disorders receive relatively few resources for research, prevention, and treatment. Communities need to be more fully informed about eating disorders, including how to recognize, intervene with, and prevent eating disorders. And individuals struggling with eating disorders need community-based support to help foster recovery.
The Emily Program Foundation was created in 2007 to meet these needs in the community by providing eating disorder-related support, supporting research, and expanding community awareness of eating disorders and related issues. In the spring of 2008, after nearly a decade of dedication and tireless work fighting eating disorders, the Anna Westin Foundation merged with The Emily Program Foundation. The Anna Westin Foundation was founded by Anna’s family in 2000 after she died from anorexia at the age of 21. Her death motivated the Westin family to channel their grief and rage into making a difference for others suffering from eating disorders.
Merging the Anna Westin Foundation with The Emily Program Foundation allowed our outreach and support to expand. Today, Kitty Westin (Anna’s mom) remains involved with the crucial work she started by serving on The Emily Program Foundation’s Board of Directors and as the Foundation’s representative to the Eating Disorder Coalition (EDC) Board of Directors.
Through our advocacy efforts, the Foundation continues to work tirelessly to ensure that each individual and family impacted by eating disorders gets the support they deserve. The Foundation advocates for increased access to care, greater research resources, and improved prevention. We also help fund advocacy efforts, citizen lobbying, and public policymaking while working collaboratively with other mental health organizations.
In addition, the Foundation is committed to increasing awareness about eating disorders and related issues through education and outreach. Educating thousands of individuals throughout the year, it provides seminars for professionals, classroom presentations, community and parent workshops, and other forums, to increase awareness and facilitate effective interventions for eating disorders, obesity, and body image problems among youth and adults. Please contact the Foundation to schedule a seminar or presentation for a workplace, school, community event, professional association, or conference.
In 2013, the Foundation introduced its Financial Assistance Program. This program recognizes that people who are considering treatment for eating disorders are sometimes faced with financial barriers that are not covered under other programs. These barriers can include such things as inability to pay rent or other bills when not working. The Emily Program Foundation has developed a fund to help people overcome these barriers while in treatment for an eating disorder.
Finally, in 2015 the Foundation began running Friends & Family Groups. The Emily Program Foundation believes involvement of friends and family is crucial to recovery from an eating disorder. Families do not cause eating disorders and eating disorders cause pain, fear, anxiety, frustration and disruption in the lives of loved ones: partner, spouse, mother, father, step-parents, siblings, children, in-laws, extended family members, friends, and others. For friends and family, it is crucial to get support while caring for someone with an eating disorder. That’s why we run these important groups.
The Emily Program Foundation is committed to increasing our impact in the community and will continue to develop programming to achieve our mission. Together, the staff, the Board of Directors and a group of committed volunteers which makes up The Emily Program Foundation, we are making a difference.