Advocacy in Action

State Advocacy Efforts

Mara Gittess, MA, LPC

Also in this issue:

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The 83rd Texas Legislative Session was busy and exciting!  Rep. Garnet Coleman was the primary author of HB 3227, which was co-authored by Representatives Chris Turner, Joe Moody, Armando Walle, and Rafael Anchia.  HB 3227 related to coverage of certain eating disorders as serious mental illnesses under certain group health benefits.  In other words, the goal of this bill was to provide parity for the treatment of eating disorders so that our clients could have access to the adequate amount and level of treatment necessary for recovery.  Many individuals worked very hard to ensure that HB 3227 was granted a hearing in the House of Representatives.  HEDS members Terry Fassihi, Jill Sechi, Greg Mar, Lindsay Ewan, and Mara Gittess testified on behalf of the bill.  In addition, many HEDS members made phone calls and sent letters in support of the bill.  Due to such an amazing team effort, HB 3227 was easily passed out of the House of Representatives.  This is the farthest that a parity bill for eating disorders has gotten!

Sen. Deuell agreed to sponsor the bill in the Senate and was extremely patient and helpful.  Unfortunately, the bill did not make it out of committee on the Senate side.  As a result, we will not give up and will continue the fight in the next legislative session.  We will be working in between sessions to garner more support for parity for eating disorders.

Please stay tuned for information as to how you can get involved!

National Advocacy Efforts

Deborah M. Michel, PhD, CEDS

The following national advocacy update is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) Forum, Volume 21, Issue 3.

Update from the Advocacy and Communication Committee (ACC)

Deborah Michel and Kristine Vazzano, ACC Co-Chairs.

The AED’s Advocacy and Communication Committee (ACC) has been working hard on a variety of projects, which include:

  • Advocacy Guidelines – These guidelines are intended to be used by professionals and the general public to provide information about the purpose of advocacy, as well as to provide practical guidelines on how to advocate on behalf of those with eating disorders. The guidelines will be posted on the AED’s website, along with a listing of advocacy activities and resources in different countries.
  • Lobby Day Participation in the United States – Leslie Murray and Deb Mangham have led efforts with the ACC to recruit AED members to participate in Lobby Day activities on Capitol Hill this fall, with both the National Eating Disorders Association and the Eating Disorders Coalition.
  • Weight Stigma Awareness Week Participation – The AED has joined the Binge Eating Disorder Association in supporting ‘Weight Stigma Awareness Week’, which will highlight problems associated with weight stigma, and provide information about what can be done to counter such beliefs.
  • Press Releases – Recent press releases reflecting the AED’s concern over The Boy Scouts of America’s new fitness guidelines, as well as ‘weight-ism’ statements made by Abercrombie’s CEO can be accessed in the Press Release section of the website.

If you are interested in learning more about national advocacy efforts, please visit the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) Advocacy page, which can be accessed via the website: www.aedweb.org. You may also contact Deb Michel, PhD, CEDS, AED Co-Chair for Advocacy and Communication at dmichel@woodlandsedc.com.