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Tag Archive for Advocacy

Eating Disorders Coalition Advocacy Day 2017

On April 5th, 2017 The Emily Program Foundation and scholarship recipients traveled to Washington D.C. for the Eating Disorders Coalition’s National Advocacy Day. Below are the reflections of our award recipients from their first experiences on The Hill.

Award Recipient Jamie Margetta:

This past week I was given the privilege to attend the Eating Disorders Coalition Day on the Hill. I was graciously awarded a scholarship from the Emily Program Foundation to fund my travels to Washington, D.C. to advocate alongside EDC members who are as passionate as I am about eating disorder advocacy. I expected to walk away with a new experience and a sense of accomplishment from advocating, but I ended up walking away with so much more. My experience at EDC’s Advocacy Day was eye opening, exciting, educating, and overall an experience I won’t soon forget. I was given the Jamie, Jillian and Molly opportunity to meet with House and Senate representatives and express my passion to eating disorder research, early intervention, and education. It was very empowering to be able to express not only my passion on this subject, but why others should care. Presenting fact sheets, personal stories, and evidence that eating disorders matter and they need help was very gratifying. I am so thankful the Emily Program Foundation gave me the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and truly express my concerns and needs for the eating disorder community. I met the most amazing group of people and learned so much from the advocates. This is definitely an experience I will not forget, and I am so grateful I was able to advocate on behalf of friends, family, and loved ones who have experienced the challenges of an eating disorder. Your voice matters!

 

Award Recipient Molly Britt:

As a university undergrad, I did not believe that I could make a difference in the political world without any experience. My experience at the 2017 EDC Advocacy Day completely changed my view of that. While working alongside women and men of all ages, I got to meet with congressional staffers and spread the word about the importance of eating disorders and how the political Molly Britt and Emilyworld could help. It was the first Advocacy Day since the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act which was the first time in history that specific language regarding eating disorders was written into policy. Our mission was to prompt the members of congress to put this policy into action. I was overwhelmed by the support that so many of these staffers conveyed toward our cause and felt as though I was really making a difference. To top of the great day, I got to hear Amy Klobuchar – one of Minnesota’s senators and a driving force for eating disorder policy – speak and thank us for all our hard work. This day has motivated me to participate more in policy change surrounding eating disorders and all other mental health causes.

VANTAGE Student Experience – A Blog Series

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Background Information –

Between October – December, 2016 The Emily Program Foundation worked with two student groups enrolled in an advanced professional studies program called VANTAGE through Minnetonka Public Schools. This partnership aimed to create a meaningful and professional learning opportunity for the students in VANTAGE as they completed quality, useable products for the Foundation. The Digital Journalism group created an educational video on eating disorders for teens while the Health Sciences team created a research report with a data analysis on teen’s experiences with their own body image, media influences and knowledge of eating disorders. This team also shared their learning experiences through a three-series blog posting, please see their reflections on what they learned through this process.

We have come to part three in the VANTAGE Student’s three-part blog series. You have now learned about the students and their research experience. Now is the time where you get to learn what they found in their research.

Data Analysis

Now that our data collection was complete it was time to analyze the results and compile our findings into our final presentation. From our research, we discovered that the majority of teenagers with eating disorders are female. However, this was not surprising to us due to our knowledge prior to this project. 9.1% of teenagers surveyed were unsure if they had an eating disorder. This is interesting because this suggests that they were not educated on the matter. Overall this statistic makes it seem as though teenagers need to have more education in school so that they can know if they suffer from an eating disorder. When asked if appearance was important to them, almost 50% of the participants chose a 4 on a scale of 1-5 (5 being very important); this tells us that body image is what these teenagers are constantly thinking about. Social media isn’t helping this cause; we found that 62.2% agreed that social media influences the way they think about themselves. From that, the ones who spend 3 or more hours on social media per day compare themselves to models, who do not portray the average American body. When asked which social media outlet was the most influential, Instagram and Snapchat won by a longshot. This tells us that there needs to be specific posts on these two applications that show positivity about body image. Social media should be a motivating and positive atmosphere that doesn’t make teenagers question their body image.

VANTAGE Student Experience – A Blog Series

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Background Information –

Between October – December, 2016 The Emily Program Foundation worked with two student groups enrolled in an advanced professional studies program called VANTAGE through Minnetonka Public Schools. This partnership aimed to create a meaningful and professional learning opportunity for the students in VANTAGE as they completed quality, useable products for the Foundation. The Digital Journalism group created an educational video on eating disorders for teens while the Health Sciences team created a research report with a data analysis on teen’s experiences with their own body image, media influences and knowledge of eating disorders. This team also shared their learning experiences through a three-series blog posting, please see their reflections on what they learned through this process.

Survey Collection

Now that you have met the VANTAGE Health Sciences team in our post last week, the students share their research report experience.

After meeting with the Emily Program Foundation for the first time, our group was extremely excited to begin working with them. We first took a tour of one of the treatment facilities and received an information session on eating disorders. We all learned a lot more about how the Emily Program structures treatment and how it differs from other treatment facilities. In taking the tour, we got to see lots of different rooms including those dedicated to yoga therapy and to group therapy. Our favorite room was the vault room, as this particular space showed the history of the building and how The Emily Program tries to keep little historical pieces of the buildings they renovate to continue the connection with their communities. After visiting the treatment center, we began to design our survey which is going to be used to collect data on the influence of social media on body image and eating disorders. We talked with Emily Monson, who is our project contact within the Foundation, to make sure that we were respectful of the emotional aspect of the topic and so that we could obtain the correct information. After perfecting our survey, we sent it out to everyone we knew from teachers, other students and even to other schools to make sure that we had a large amount responses and a large demographic. It was so exciting to see all of the responses roll in and to see all of the pie charts of the data change. I think we all sat watching them roll in during our entire project work time, fascinated by watching our work come to fruition.

 

 

 

 

VANTAGE Student Experience – A Blog Series

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Between October – December, 2016 The Emily Program Foundation worked with two student groups enrolled in an advanced professional studies program called VANTAGE through Minnetonka Public Schools. This partnership aimed to create a meaningful and professional learning opportunity for the students in VANTAGE as they completed quality, useable products for the Foundation. The Digital Journalism group created an educational video on eating disorders for teens while the Health Sciences team created a research report with a data analysis on teen’s experiences with their own body image, media influences and knowledge of eating disorders. This team also shared their learning experiences through a three-series blog posting, please see their reflections on what they learned through this process.

Meet the VANTAGE Health Sciences Team

 

We are five students from the Minnetonka Healthcare Sports and Science Vantage Program. As a part of our curriculum, we chose a project that interested us and we all decided to work with the Emily Program Foundation. One of the reasons we chose this particular project was because we interact with and see peers, friends, and family who suffer from eating disorders everyday. To get a basic understanding of eating disorders, we all wrote a research paper on eating disorders, as well as the way society influences them. After doing our research, we presented what we learned to the Emily Program Foundation. We met with staff from the Emily Program Foundation who educated us on eating disorders to make sure we were all knowledgeable with every aspect of eating disorders. From that, we learned a lot more about eating disorders and how to approach/talk about them appropriately as we conducted our research.

 

Hello, my name is Jaclyn. I am a junior at Minnetonka High School. This year, I decided to take a class that was very different from a typical class at my Jaclyn Rebertusschool through a program called VANTAGE. Since I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical sciences, I chose the strand that focused on healthcare and sports science. Through this program, I have the ability to gain real-world knowledge from site visits and guest instructors. For this class, we got to choose an organization to work with for our semester project, and when the opportunity to work with the Emily Program came up, I leaped at the opportunity. This project appealed to me personally, as I know people who have struggled with eating disorders.

 

 

Hello, I’m Carson. I am junior at Minnetonka High School and am currently enrolled in the Vantage program. I chose to go into the Vantage program Carson Lennonbecause I wanted something different than the typically classroom experience. My parents were also big pushers on the program because they had heard how successful it had been to other students. I am very interested in going into the healthcare field for my profession after school. I am the current team leader for the Emily Program project. I decided that the Emily Program was the best choice for me because it’s the closest to home. I have a couple friends that have struggled with eating disorders, so when this came up as a project choice I jumped on it. I am very interested in psychology and I knew that eating disorders correlated with that as well. I had previously heard of the Emily Program through advertisements and had heard of what a great organization it was, I knew that this was the right fit for me.

 

Hi, I’m Zainab. I’m a junior at Minnetonka High School, and I participate in a program called Vantage offered here at my school. I chose to enroll in the Zainab AbdiHealth and Sports Exercise strand of the program because I am interested in pursuing a career in the Healthcare field and this program will really broaden my knowledge of different career options. For this particular strand we have semester projects, and I chose to work on the Emily Program project team because I, like my other team members, have close friends that have suffered from eating disorders, so I am interested in learning more about how eating disorders affect people, and how to make a difference in how other people view eating disorders.

 

Hi, my name is Katey Brattland. I am a junior at Minnetonka High School and participate in the Vantage Program. I chose to do Vantage because I wanted Katy Brattlandmore of a hands on real world experience and wanted to get out of the typical high school setting. I chose this particular vantage program, Healthcare and Sports Science, because my main interest is going into the medical field. The Emily Program Project interested me because I have friends who have suffered from eating disorders so I really wanted to learn more about them. I thought for this project we could actually make a change and discover useful information about teen’s experiences with eating disorders.

 

 

Hi, my name is Katie Grow. I am a senior at Minnetonka High School and I am currently enrolled in the Vantage Program. I chose to do Vantage because of Katie Growthe different real-world experiences that vantage has to offer. I have always been interested in healthcare and I was hoping that by joining Vantage, I would learn what field I want to go into. The Emily Program Project interested me because I have always been interested in mental health and psychology and I have had friends that have struggled with eating disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

History Has Been Made

Guest Blog Post by Kitty Westin

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I was thrown onto an uncharted path nearly 17 years ago. I was in excruciating pain, I was lost and confused and had no idea how to navigate the path, where the journey was headed or what I was supposed to do along the way. When Anna died from an eating disorder on February 17, 2000 I felt like my world had blown apart. I did not know how to survive the tragedy but I did know one thing; I had to somehow transform the horror of Anna’s death into something positive. I reached out to Senator Paul Wellstone who was a champion of mental health parity and asked for his help. I told him Anna’s story and he told me to take the story to Washington D.C. He said that I should bring as many other voices with me as possible because that is what would make change happen. My journey has been hard, frustrating, messy, and often filled with obstacles, but it was always a journey of love.

Once I figured out that the journey was headed towards Washington D.C. it did not take long for others to join me on the path. People from across the United States stepped up and were willing to use their voices and tell their stories to Members of Congress. Soon we had a movement that included thousands of people who were committed to a common goal, which was to pass meaningful Federal legislation to address eating disorders.

In 2014 we introduced the Anna Westin Act and our advocates began the hard work of meeting with their representatives, making phone calls and sending letters, emails, tweets and posting on Facebook to drum up support. As the 114th Congress was nearing the end we heard that our efforts were successful and language from the Anna Westin Act was included in a bill called the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act is a bipartisan bill and both the House and the Senate were motivated to get it passed before Congress adjourned in December. The House of Representatives passed the Cures Act with Anna Westin Act language included on Nov. 29 with an overwhelming majority, 392- 26. The bill was brought to the floor of the Senate on Dec. 7 and I along with fellow advocates watched as the Senators filed in one-by-one and voted. The bill won with an overwhelming majority of 94 – 5. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, President Obama will sign the bill and it will become law! After nearly 17 years of work we passed eating disorders specific legislation. We made history and the efforts of our advocates will help millions of people by providing training for medical professionals and clarifying that mental health parity applies to all levels of treatment including residential.

It is hard to describe how it felt to be sitting in the gallery of the Senate to witness this historic moment. I was elated and relieved. I felt immensely grateful to our grassroots advocates and our champions in the Senate and the House who worked tirelessly to get this done. And, I felt calm, like a weight was being lifted from my shoulders. I willingly took on the burden of getting this done and I was never alone on the journey. There were always people who helped carry the load but I always felt that it was my responsibility to be Anna’s voice and to get this initiative to the finish line. However, I and my fellow advocates could only take it so far, we had to have Members of the Senate and the House take it across the finish line. Senator Amy Klobuchar stepped up and assured us that she would do everything in her power to pass the Anna Westin Act and that is exactly what she did. She asked three women Senators to help; Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Senator Shelly Capito (R-WV) and they worked as a team to get this done. I am proud of our Minnesota Congressional Delegation who joined forces nearly unanimously including Sen. Al Franken [D-MN], Rep. Erik Paulsen [R-MN-3], Rep. Keith Ellison [D-MN-5], Rep. Collin Peterson [D-MN-7], Rep. Tom Emmer [R-MN-6], Rep. Richard Nolan [D-MN-8], Rep. Timothy Walz [D- MN-1] and Rep. Betty McCollum [D-MN-4] to help millions of people who are affected by eating disorders.

Passing language from the Anna Westin Act was truly a team effort. It proves that having passion and commitment and never, ever giving up can lead to success. Our work is not done, there are other issues that we need to address related to eating disorders but let’s all take a moment to bask in this victory! Anna wrote the following words in her journal just days before she died; “May your dreaming never end and your voice never die”. Thank you for daring to dream and using your voice. Together we made history!