Owner of Pursuing Private Practice, Jennifer McGurk

Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CEDRD-S
Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian
Clinical Supervisor & Business Coach

What is your current position?

I have two passions that I bring to my role as an entrepreneur. I am currently the owner of a group private practice, Eat With Knowledge, and lead a team of dietitians to support clients in eating disorder treatment. Our practice is virtual, but we are based out of Nyack NY. I also am the owner of Pursuing Private Practice. Pursuing Private Practice is on a mission to empower dietitians to start and grow a business rooted in a non-diet philosophy. Pursuing Private Practice offers many different resources for building a business. I have courses to purchase: Beginner Basics (all about starting a private practice) and also Help Your Clients Feel Fabulous About Food (all about nutrition counseling skills). I also run a membership program called Dietitian Business School. There is a collective energy among this group of dietitians rebelling against the dietitian “norm” to build a business and make money with a weight-inclusive approach to health. Dietitian Business School includes business education and training, group coaching and group supervision, self-care, accountability, and community all in one.

How did you get started in your career?

I will change this to “how did I get started with running my own business?” because I love that question! I honestly just took a leap of faith and started. I had no idea what I was doing and was so scared. But I knew the power of my mission would be stronger than any fear. I also got a lot of help and support along the way, and learned from all of the mistakes I made! I started out in diabetes education, and also worked for a college health center before opening my private practice in 2011.

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

Hang out with dietitians that inspire you! Don’t be afraid to say hi on social media, introduce yourself at conferences, and learn from dietitians with supervision and joining groups/memberships/courses. We need more dietitian business owners that specialize in eating disorders, so don’t get discouraged with the current system that does not provide enough education, training, and support! Seek out your own opportunities to truly create the career (and life!) that you want to have.

Learn more about Jennifer at:

Eat With Knowledge (group private practice): www.eatwithknowledge.com

Pursuing Private Practice: www.pursuingprivatepractice.com


Dietitian Business Plan Roadmap

Congrats on starting a private practice!! I bet you are so excited, but I know the feeling to also be overwhelmed with all of the advice coming at you from all over the place. You can sign up for a free business plan roadmap that takes you through the key steps to start a business so you can focus on what really matters and leave the rest behind: https://www.pursuingprivatepractice.com/join


Marketing Bootcamp (3 day challenge)

Many dietitians have no idea they are actually marketing all wrong, without any official strategy in place for their business. This marketing bootcamp will give you 3 fundamental marketing strategies to get at least 3 new clients to your business: https://pursuingprivatepractice.com/challenge


Beginner Basics https://pursuingprivatepractice.com/beginner-basics/

If you’re ready to get the doors of your private practice open–even virtually- Beginner Basics is for you! This course will teach you how to get your private practice set up with CONFIDENCE and includes business education videos on everything from mindset to finances to setting up an office space–even the pros and cons of taking insurance.

Beginner Basics includes worksheets to help you create your own business plan, the exact forms you need for your business (that are all completely editable to make them your own), and how to do an inquiry call! Plus a bonus recorded workshop about marketing a virtual private practice!


Dietitian Business Schoolwww.dietitianbusinessschool.com

Dietitian Business School is a membership for dietitians that are growing a private practice and beyond! You’ll be joining a powerful group of dietitians who believe in a non-diet way of counseling.


Dietitian Business School includes business education and training, group coaching and group supervision, self-care, accountability, and community all in one. We encourage you to lean into the uncertainty and challenge yourself to do things for your business that will truly create change for you as a business owner. Come hang out with dietitians that will inspire you.


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:


@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)


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:


Twitter: dietitian_tori8

Facebook: the eat clinic New Zealand

Instagram: @the_eat_clinic