Body Image Concerns
Following national standards for excellent care, Columbia Health has established a multidisciplinary team of specialists in eating disorders. Students enrolled in Columbia Health are eligible to receive eating disorder assessments and counseling on campus.Students receiving care at Columbia Health may be provided with short-term individual psychotherapy, group counseling, nutrition counseling, and medical monitoring. The team will continue to assess a student's progress over time and make recommendations based on the student's engagement in treatment and level of functioning.
Eating Disorders Team
The Eating Disorders team is comprised of medical providers and mental health practitioners—physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and psychologists. Students initially demonstrating an eating concern will see a therapist, a nutritionist, and a medical provider for individualized assessments.
Members of the eating disorders team work closely together to provide appropriate assessment of, and treatment for, students with a range of eating, weight, and body image concerns. The team then reviews initial assessments and makes recommendations for treatment.
Consider making an appointment with the team when experiencing one or more of these concerns:
- Significant preoccupation or dissatisfaction with your body shape or weight
- Self-worth is unduly influenced by your body image
- Persistent food restriction due to a fear of gaining weight
- Persistent over-exercising
- Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating
- Recurrent inappropriate behaviors in an effort to control weight, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics and so forth
The mental health professionals on the team are:
Annette has over 15 years of experience providing individual and group therapy and psychoeducational outreach to students with a range of eating concerns and has served as the clinical team leader since 2007. She has presented at national and international conferences on the treatment of eating disorders and is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. She has conducted research on the impact of acculturation, depression, and body dissatisfaction on disordered eating and continues to be curious about social, cultural, and interpersonal factors that may contribute to the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Annette believes the journey toward recovery can be a challenging one but with the appropriate level of support from a multidisciplinary team of eating disorder professionals, students can learn healthy ways of coping with stressful situations; improve their relationships with food, self and others; develop problem-solving skills; improve body image; and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Annette is fluent in Spanish.
Mary Beth’s research has focused on understanding body shame, including the ways in which media-based messages as well as important relationships impact this experience. She is particularly interested in helping students develop healthy relationships with food and their bodies.
Sadi has experience working individually and running group therapy with people who are struggling with eating disorders. She tailors her treatment to the individual’s unique presenting concerns and works to focus on an individual’s psychological health and overall well-being. Sadi supports the individual in their courageous journey toward eating disorder recovery.
Sául joined the Eating Disorders team in the summer of 2015. His work on this interdisciplinary team has informed his understanding of the benefit of treating eating concerns holistically, rather than focusing strictly on psychological factors. The work of eating disorder recovery is difficult. Sául believes that validating students’ struggle with recovery, educating them on the components of a comprehensive treatment plan, and providing support as students begin to make changes are crucial to effective intervention. Sául is fluent in Spanish.
Doreen has worked for many years as a child and adolescent psychiatrist. One of her main areas of interest is facilitating the emotional and psychological transition to adulthood. Eating disorders sometimes arise during this period of transitions. She understands that while a person may or may not be particularly distressed by eating disorder symptoms, these symptoms often do represent stress in one or more areas of a person’s life such as social, emotional, academics, and family. She takes a multidisciplinary approach in helping people recover from eating disorders. Doreen is fluent in Mandarin.
Hina joined the Eating Disorder team in 2017. She brings an integrative orientation to her clinical work with students who present with a range of eating concerns, combining aspects of psychodynamic and cognitive therapy. Her clinical and research interests include an exploration of how issues related to cultural identity impact students’ relationships with food and their bodies, and how sociocultural messages contribute to the development of eating disorders. Hina is fluent in Hindi and conversant in Urdu.
For consultation or additional information, contact Annette Santiago-España, psychologist and clinical team leader, at 212-854-2878 or email@example.com.
Support Groups and Workshops
When there is sufficient student interest, we offer a variety of groups and workshops that may be of interest, including Making Peace with Food and Reawakening Your Healthy Self: Eating Concerns Group for Women.