Friday, July 25, 2014

Highlights From A Powerful Congressional Briefing

Nearly every seat in room "SVC 201-00" was filled yesterday with staffers from Capitol Hill who came to hear testimony about eating disorders at our Congressional briefing entitled, "Photo-shopping, Weight Stigma and Eating Disorders: What They Have in Common and Why They Matter."  The briefing was hosted by long-time friend of the EDC, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).

(L-R: Kathleen MacDonald, Rosie Buccellato, Allyson Kapin, Dr. Rachel Adatto, Lizabeth Wesley-Casella)

Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech and the +Rad Campaign, offered her compelling presentation on photo-shopping, including a live demonstration during which she showed the audience how, with just a few clicks on a computer, a person can be completely and radically transformed.  You could hear audible comments like, "oh my gosh" and "no way" coming from audience members as Allyson gave one model 'six pack abs' with just one mouse-click. 

+Lizabeth Wesely-Casella, Founder of, focused her presentation on weight-stigma and weight-bias.  Not only did Lizabeth share her professional expertise on these two topics, but she weaved in Health At Every Size and also her personal experience with Binge Eating Disorder (BED).  Lizabeth's testimony offered a call to action for everyone in the audience to help eliminate weight stigma and weight bias.  And, she encouraged people to see the beauty of their body in its genetically natural shape and size versus suffering to live in a body defined by the beauty-standards of society.

Dr. Rachel Adatto, Former Member of the Israeli Parliament, presented on her country's success in passing legislation addressing photo-shopped pictures and the BMI of fashion models.  Her successful efforts enlightened the audience that the 'solution' to eating disorders needs to be multifaceted --from educating doctors and society to passing legislation.

+Rosie Buccellato shared her personal story and it was clear from the tears seen and the sniffles heard that Rosie's poignant testimony touched people deeply.  Rosie's eating disorder emerged when she was seven years old after she was fat-caliper and BMI tested in front of her 2nd grade class.  Though Rosie shared of the devastation she and her family suffered during the14 years the disease held a tight-grip on her mind, body and spirit, she also shared the success of her healing, "I am not yet completely recovered.  But for the first time in 14 years of suffering, I have one full solid year of recovery under my belt."

We concluded with "Q & A."  Audience members asked several important questions, including personal ones -indicating that they truly 'get it,' intellectually and emotionally, when it comes to the seriousness of eating disorders. 

The +Eating Disorders Coalition offers sincere gratitude to each of the speakers for their expertise, for the time and energy they put into preparing their speeches, for expenses they incurred, for time they took off of work and for the emotional energy they put into making the briefing a huge success.  We are humbled by your commitment to advocacy.

So what's next?

Yesterday's briefing served as a catalyst for further discussion. In the coming weeks I will be following-up with each of the attendees, to dialogue about how we can work together to address the epidemic of eating disorders plaguing the lives of too, too many. 
Be sure to stay tuned for updates and ways that YOU can advocate with us. 

Yours from the Hill, ~Kathleen MacDonald, Policy & Communications Director

ps: Speeches, pictures and video will be posted shortly.

pps: You can already for this fall's EDC National Lobby Day which is in conjunction with the 1st ever M.O.M March on Capitol Hill! For all the details and to register, please visit:

1 comment:

Jennifer Denise Ouellette said...

Sounds amazing and I cannot wait to experience Lobby Day!