Integrated eating disorders center to be launched shortly

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in affiliation with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, announced the creation of an integrated eating disorders center. Opening today is a key clinical component of this new center -- The Outlook at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division in White Plains.

The only specialized inpatient eating disorders program in New York state, The Outlook will provide treatment for adolescents and adults with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, as well as binge eating and other eating-related disorders.

Also under the umbrella of the integrated center are outpatient treatment programs at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Westchester, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and on East 60th St. in Manhattan.

"Eating disorders seriously imperil the health and well-being of those affected, while also presenting a major challenge for their families. With the creation of this integrated eating disorders center, we bring together unprecedented clinical, research and educational expertise and resources so that we can better provide comprehensive and compassionate treatment that addresses each patient's specific needs in order to improve their health," says Dr. Jack Barchas, the Barklie McKee Henry Professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and psychiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division.

Appointed as director of the new center is Dr. Evelyn Attia, who currently serves as director of the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A prominent researcher in the psychobiology and treatment of anorexia and other eating disorders, Dr. Attia was also named professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"One of our leading authorities on eating disorders, Dr. Attia has been a major force for improving care for patients with these challenging conditions. She has been instrumental in understanding the biological basis of anorexia nervosa and in developing effective new treatments," says Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and psychiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

"I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell and Columbia as we develop and implement clinical best practices, new collaborative research projects and educational opportunities," says Dr. Attia.

The Outlook at NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester
NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester first established an eating disorders program more than 30 years ago. Now known as The Outlook, it has relocated into an expanded and enhanced facility. The spacious unit has 17 beds in total -- six for adolescents and 11 for adult patients -- and two full-time psychiatrists, including Dr. Parinda Parikh, who will serve as unit chief. The program's multidisciplinary team also comprises psychologists, social workers, nursing staff, nutritionists and therapeutic activities staff.

Designed with patients' needs in mind, the unit features areas for groups and activities, including meal preparation. And reflecting its bucolic park-like setting at NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester, The Outlook's refurbished interior space is decorated with nature photography by artist Nadine Levin, whose images of mountains, oceans, fields and streams imbue the unit with a sense of calm.

"For individuals with acute eating disorders, hospitalization is the best way to address what can often be life-threatening medical and psychiatric complications. As New York state's only specialized inpatient program for treating eating disorders, The Outlook offers patients and their families a level of care unavailable in a general psychiatric unit," says Dr. Attia. "Effectively treating eating disorders can be a challenge, and requires specialty training in treatments such as behavioral management. Alongside its treatment program, The Outlook will offer specialized clinical training, helping to fill a gap in this area."


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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