Eating Disorders

The eating disorders team understands the journey toward recovery can be a long and challenging one. For some students, treatment may require a higher level of care than what can be provided by Columbia Health. Therefore, the team is dedicated to assisting students in need of more intensive services (e.g., an intensive outpatient program) in identifying and getting connected with these services in the community, as recommended. Team members may also coordinate various outreach and educational on-campus activities related to eating concerns, weight management, nutrition, and body image.

Mental Health Professionals on the Eating Disorders Team

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.

Weiyen joined the Eating Disorders team in 2019. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and is interested in symptoms of anxiety, perfectionism, and their role in eating concerns, particularly with newer culture shifts towards “healthy” and “clean” eating. She aims to develop a collaborative environment in order to identify adaptive strategies for individuals to improve their relationship to food and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Eduvigis Cruz-Arrieta joined the Eating Disorder team in February 2018. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience, most recently focused on behavioral health approaches to staying healthy at any size. She brings her experiences as a woman, a bilingual emigrant with a multicultural inheritance, a former dancer, and a seasoned psychotherapist to her understanding of people's relationships to their bodies.

Dr. Ashley Danies is a Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined the eating disorders team at Counseling and Psychological Services in January 2021. Prior to joining CPS, she completed a pre-doctoral internship at NYU-Bellevue Hospital Center, as well as a clinical psychology externship at NYU Counseling and Wellness Services. She has worked in a variety of settings, including CPEP, inpatient, outpatient, and counseling center settings. Her professional clinical interests include: interpersonal and relationship issues, trauma and resilience, eating disorders, Multiracial identity issues, and the impact of discrimination on mental health. 

Renee Gibbs joined Columbia Health and the CPS Eating Disorder Treatment Team in 2020 after nine years of psychology practice in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Gibbs provided treatment and led program development efforts in eating disorder treatment and training at the VA, including serving as the national lead trainer and consultant for the Eating Disorder Initiative. Additionally, she was the clinician investigator for a research clinical trial that evaluated a treatment protocol for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) at the PRIME Innovation research program at VA Connecticut. She primarily practices eating disorder treatment from a cognitive-behavioral treatment orientation and is devoted to providing interdisciplinary care with the Eating Disorders treatment team.

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.

Dr. Lucia Haladjian is a Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined the eating disorders team at CPS in January 2021. Prior to working at CPS, she completed a pre-doctoral internship at a community mental health clinic, Hamilton-Madison House with a rotation at Gracie-Square Hospital at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital. Her specialized training includes psychodynamic interpersonal and relational therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral approaches for individuals coping with eating disorders and comorbid anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and trauma-related issues. She is especially dedicated to utilizing these approaches to address immigration and first-generation stressors including acculturation and adjustment, gender-related discrimination, and intergenerational trauma and healing as they impact body image and eating concerns. Lucia is fluent in German. 

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.

Dr. Elmira Raeifar is a Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined the Eating Disorder team in January 2021. Prior to joining Columbia Health, she completed a pre-doctoral internship at Jacobi Medical Center, as well as a clinical psychology externship at the Center for Intensive Treatment of Personality Disorders at Mount Sinai West. She also has experience in a variety of settings working with adults and young adults at LIU counseling center, as well as inpatient and outpatient settings at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Elmira is interested in the treatment of eating and related disorders from a psychoanalytic perspective, as it relates to early significant other relationships and consequent developmental difficulties. Elmira’s research and clinical work has focused on the impact of attachment and caregivers on one’s sense of self and interpersonal relationships. 

Medical Services Professionals on the Eating Disorders Team

Colby joined the eating disorders team in 2013 and has been working with those struggling with eating disorders and eating concerns for 9 years. Prior to coming to Columbia, Colby honed her skills as a dietitian at eating disorder treatment centers. She was involved in every level of therapeutic care, including the day program, the intensive outpatient program (IOP), and individual nutrition counseling. She gained vast experience in nutrition therapy for those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive exercise, and other forms of disordered eating. Colby has also presented at national conferences on the treatment and care of eating disorders.

Doctor Eng is a board-certified family physician who also performs osteopathic manipulative treatment. She has spent her career practicing as a family physician in Philadelphia and New York City. Doctor Eng received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at Aria Health (formerly Frankford Hospital) where she served as chief resident.

Roseann is a board certified family nurse practitioner. She began her career in women's health, working at several hospitals and two birthing centers, as well as Planned Parenthood. She transitioned to student health, when she worked at Fordham University Health Service for 12 years. She enjoys the diversity of student health and focuses on education and prevention as integral parts of treatment.

Doctor Richards is a board-certified family physician with special interests in reproductive health, behavioral health, health promotion, and osteopathic manipulative medicine. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rowan University), Dr. Richards completed her family medicine residency at St. Barnabas Hospital. She spent the early part of her career as staff physician in St. Barnabas Hospital’s adolescent medicine department, where she helped write and implement a New York State Department of Health Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) grant. While there, she also helped develop the Teen Health Center and Supporting Youth Development programs. Prior to her transition to college health, she served as associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency at St. Barnabas Hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Medical Services at 212-854-7426.

Schedule an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services at 212-854-2878.

The Eating Disorders team can also coach and consult with concerned friends, roommates, parents, athletic staff, deans, residence-life staff, and faculty.