Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The EDC Offers Condolences to the Kennedy Family

The Eating Disorders Coalition offers our thoughts and deepest condolences to the entire Kennedy family, especially his son and our champion, Patrick. Senator Edward Kennedy was a man of faith and perseverance on the Hill and for our country. He dedicated himself to uplifting the lives of the less privileged and inspired members of Congress to work together across the aisle on legislation that affected millions of Americans.

He championed issues such as civil rights and voting rights, SCHIP, Cobra, raising awareness of those affected by HIV/AIDS, removing stigma of those affected by mental illness, and of course health care. At the August, 2008 Democratic National Convention, Ted Kennedy tied health care to his life long theme of taking care of ALL people, as he passionately voiced, "I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore it's future to rise to our best ideals... As I look ahead I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me on the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat. But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world... For me, this is a season of Hope. New Hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few. New Hope!--and this is the cause of my life. New Hope! --that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American, North, South, East, West, Young, Old will have decent Healthcare as a fundamental right and not a privilege!"

Senator Ted Kennedy was a fierce advocate, a tireless bridge builder between opposing forces, and a good humored man of generosity. We will miss his positive influence in American politics. We remain inspired however by his legacy and commitment to improving the welfare and quality of life for all people - especially those with less political and social power.

We are encouraged by the words he shared at his brother Robert F. Kennedy's funeral in 1968, "The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society."

In that vein, we will continue to advocate for meaningful health care for all - a "new idea and bold project" and turn to his words and example when we get discouraged. Thank you Senator for your years of service and dedication to issues that personally touch so many of us. We will never stop believing in the enigmatic power of public service, and in "Hope."

Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D
Policy Director

Kathleen MacDonald
Policy Assistant

Eating Disorders Coalition

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Week Left in Virtual Lobby Day!

There is only one week left in EDC's Virtual Lobby Day!

Meet with your legislators during the August Recess, and make your voice heard in the health care debate by advocating for reform and eating disorders without coming to DC!

The Eating Disorders Coalition's inaugural EDC Virtual Lobby week ends Friday, August 28, 2009, coinciding with the recess on Capitol Hill. This is the perfect time to meet with your representatives while they are in their hometowns and make your voice heard! Click here to download all the materials you'll need and learn more about how you can make a difference this August.


Can you make it to DC for EDC Lobby Day 2009?

The Eating Disorders Coalition is hosting our second EDC Lobby Day of 2009 in Washington, DC. Come join us in building further momentum around the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders Act (FREED), the first eating disorders legislation to comprehensively promote research, treatment, education, and prevention programs.

Program Schedule
Washington, DC

September 23rd
3:00-5:00pm – Mandatory Basic Training for all First Time Advocates
7:00-9:00pm Meet and Greet Social Reception– Drinks and Food

September 24th
9:00-11:00am – Message Training
11:30am-3:30pm – Lobbying
4:00pm-5:00pm – Congressional Briefing, The FREED Act

Details, costs, and links to register for each of these events are available via our website at:

We hope to see you in Washington, DC this September and thank you for your participation in Virtual Lobby Day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Successful Action Alert!

Our Action Alerts Work!

120 of you called your Senators and urged them to sign onto the parity regulations letter. WOOHOO! Those are great numbers! And look what a difference it made. 27 Senators signed onto the letter urging that parity regulations move forward. The EDC was part of a broader effort of a few dozen groups who made phone calls.

This is such a good example of how citizen activism makes a difference. Each one of you makes a difference and there are power in numbers! “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” John F. Kennedy

So if you haven't signed up for lobby day in September do so now! Also remember we are in our 2nd day of virtual lobby week that goes until August 28th. Meet with your legislators while they are at home and let them know how critical it is to address eating disorders through federal policy.

Great job on the grassroots in a very short period of time!

Senators on the letter:
1. Franken (D-MN)
2. Kennedy (D-MA)
3. Reed (D-RI)
4. Whitehouse (D-RI)
5. Kerry (D-MA)
6. Dodd (D-CT)
7. Murray (D-WA)
8. Levin (D-MI)
9. Boxer (D-CA)
10. Stabenow (D-MI)
11. Durbin (D-IL)
12. Tester (D-MT)
13. Lieberman (I-CT)
14. Lincoln (D-AR)
15. Mikulski (D-MD)
16. Akaka (D-HI)
17. Klobuchar (D-MN)
18. Shaheen (D-NH)
19. Bingaman (D-NM)
20. Wyden (D-OR)
21. Udall (D-NM)
22. Brown (D-OH)
23. Merkley (D-OR)
24. Casey (D-PA)
25. Begich (D-AK)
26. Sanders (I-VT)

Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D., Policy Director
Eating Disorders Coalition

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Action Alert: We need you to call your Senators today!

Action Alert: We need you to call your Senators today!

Urge Your Senator to Sign onto a Letter in Support of Parity Regulations Now
Action Needed no later than August 6!


After years of hard work by mental health organizations such as the EDC, as well as other advocates and consumers, Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. The bill requires the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to issue regulations before the effective date for the Act which is January 1, 2010. It is essential the regulations are issued to avoid misinterpretation of the law and to ensure access to critical mental health and addiction services.

Senators Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed are circulating a Dear Colleague Letter in the Senate which will be sent to the Secretaries of the three departments responsible for issuing the regulations insisting they act quickly and consider the comments that were filed in response to the request for information (RFI).

The EDC provided comments to the agencies earlier this year urging the agencies to interpret the law in a manner that would include eating disorders coverage. In order to make sure that years of hard work and advocacy pay off let's call our Senators and ask them to sign onto this letter with Senator Al Franken and colleagues!

Solution: Call your Senators

How to find your Senators: go to
Put in your state and your two Senators will come up.

Use the phone number for the DC office (starts with 202)

The Message:

"Hi my name is XX. I am a constituent calling about the implementation of mental health parity regulations. I would like to urge the Senator to make sure mental health parity regulations are issued by October 3, 2009 by signing onto Sen. Franken's, Kennedy’s, Whitehouse's and Reed’s Dear Colleague Letter by 5:00 pm on August 6th. This step helps to ensure parity and equality are achieved for mental health and addiction services. Thank you for passing that information on to him/her."

Thanks! Every voice matters - we've had many examples of how one person writing a letter or making a phone call to their legislators makes a difference.

Once you make your call email and tell us who you called!

Thanks so much!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Gift and the Power of One Voice --Yours!

Have you ever wondered if your voice really makes a difference on Capitol Hill? Or wondered if your voice really matters to your Member of Congress? If so, I'm here to encourage you: IT DOES make a difference! YOU make a difference!

On July 22, 2009, Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee signed on as a Cosponsor of the FREED Act. Since Jeanine and I hadn't personally met with his staff to discuss FREED, we were curious as to how the Congressman heard about the bill and what encouraged him to sign on. Jeanine called Congressman Cohen's office and was told that the Congressman signed on as a cosponsor of the FREED Act because one of his constituents had written a letter expressing why the FREED Act is so vital and important to her.

Because of this one person's voice the FREED gained another cosponsor! It is so important to remember that you have the gift and the power to use your voice and that your voice matters, including on Capitol Hill, where your voice as a constituent makes a difference to Members of Congress!

Margaret Mead's famous quote lends the sentiment ever fittingly, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Each of you is a unique voice in the "small group of thoughtful, committed citizens" and each of you CAN make a difference!

Thank you to each and all of you who continue to speak out and speak up about the FREED Act and Eating Disorders! With your voice, and our collective voices, I truly believe we WILL witness the passage of the FREED Act! IF you haven't sent your letter do so now. Go to the following EDC website link and follow the easy step-by-step guide to writing your letter today

From the Hill ~ your Policy Assistant, Kathleen