Director of Outpatient Nutrition and Private Practice RD, Becky Mehr

What is your current position? 

  • Director of Outpatient Nutrition for the Renfrew Centers
  • Private Practice at Mehr Nutrition providing supervision for those seeking iaedp certification.

How did you get started in your career? 

I went into college majoring in Pre-Med.  This meant that I was taking Animal Biology and Plant Biology – and had to learn the Krebs Cycle.  The Krebs Cycle was tough and made no sense to me in the context of plants. Then a friend introduced me to the field of nutrition. I shadowed a dietitian over the summer. When I took my first nutrition class and it just clicked. I really loved studying about how the body works; the Kreb Cycle made sense (still didn’t get out of learning that).  It was in college where I really became interested in field of eating disorders after hearing from a local dietitian working in the field. It seemed like such a rewarding area that involved the science, psychology/counseling and connecting with others.

My first job after my internship was in the clinical setting as the only dietitian at small community hospital. This position really helped to form my communication within a team and collaborate with others; all skills I use now. It also helped form a solid understanding of the disease states impacted by nutrition that I learned about in school and internship. Being the only dietitian, led to doing some outpatient work and having a few eating disorder clients; which, I loved and looked for an opportunity to do more!

What advice would you give to someone new to the eating disorder field? 

Network and build connections with those that are in the field/area you want to work in; you never know what opportunities will come. Continue learning and growing in your practice regardless of the work you do as there is so many complex cases regardless of what field you are in.

 

Director of Business Development, Reasons, Fiona Larosa-Waters

What is your current position? 

I am the Director of Business Development at Reasons Eating Disorder Center in Los Angeles, CA.

How did you get started in your career? 

My first eating disorder job was as a counselor at a small eating disorder treatment program for adult women in the Boston area. I was milieu staff, helping clients with food prep, supervising the floor and meals, providing DBT skills coaching when needed, and co-running groups. From there I moved into a position doing recovery coaching in the community and treatment placements and case management for individuals living with eating disorders and substance use disorders. After a few years of building relationships with various programs and providers in the field as part of the case management work I was doing, I shifted into doing clinical outreach full time for treatment centers. I have now been leading the outreach team at Reasons since September of 2019.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field? 

Don’t think that you need to be a clinician or have an advanced degree to work in this field! I love working in outreach, it gives me an opportunity to engage with professionals from all over and to participate in wonderful educational opportunities that further my understanding of these disorders and the people they impact. My motto is “be a resource, not a sales pitch”. There is nothing I value more than connecting people to resources. That may be helping them learn more about my program, or it may be getting them set up with a local non-profit for support groups, or helping a family with some insight on how to advocate for themselves during the admissions process. This community is full of folks who are truly passionate about helping others, and I am so thankful for where I have landed in my career.

You can learn more about the clinic at:

https://www.facebook.com/ReasonsEatingDisorderCenter

@reasonsedc on instagram

Dr. Joann Hendelman, Clinical Director, The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness

What is your current position?
Clinical Director, The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness: Within my role, I supervise all of The Alliance’s free eating disorder support groups, as well as the licensed clinicians that facilitate the groups. I am also the Clinical Director of The Alliance’s Psychological Services program overseeing the outpatient care of individuals who are under/uninsured, supervising two Postdoctoral Fellows, and the program’s design and implementation. I also have a part-time private practice.

How did you get started in your career?
I began my interest in eating disorders in nursing school. Eating disorders brought together my interest in the interaction between mind and body. My interest exploded in my first psychiatric nursing job as a case manager and nurse in a Day Treatment Program. At the time, there was very little literature regarding eating disorders. Through graduate school I continued my focus on eating disorders often supervising my supervisors when it came to eating disorders. My first full time job was as the Clinical Director of an Eating Disorders Program in Peoria, Illinois. From there I was hired to develop an outpatient program in eating disorders and help train therapists on the inpatient program. I also ran a weekly support group for people with eating disorders sponsored by the Mental Health Association.

What advice would you give to someone new in the field?
If you are interested in working in eating disorders, get the training you need. If you are a graduate student or just beginning in the field, do a postdoctoral fellowship in eating disorders. Work in higher levels of care such as residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient to get experience. Do certification through the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp).  If you are not new to the field, get supervision by an iaedp approved supervisor, get training through iaedp and do continuing education through The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.

Credentials: BSN, RN, MA, PhD, FAED (Fellow in the Academy for Eating Disorders), CEDRN (Certified Eating Disorders Registered Nurse), CEDS-S (Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and Supervisor)

Publications:

Hendelman, Joann, “Eating Disorders:  A Maladaptive Coping Mechanism,” in Stress in the Modern World, ed. Wadwa, Serena, 2017.

Johnson, Craig et al., Bulimia Nervosa. 1987  Data collected and published by this author was cited by Dr. Johnson and used in his discussion of eating disordered individuals.

Hendelman, Joann V., Hamilton, Stephen, 4H Community Development.  Slide Set, Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1980.

Hendelman, Joann V., MSAS. “Bulimia and Adolescent Separation Anxiety,” 1984.

Hendelman, Joann V., MSAS.  “Inpatient Treatment of Eating Disorders,” 1985.

Rae, William A., Hendelman, Joann V., Journal of Clinical Child Psychology.  “Nursing Consultation Groups:  A Mental Health  Intervention in Pediatrics,” Volume VII, Number 1, Spring, 1978.

Allison Ivie, Federal Policy Advocate for Eating Disorder Issues

What is your current position?

I am the Vice President at Center Road Solutions, a woman-owned, boutique lobbying firm committed to empowering nonprofits to achieve long lasting social change. We work with several eating disorders nonprofits and other clients to advance their federal policy initiatives.

How did you get started in your career?

After graduate school I moved to Washington, D.C. as I was selected as a Women’s Congressional Policy Institute Fellow and started working in federal policy for a U.S. House Representative. I had graduated with my Masters in Public Policy and Masters of Arts in Women and Genders Studies from Brandeis University. My passion was improving the lives of women and families, but wasn’t sure what that would look like. My fellowship helped put a finer point on what that could look like at the federal level.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field? 

It is not uncommon for individuals to have a personal connection to the work they do, which can make them excellent stewards for change. I have found it to be particularly important to have reached a steady point in one’s mental health where you’re able to engage responsibly and diligently in the work that is so close to your heart. That certainly doesn’t mean someone can’t have a lived experience and not get emotional during this work. However, it requires great self-reflection, healing and taking care of your health first. There are so many ways to support work in mental health fields without it consuming your 9-5. I would encourage individuals to think broadly about the contribution they want to make and how working on yourself is a cornerstone of whatever contribution we give to the world.

Learn more about our work and our clients by visiting: 

Victoria Schonwald

Victoria Schonwald, RD, uses up to date evidence-based treatments to treat her patients at her private practice, The Eat Clinic.

What is your current position? 

I am an Eating disorder dietitian in Christchurch New Zealand. I have worked in private practice for 2 years and had a role in the public system for 4 months helping with FBT. I absolutely love working in private practice and the flexibility it gives me to work in the most caring and client focused way possible.

 

How did you get started in your career? 

I knew I wanted to work in eating disorders, so when I was studying I was focusing any assignments where I had a choice of topic about EDs. And as we know uni is not the best place to learn about EDs, so it was great to learn critical thinking skills and question systems while being diplomatic. I have also had lived experience with ED – so I really resonate with my clients.

 

What advice would you give to someone new to the field? 

If a student wants to get into this area I think you need to be prepared to do a lot of work. Including self work. I have listened to 100s of podcasts, read articles, joined ED FB groups to read and listen to sufferers to understand perspectives on treatment models. You need to learn skills that you don’t get in your RD degree. Working in a team with parents, partners, GP, psychologists – and most of the time you will know more than the rest of the team. You will become skilled in the medical, pharmacology, psychology, nutrition, therapy, exercise and genetics because it’s all so related to the food. You will be versed in the guidelines in all areas to help guide the rest of the treatment team with best practice. And you will be so passionate about it you won’t even care that you don’t get paid for 90% of the work you do.

To learn more about Victoria, check her out at:

Www.theeatclinic.com

Twitter: dietitian_tori8

Facebook: the eat clinic New Zealand

Instagram: @the_eat_clinic

Meghan Watson

Meghan Watson, M.A. RP, Founder and Managing Director of Bloom Psychology & Wellness.

What is your current position?

I am a Registered Psychotherapist in private practice in Toronto ON. I am the Founder and Managing Director of Bloom Psychology & Wellness, a psychology group practice focused on supporting the mental health and wellness of BIPOC clients in the Ontario Canada area. I work with clients through the clinic, provide consultation on workplace mental health to organizations and companies, as well as provide consultation/ education and supervision for other clinicians in private practice.

How did you get started in your career?

I completed my undergrad in Psychology at McGill university, and had originally thought I wanted to be a neuropsychologist, or work with social identity and group behaviour. I was a research lab manager for a social psychology lab focused on intergroup relations, as well as volunteered with labs in neuropsychology, relationships and motivation. I ended up applying to masters level programs for counselling and psychotherapy to gain more experience outside of academia. My first foray into eating disorders treatment was in my practicum during grad school, where I worked for a national US eating disorder treatment centre. Prior to this, I had not had any experience working with eating disorders and at the time was curious about exploring everything and anything I hadn’t learned before. I had the opportunity to work in multiple levels of care from residential programs to running aftercare and outpatient groups, and felt that the work was necessary and not discussed enough within the black and brown community. I ended up working in a large lgbtqia+ focused healthcare centre where I refined my skills in outpatient therapy and anti oppressive work, and over the years have worked in substance use rehabilitation centres, in inpatient and residential trauma and mood programs. Now, I work in private practice and have continued to work within eating disorders, complex mood and anxiety disorders, focusing specifically on the intersections of these within the BIPOC and lgbtqia+ community.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

My best advice to someone new in the field is to build a community of likeminded peers that share your values for the work you do. So much of our clinical work is rooted in developing expertise and learning new ways to treat clients and different modalities, that the learning process can be incredibly isolating. Start with what brings you meaning and value first, and you will never lose sight of your purpose. Bring others along with you who share your visions and work together on making it happen.

 

Find Meghan on Instagram @thrive_withmeg