Monday, April 21, 2014

The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research Policy & Action (EDC) Announces New Policy Director



WASHINGTON, DC, April 18, 2014 – The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action ("EDC") announced Kathleen MacDonald as the new Policy Director of the EDC.  MacDonald has a ten-year history of working in the field of eating disorders and has expertise in the areas of education and prevention, insurance advocacy and policy related to eating disorders and mental health parity. MacDonald brings not only her professional strengths to the EDC, but a also a personal perspective on eating disorders; she recovered from a long battle with the very diseases for which the EDC advocates.  "My struggle with eating disorders was in part prolonged because I did not have access to medically necessary treatment,” said MacDonald. “When I was sick, the EDC provided a beacon of hope when I thought no one cared about people suffering with eating disorders. During my recovery process, I became a citizen advocate at the EDC's National Lobby Days.  It was through EDC National Lobby Days that I learned the power of advocacy, the power of using my voice and the power of policy."


“We are so thrilled to have Kathleen join our organization as Policy Director.  She is a beacon of hope to so many struggling, a fierce advocate, and a respected professional.  She brings a voice to the voiceless,” said Johanna Kandel, EDC Board President.  “We look forward to this new chapter for the Eating Disorders Coalition and to continuing our work bring recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority.”


In 2004, MacDonald partnered with EDC Member Organization The Gail R. Schoenbach F.R.E.E.D. Foundation (For Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders) as Education and Prevention Coordinator, and Insurance Advocate.  In 2008, after many years of volunteering with the EDC, MacDonald became the Policy Assistant of the EDC and worked on legislative efforts on Capitol Hill, including EDC National Lobby Days and strategic policy planning such as helping develop the "Education and Prevention" section of The FREED Act, the first comprehensive federal bill in the history of Congress to address eating disorders research, treatment and education and prevention.  In 2012, MacDonald joined Kantor & Kantor, LLP, as a Health Insurance Advocate where she authored appeals to insurance companies from the denial of benefits for treatment of eating and other mental health disorders. "My time at Kantor & Kantor (K&K) was invaluable and I will be forever grateful to everyone at the firm, especially the Health Team.  Lisa Kantor, founding partner of K&K and EDC Board Member, has been a boss, mentor and friend to me and I appreciate her encouragement to accept the Policy Director position.  Though I will no longer work for Lisa or the firm, we will still work closely together as we raise awareness of the barriers to insurance coverage people with eating disorders face when seeking treatment," said MacDonald. 


On her goals as the Policy Director, MacDonald said, "I look forward to helping advance the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014, the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act of 2013, furthering the EDC's legislative priorities and working with EDC Member Organizations and advocates from across the country to collaboratively demonstrate to Congress that they can make a difference by passing legislation that will benefit all those impacted by eating disorders. I feel blessed, humbled and excited to take forward the EDC's mission of influencing policy to ensure positive and long-lasting change in the lives of all those affected by these insidious and deadly brain disorders."   


About The Eating Disorders Coalition
Since 2000, the Eating Disorders Coalition's mission has been to bring recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority at the federal and state level.  The EDC raises awareness among policy makers and the public at large about the serious health risk posed by eating disorders; promotes federal support for improved access to care; increases resources for research, education, prevention, and improved training; increases funding and support for scientific research on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of eating disorder; promotes initiatives that support the healthy development of children; and mobilizes concerned citizens to advocate on behalf of people with eating disorders, their families, and professionals in the field.  To learn more and to become involved with the EDC visit: www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org or visit their FB page at: www.facebook.com/EatingDisordersCoalition

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Truth In Advertising Hangout

Didn't get to be at the #TruthInAds Google Hangout? Here's the link to the video.

Thank you again to The Representation Project, SPARK Summit and Seth Matlins!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Truth in Advertising Act Introduced!

The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and Seth Matlins of the Brave Girls Alliance commend Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Lois Caps (D-CA), and Ted Deutch (D-FL) on the Truth in Advertising Act. This bipartisan bill requires the Federal Trade Commission to study what steps can be taken to reduce the usage of “photoshopped” models in advertising. The broad-range of health consequences of advertising that “photoshops” and changes the human form by advertisers is particularly concerning. These types of altered advertisements have a particularly strong impact on children and girls.

“We are extremely excited about this legislation. Reps. Ros-Lehtinen, Capps and Deutch have been champions for the eating disorders causes, and we value their leadership on this important initiative,” said Johanna Kandel, President of the Eating Disorders Coalition, “ The EDC has been concerned about the effect “photoshopping” can have on the onset of eating disorders for quite sometime and we look forward to seeing this bill become law.”

"As the father of 2 young children, I'm incredibly grateful for the leadership Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Capps and Deutch are demonstrating" said Seth Matlins, who first began advocating for this type of legislative action with his wife almost three years ago. "Advertisers have been operating within guidelines and a 'business-as-usual' approach that needs to be re-examined. When 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of ideal body shape - and yet the body shapes they see aren't real or attainable; when 80% of women feel "shame" after reading a beauty magazine, we need to act, and re-consider commercial practices that are harming a broad cross-section of the population."


The Eating Disorders Coalition is a non-profit policy and advocacy organization for persons with eating disorders located in Washington, DC. Seth Matlins is a father, marketer, and member of the Brave Girls Alliance, which shares the message that girls want, and deserve more empowered and healthy media.  For more information, visit www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org and BraveGirlsWant.com.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Final Goodbye from EDC Policy Director, Jeanine Cogan

Dear EDC advocates,

As the last day working with the EDC my heart is filled with gratitude for each of you.  Thank you EDC advocates for your strength, courage and commitment.  Thank you for speaking up, for speaking out, for taking a stand.  

For me the EDC was about empowering others - inspiring you to break the silence, to tell your stories, build relationships with your legislators, and ask for needed change.  Over the 14 years since our birth EDC has had more than 1000 people come to Washington, DC to speak their minds.  What a powerful force!  

And in a mutually synergistic way - you all inspired me!  Take for example the first time advocate.  You spent your money on airfares and hotel rooms, flew to DC, found your way through the maze of DC streets and arrived early (yes early!) to basic training.  Often you were anxious, venturing into something completely unfamiliar, not knowing how to lobby yet.  Yet you showed the courage to show up and then trusted me to give you the tools to fly! You went with your team to the first lobby visit - excited and nervous - and eventually with the support and encouragement of your team - you spoke up and told your story to the Congressional staffer.  "Wow - they actually listened!" was a common response.  Witnessing the transformation from anxiety in the morning to empowered strength in the evening was truly a gift! 

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."  Albert Schweitzer

Many of you met Members in official meetings or spontaneously in the halls of Congress.  I'll always remember how emboldened Terry Rustemeyer was when she saw Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the halls of the Russell Building.  She walked right up, introduced herself and shared her grief and heartbreak over the loss of her daughter Melissa to bulimia.  Hillary was visibly moved and said she would help.  Through this and other efforts (shout out to Joslyn Smith) Senator Hillary Clinton became a champion for our cause while she was in office.

I'll always cherish the chutzbah of so many of you.  A favorite is when veteran lobbyist Deb Melk cornered the chair of the Eating Disorders Caucus and as a constituent demanded in no uncertain terms an explanation for why she was still not a cosponsor of the FREED Act.  The Member signed onto the bill that day!

"God gave us memories that we might have roses in December." J.M. Barrie

I admire the commitment of so many advocates who came back year in and year out to give voice to this cause.  Thank you Gail, Johanna, Kitty, Kathleen, Matt, Carmen, Lisa, Eilleen, Katie, April, Chevese, Lizabeth, Millie, Jillian, Lara, Deb, Alan, Nicole, Liz, Laura and all the rest of you who came to lobby day repeatedly.  Through your continued efforts we passed a stronger mental health parity bill then was originally proposed. We pressured the administration to write stronger parity regulations that will cover more people with eating disorders.  We won Republican support for the FREED Act in the early years and Republican Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is championing EDC's new photoshopping bill this month (way to go Johanna and team Florida!).   It takes a village!  It takes a movement.  Thank you for being part of the movement!

Kitty and I built this organization out of love and righteousness!  The EDC was a place to bring your outrage and troubled heart.  The EDC was a place to heal and transform through positive action.  So many of you found it a welcoming place to bring your experience of darkness and loss and use it as a tool of change.  To all of you I give my thanks.  Your participation, leadership and action makes a difference.  

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

with love, Jeanine 

Monday, March 17, 2014

EDC Bids Farewell to Jeanine Cogan

The Eating Disorder Coalition's (EDC) Policy Director Jeanine Cogan has announced her resignation. Jeanine was the founding Executive Director of the EDC and was instrumental in its leadership and direction for 14 years. She has decided to step aside now so the EDC can bring in new leadership as we undertake changing and growing opportunities on Capitol Hill. The EDC board accepted her resignation on February 28th and it will go into effect on March 21, 2014.

Under Jeanine's watch, the EDC has been able to influence Congress in a variety of ways including playing an important role in passing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and the introduction of the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders Act.  In the past 14 years, under Jeanine's guidance, the EDC has made certain that eating disorders language has been inserted in several bills that have been put before Congress. In addition, she was instrumental in making sure eating disorders issues have been included in Congressional Hearings, press conferences and town hall meetings across the United States.

Jeanine's most important legacy however is her commitment to training and empowering individuals affected by eating disorders to speak out. She planned, organized and led dozens of EDC Advocacy Training and Lobby Days and she has trained hundreds of citizen activists to share their stories and use their voices to educate Congress about eating disorders.  In addition to Lobby Day trainings Jeanine organized Congressional Briefings, receptions for EDC members and members of Congress and participated in countless meetings and committees in Washington, D.C. as part of the greater mental health community.

The EDC is sorry to lose Jeanine's skills and passion and she will be missed.  EDC President, Johanna Kandel expressed her gratitude and confidence that the EDC's work will continue; "We are extremely grateful for the pioneering work Jeanine has done to advance eating disorders as a public health priority on a federal level.  We look forward to continuing the life-saving work she accomplished and excited about this new chapter for the EDC."


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Intends to call on the FTC to Examine the Effects of “Photoshopped” Advertising on Eating Disorders and Consumer Health

The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and Seth Matlins of the Brave Girls Alliance commend Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s intent to introduce legislation requiring the Federal Trade Commission to study the broad-range of health consequences of advertising that “photoshops” and changes the human form by advertisers. “Photoshopped” advertisements have a particularly strong impact on children and girls. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said on the House Floor, “The kinds of altered or photoshopped images found in media today can cause unrealistic expectations of what the body is supposed to look like, causing emotional, mental and physical health issues, and often resulting in an eating disorder."

“We are extremely excited about this legislation. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has long been a champion for the eating disorders causes, and we value her leadership on this important initiative,” said Johanna Kandel, President of the Eating Disorders Coalition, “ The EDC has been concerned about the effect “photoshopping” can have on the onset of eating disorders for quite sometime and we look forward to its introduction and working with her on this initiative.”

"As the father of 2 young children, I'm incredibly grateful for the leadership Representative Ros-Lehtinen is demonstrating" said Seth Matlins, who first began advocating for this type of legislative action with his wife almost three years ago. "Advertisers have been operating within guidelines and a 'business-as-usual' approach that needs to be re-examined. When 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of ideal body shape - and yet the body shapes they see aren't real or attainable; when 80% of women feel "shame" after reading a beauty magazine, we need to act, and re-consider commercial practices that are harming a broad cross-section of the population."


The Eating Disorders Coalition is a non-profit policy and advocacy organization for persons with eating disorders located in Washington, DC. Seth Matlins is a father, marketer, and member of the Brave Girls Alliance, which shares the message that girls want, and deserve more empowered and healthy media.  For more information, visit www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org and BraveGirlsWant.com.