Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patrick Kennedy to Speak at MOM March

Dear EDC Advocates and MOM March supporters,

photo credit:
We are thrilled, humbled, honored and excited to announce that  Patrick J. Kennedy will speak at the MOM "Mothers & Others" March" this October 27th! ~ Patrick Kennedy is a long-time hero and champion to the eating disorder field and to all those impacted by mental illness. Though he left Congress, he continues to devote his time to Mental Health Parity, most recently:

On October 5, 2015, Patrick's book, A Common Struggle, comes out. The book details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care's history in the country alongside his and every family's private struggles. You can pre-order your copy today via:

We are so thankful to Patrick, his family and staff, for generously giving of his time to the 2nd Annual MarchAgainstED! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Affording Lobby Day

Dear EDC Advocates,

With EDC National Fall Lobby Day and the 2nd Annual M.O.M. March fast approaching, we wanted to address the cost of coming to Washington, DC.
We know that it can be expensive to travel to DC and we know that many advocates struggle to come up with funding for their trip to EDC National Lobby Day.  We very much empathize with you.  Therefore, we want to offer you the encouragement that there are some simple things to do that might help you make your trip to DC possible, as well as the most cost-effective:
  • consider making an "EDC National Lobby Day Fund" jar and depositing a set amount (or loose change) every week
  • consider swapping out things like a daily coffee/tea purchase for a deposit into your "EDC National Lobby Day Fund" jar
  • start asking for donations (monetary, frequent flyer miles, etc.) from family members
  • some advocates have made GoFundMe pages to support their trip to EDC National Lobby Day
  • connect with friends to share a hotel room
  • connect with friends to share hotel-alternatives like a hostel or Air BnB*
  • consider car-pooling if you're driving to DC
  • start looking for flights today --save your search and get fare updates
  • consider staying outside the district of DC and using the Metro to get to Capitol Hill
Those are just a few ways that might help you save for a trip to DC so you can join us for EDC National Lobby Day.  If you have other suggestions, please comment on our blog or on our FB page!

Of course, we also know that not everyone has "loose change" to spare --eating disorders can wreak havoc on finances; we know, we've been there.  We also know that not everyone can take time off from treatment (whether your own or the treatment of a loved one), time off from work, or time away from family.  We simply want to encourage you with this blog post that if you are able to come to EDC National Lobby Day and the M.O.M. March this fall, there are things you can do to help save up for your trip and make your trip a bit more cost-effective.

Because we know the cost of coming to DC, we promise you to always keep registration fees as low as possible --please know that the EDC does not 'turn a profit' on Lobby Day...your registration fee goes to cover the cost of hosting Lobby Day and that's all. 

We also promise you that if you cannot attend EDC National Lobby Day in person, we will continue to offer ways to get involved from afar.  But to that end, we do highly encourage you to do everything that you can do (that which is wise and healthy for you), so that you can come to Lobby Day.  We continue to hear from advocates --whether after their 1st or 20th time advocating with us-- that EDC National Lobby Day is one of "the best experiences" they've ever had.  We want YOU to have a chance to have that experience and we hope that you will be able to find a way to join us this October 27 - 28th as we storm Capitol Hill with our voices, stories, united message and our constituency-based influence.   

Our voices make a difference, your voice makes a difference and #TheTimeIsNow to pass the #AnnaWestinAct into #AnnasLaw.  We hope to see you soon.  

Our work together continues, ~the EDC

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

EDC Breaking News #AnnaWestinAct

August 12, 2015

Today, patients, community leaders and advocates joined Congressman Ted Deutch at Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness today for a round table during which the Congressman encouraged all those impacted by ‪#‎eatingdisorders‬ to advocate on eating disorders. 

‪#‎TheTimeIsNow‬ to ‪#‎MarchAgainstED‬ and advocate on the ‪#‎AnnaWestinAct‬ during ‪#‎EDCNationalLobbyDay‬ on October 27th and 28th.

To read more from the Congressman: Press Release On Visit To Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness

To join in our advocacy at the 2nd Annual M.O.M. March and EDC National Lobby Day, please register at:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Is This Your Member of Congress?

Dear EDC Advocates,

If any of these folks listed below are your Members of Congress and if you want to help with a special project related to the Anna Westin Act (it won't take much time), please contact Kathleen MacDonald at:
THANK YOU so very much, ~ The EDC

(PS: to find out who your Members of Congress are, please go to:

  • and enter your zipcode in the box at the top right hand corner of the webpage.
  • and use the drop-down arrow in the top right hand corner of the webpage to find your Senators listed by state.

Rep Paulsen    MN
Rep Bilirukus    FL
Rep Holding    NC
Rep Emmer    MN
Rep Cochran    MS
Rep Castor    FL
Rep Jenkins    WV
Rep Rouzer    NC
Rep Walker    NC
Rep Kelly            PA
Rep Butterfield NC
Rep Ellmers     NC
Rep Matsui     CA
Rep Blum            IA
Rep Buchanan FL
Rep Meehan    PA
Rep Price    GA
Rep Mooney    WV
Rep Kline           MN

Sen Toomey    PA
Sen Gardner    CO
Sen McCaskill    MO
Sen Murray    WA
Sen Boxer    CA
Sen Stabenow    MI

Thursday, August 6, 2015

EDC Supports Mental Health Bill

As we continue working hard on the ‪#‎AnnaWestinAct‬, we also continue our work on other ways to positively impact mental health issues. 

Recently, we were one of over 40 organizations who signed this letter -------->
in support of S. 1893, the "Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015."

The Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015 does several things, including: reauthorizing and improving programs aimed at increasing awareness, prevention, and early identification of mental health conditions, promoting linkages to evidence-based treatments and services for children and youth and reauthorizes the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, one of the foundational programs underpinning our national suicide prevention strategy.

While we know the #AnnaWestinAct is going to help many and help save many lives, we also know there is, concurrently, more to be done to help ALL those impacted by eating disorders. As we say so often: our work continues.

Thank you for advocating with us. ~ the EDC

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#EDCActionAlert -Anna Westin Act

Dear Eating Disorders Coalition advocates, activists and supporters: ‪#‎TheTimeIsNow‬ to use YOUR voice to advocate for the ‪#‎AnnaWestinAct‬.

Below are pictures of the simple (but very necessary) #EDCActionAlert.  The #EDCActionAlert involves you making just TWO phone calls and one Tweet. These two calls and one Tweet CAN make a huge difference.

Please let us know how your calls go -- we'll be following on Twitter!

If you have ANY questions, please post in comments below or email:

THANK YOU for considering giving of your precious time and energy to help ensure passage of the #AnnaWestinAct. #‎AnnasLaw‬ is long overdue.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How A Bill Becomes a Law

July 17, 2015 

How A Bill Becomes a Law -- a 101 Primer on the Legislative Process

Hi everyone,

Was just thinking today about how complex our Legislative Process is and how little of it I actually learned as a high school senior in "Government Class."  My true education about the Legislative Process has come from working and advocating on Capitol Hill. Wow, was I green when I started working Capitol Hill --I had a lot to learn! I had never been to or watched a Congressional Hearing, I had never met with Committee Staff, let alone been fully aware of what they do versus regular staff, and I realized quickly that beyond "I'm Just a Bill", I had a lot of learning to do.  Luckily, people who work on Capitol Hill empathize with newbies.  They are very kind to answer questions, not shame a person when they don't know all the terms like "hopper" or all the procedures about "voting bells" (see picture above), and they never think a question is out of line or stupid.  ~ In the years since I first began advocating with the EDC, and in the years since I became Policy Assistant, and then later Policy Director, and Director of Social Media and Advocate Relations, I have never ever stopped learning about how things work on Capitol Hill.  I still have questions, I still have don't have all the answers when a staffer asks questions and from time to time, I still need to refer to "How Our Laws Are Made" to read the fine print about the Legislative Process (there's allllloooooottttt of fine print).

All that to say, I thought it might be helpful to share a 101 Primer on How A Bill Becomes A Law with anyone who is interested and encouraged to advocate for #AnnasLaw.  Below is borrowed from one of the best explanatory books about Congress, "Congress for Dummies"

(highly encourage you get a copy if you like to advocate on Capitol Hill).  If you find this overly simplistic, then please, by all means, join the nerd in me and (re-) read How Our Laws Are Made tonight ------>

Here is the Congress for Dummies explanation of How A Bill Becomes A Law:

  1. The bill is drafted.
    The bill must be introduced by a member of Congress.
  2. A member of Congress introduces the bill, and the clerk assigns it a number.
    Most bills never receive press attention after the introduction. Members of Congress often issue press releases regarding a bill’s introduction, both to generate publicity for it and to create a paper trail for their reelection campaigns.
    Other stakeholders who support or oppose the bill may get their opinions out too, either to make sure the bill is dead on arrival or to mobilize support to see it through to the next round.
  3. The bill is referred to committee and (possibly) subcommittee.
    The Speaker of the House and the presiding officer in the Senate are responsible for assigning a bill to a committee in their respective chambers. The committee chair may then assign it to a subcommittee.
    Committee assignments are sometimes obvious; for example, the ratification of a free trade agreement falls under the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance subcommittees for trade. But often, which committee has jurisdiction over a bill is less clear-cut. Because committees can bring newly proposed legislation to a screeching halt, supporters naturally favor assigning a bill to a committee in which it’s likely to receive the most support.
  4. Committee hearings are held.
    A committee hearing is the primary method for members of Congress to learn about an issue. Hearings usually include a panel of stakeholders from different sectors who discuss the many aspects of the bill in consideration. Hearings are usually required to be publicly accessible unless specific sensitivities, such as national security concerns, come into play.
    Most bills never leave this stage. Instead they are tabled, which means set aside and likely never looked at again.
  5. The subcommittee and full committee members mark up the bill.
    When hearings are complete, subcommittee and committee members examine the bill line by line and offer amendments. While some amendments may be intended to genuinely improve the bill (at least in the proposing member’s opinion), less politically palatable amendments known as poison pills may be offered with the intent to wreck the whole process and force supporters to vote against their own legislation later on.
  6. The bill is reported out and calendared.
    The bill and a written report about it prepared by the committee are sent to the relevant chamber and placed on its calendar.
  7. The bill is read on the floor of the chamber, and amendments are debated.
    As with the committee process, floor procedures are used by supporters in Congress to try to push a bill to a vote with minimum commotion and by opponents to effectively kill it in its tracks. This step is the final chance for stakeholders to influence the text of a bill before it goes to a vote.
  8. The bill goes to a full vote.
    Like any vote, congressional votes are moments when each side scrambles to mobilize supporters and make sure they show up to make their opinions count. While private sector and special interest groups obviously cannot vote themselves, they work to galvanize support within Congress, the media, and public opinion.
  9. A bill that passes goes to conference committee.
    The House and Senate must both pass the same bill for it to be forwarded to the President’s desk. But at this stage, they likely have passed similar but still different pieces of legislation. To reconcile the differences, an ad hoc committee of members from both chambers (a conference) comes together and negotiates a common text.
  10. The House and Senate vote on the revised bill.
    After the conference committee hammers out a common text, both chambers vote on the revised bill. If the bill is approved, it’s then delivered to the President’s desk.
  11. The President signs or vetoes the bill.
    Even if he signs a bill into law, a president often uses so-called signing statements to attach his own interpretation to the measure, which can affect how it’s implemented.
    If a president vetoes a bill, Congress may override the veto with a two-thirds majority in each chamber.
  12. The bill becomes law.
    Laws often leave it up to federal bureaucrats and regulators to determine the exact way in which it will be applied. Drafting such regulations is another key element of Washington’s policymaking process.

    We hope that was helpful to read --if you have any questions about the Legislative Process, please just ask.

    Have a healthy night, ~Kathleen MacDonald, Director of Social Media and Advocate Relations