About Us 2018-07-11T13:52:07+00:00

About Us

What is EDSNA?

The Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA) is a non-profit organization and a registered charity dedicated to providing meaningful support to those affected– directly and indirectly– by eating disorders.  Our grassroots organization was founded by Moyra McAllister, whose daughter developed an eating disorder. Moyra’s personal experience inspired a desire to support others. 

Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta provides information, guidance, a provincial voice, a community hub and most of all, support. We offer professionally-facilitated support groups in Edmonton, Calgary and online. Thanks to ongoing funding from Alberta Health, Addictions and Mental Health Branch, we are able to offer these groups at a very low cost to the participants and can even waive fees if people are experiencing financial difficulty.

EDSNA promotes awareness about eating disorders by hosting Eating Disorders Awareness Week February 1-7,  giving presentations to various groups throughout the year, and strengthening relationships between community partners and treatment professionals to create a more effective voice for eating disorders.​

No one in Alberta will face an eating disorder alone.

EDSNA is a charitable organization providing support to individuals dealing with eating disorders* in the province of Alberta.
EDSNA raises awareness about eating disorders in the province of Alberta.

*individuals dealing with eating disorders includes people directly affected and those indirectly affected such as family members, educators, healthcare professionals, and others in the life of a person with an eating disorder

We are client centered, professionally-facilitated, with programs tailored to client needs and respectful of individual diversity. There is not one cause for eating disorders, therefore there is not one solution that will be right for everyone. EDSNA is a support network – not a treatment organization.

We serve individuals dealing directly with an eating disorder, family and loved ones of those dealing directly with an eating disorder, professionals working in the field of eating disorders, and the general public.

Our facilitators are all health professionals with a background in eating disorders. They are registered psychologists, registered dieticians, psychiatric nurses, registered social workers and occupational therapists. We hire people who have the skills to guide groups effectively, answer questions knowledgeably and empower people to take ownership of their own journey to recovery. We select professionals who are aligned with our philosophy that everyone in the family is impacted by eating disorders, who are non-judgmental and can provide a safe space for everyone to participate. You can learn more about our team here.

Moyra McAllister, Founder and Past President

Moyra practiced as a physical therapist and a clinic director for nearly 30 years. She currently works as the Complaints Director for Physiotherapy Alberta. Finding solutions to problems is what Moyra has always done. When her daughter became ill with an eating disorder, she discovered that finding support, treatment options and guidance for her daughter and herself was very difficult. There was so much information and yet no concrete solutions or help. As she began to talk to other families who were affected by eating disorders she found that her family’s story was not unique – the feelings of isolation, panic, fear and desperation were nearly identical between families. She decided to create a solution for this problem. EDSNA, the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta is the result.

Sue Huff,
Executive Director (Outgoing)

Sue is a writer, performer, advocate, community builder and former politician. Shortly after her daughter was admitted to the University of Alberta Hospital’s Eating Disorder Clinic, Sue was introduced to Moyra by someone who recognized their shared passion to make positive change. Together, Sue and Moyra make a formidable team!

As Executive Director, Sue coordinates and manages all of EDSNA’s programming and activities. Her focus is on the long-term sustainability of EDSNA, creating partnerships, increasing public awareness, strategic planning and seeking additional revenue streams to support EDSNA’s mission and vision. Sue gives many presentations to the public to raise awareness about eating disorders and in June, she delivered a live webcast presentation to over 2000 people as part of the Children’s Mental Health Learning Series. You can view the video here. You can book Sue to speak for your organization through this page. Visit suehuff.ca for more information, photos and reviews.

Sarah Johnson,
Office Administrator (Incoming)

Sarah is a senior undergraduate kinesiology student at the University of Alberta. As a qualitative researcher, she is currently investigating ways to improve education and increase awareness of eating disorders within the fitness professional community of Alberta.

As one of the incoming Office Administrators, Sarah takes care of the day-to-day tasks for EDSNA, and assists with the planning of different support programs and advocacy events. Volunteering for EDSNA since 2014, Sarah has become very familiar with the vision and mission of EDSNA, and has previously helped to plan, coordinate, and execute numerous workshops on behalf of the organization. She has also made media appearances with EDSNA, proudly speaking out as as an eating disorder recovery warrior herself.

Sarah is excited to be employed by an organization she holds so close to her heart, as she believes EDSNA has given her more than she will ever be able to give back. Along with advocating for eating disorder recovery and support through her position with EDSNA, Sarah also has a blog dedicated to her personal eating disorder recovery-  www.NotSoLinear.ca/thoughts. To contact Sarah, email: info@EDSNA.ca.

Lauren Berlinguette
Office & Web Administrator (incoming)

As one of the current Volunteer Coordinators for EDSNA, in addition to her administrative work, Lauren has had the opportunity to really become involved with the organization since she began volunteering Fall 2017. Having had her own personal experiences with eating disorders, she recognizes the importance of the work EDSNA is doing, and is excited to be involved in a greater capacity.

Lauren is also a MacEwan University graduate, having completed her undergraduate degree with a major in Psychology and a focus on Eating Disorders. Increasing awareness of Eating Disorders in diverse populations, especially late onset disorders and those affecting the LGBTQ2S+ community, is something she is passionate about, and hopes to delve further into in the future.

Lauren also loves cooking, gardening, working out & yoga, and exploring the world- she hopes Taiwan, Estonia, Nepal, and Japan will be next! To contact Lauren, email: admin@EDSNA.ca

David Wedge, Co-President

David is a partner with the law firm of Parlee McLaws, a sessional instructor with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law, the father of beautiful new baby girl and a dangerously precocious 8-year old son, and the husband of the strongest woman he has ever met.  Because his wife has undergone treatment for her eating disorder almost the entire time they have been together and he has had to explain to his son on multiple occasions why Mom needs to go into the hospital again, David wants to do everything in his power to tackle the silence and neglect that surrounds eating disorders in our society. To contact David, email: president@EDSNA.ca

Toby Scott, Co-President

We are thrilled to welcome Toby back to the Board, after a one-year hiatus. Toby is a teacher and an Assistive Technology Specialist with the Edmonton Regional Collaborative Service Delivery and Kids with Cancer Society.  She is also the mother of two brilliant daughters, one who is bravely working towards recovery from an eating disorder. Toby believes in the power of compassionate support, as recovery is not something that can be achieved alone. And she knows that because families so deeply love their children and desperately want them to be well, the support and understanding provided by EDSNA is pivotal in providing hope throughout the long journey of recovery. 

 J.P. Tsang, Outgoing Treasurer

J.P obtained his CPA, CA in October 2015 and is now a Chartered Accountant for TL Professional Corporation. He would like to use his accounting skills to build a strong financial foundation for EDSNA and assist its growth  and long-term sustainability. He was drawn to volunteer with EDSNA because he had heard about the valuable supports provided for families affected by eating disorders and felt being on the Board was a meaningful way to give back to the community. J.P. would like to see EDSNA grow to be able to provide supports to everyone in Alberta who needs it. To contact JP, email: treasurer@EDSNA.ca 

Riley Kendrick

Riley holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta and will be starting the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Calgary this fall. He has a passion for law, policy and the implications that they have on organizations. He enjoys being able to explore these interests in various areas of the non-profit sector to create social change through community empowerment.  Riley has a personal interest in mental health and is grateful to be able to bring his enthusiasm for creating positive change to EDSNA.

Jody Heggie

Jody has recently retired from her 31 year career as a Physiotherapist. She is the proud mother of 2 amazing daughters. She is a passionate advocate of knowledge as a source of hope for families facing eating disorders. In her experience, this knowledge provided strength, direction and understanding as her own family grappled with this complex illness.
During her free time, Jody enjoys being active in the outdoors with her husband and Goldendoodle, Charley.

Jayson Lavergne

Jayson is a human resources professional with the Department of National Defence.  From a Calgary maternity ward in 1970s until today, he has lived, learned, travelled and worked in the four corners of Alberta – from Zama to Fitzgerald in Wood Buffalo National Park; from Carway border crossing to One Four & the Big Stone Cree Nation right in the heart of our province.   A life long learner, he is currently tackling French, Indigenous studies, and expanding his coaching skills.  Jayson and his spouse are the proud parents of a emerging musical theatre star and a scrappy right winger.  Suicide has left a hole in his life so he hopes, through EDSNA, to keep Albertans with eating disorders alive through compassion and wisdom so that they can enjoy life’s milestones and feel loved even through the struggles. To contact Jayson, email: Jayson@EDSNA.ca

Dumebi Nelson

Dumebi Nelson was born and brought up in Nigeria, Africa. The issue of mental health has been a passion since she was in high school realizing the gap in mental health treatment for Nigerians. She moved to Canada on her own when she was 16 to start college earning her BA in Health Sciences and a Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health and Addictions.  Moving to Canada helped shape her perception of mental health and her passion to advocate for people with mental health in marginalized third world countries was ignited. She hopes to engage in the art of knowledge translation with cultural sensitivity and diversity at the forefront. Dumebi hopes to earn a degree in counselling and take on a prominent role in the treatment of mental health and Addictions. In her spare time she loves to read, cook and work out. 

Anna Wu, Incoming Treasurer

Anna obtained her CPA, CA in 2015 and is currently working in the Finance department at Covenant Health. Her goal has always been to work and volunteer for not-for-profits in order to make a difference in the community. Anna understands that mental health is so important and everyone deserves a support system to lean on. As such, she strongly believes in the mission and vision that EDSNA stands for. By being on the Board, she is hoping to utilize her skills to benefit EDSNA and the communities it supports.  During her spare time, Anna enjoys exploring the city by bike and knitting baby sweaters for her two young nieces.

Frequently Asked Questions

EDSNA was officially formed in April 2014. It began offering professionally-facilitated support groups in October 2014.

EDSNA is run by a volunteer Board of Directors (see above). Both the Office Administrator and Office & Web Administrator manage all day-to-day operations, plan seasonal programming, build infrastructure and systems, lead awareness activities, manage public relations, and provide insight regarding long-term strategic planning and fundraising.

EDSNA is located in Edmonton, within the Canadian Mental Health-Edmonton Region office. The address is EDSNA, #301, 10010- 105 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5J 1C4.

There are a number of ways you can get involved:

You can also donate (see ‘How can you help?’ below), or help spread the word by sharing our website with others. You also can contact our Office Administrator, Sarah Johnson (info@EDSNA.ca) and discuss how you would like to work with us.

Our facilitators are all health professionals with a background in eating disorders. They are registered psychologists, registered dieticians, psychiatric nurses, registered social workers and occupational therapists. We hire people who have the skills to guide groups effectively, answer questions knowledgeably and empower people to take ownership of their own journey to recovery. We select professionals who are aligned with our philosophy that everyone in the family is impacted by eating disorders, who are non-judgmental and can provide a safe space for everyone to participate. You can learn more about our team here.

No. We do not offer treatment or therapy. We offer support and there is no referral necessary. If you feel you are affected by an eating disorder and could use some support, our door is open. You don’t need to reveal anything about your illness as part of the registration process. Our groups are confidential and whatever you share in the group will not be revealed. We ask that all group participants read and agree to our Group Guidelines.

Great question! Here’s a page to explain this, as a lot of people are confused about the difference. Again, EDSNA offers professionally-facilitated support groups, not group therapy or treatment. We respect the work of other professionals and recognize that because eating disorders are so complex, families often need the help of many to achieve recovery.

We have found that individuals seeking support are able to learn from one another; even though their individual illness may manifest differently, the feelings are very similar. Also at this time, we do not have sufficient funding to offer separate groups.

The funding we receive through Alberta Health, Addictions and Mental Health Branch doesn’t cover all the expenses associated with providing the support groups. As well, we feel a small participant fee helps to cement commitment to attending the group. It is also a recognition of the highly skilled expertise of our facilitators. If the fee is a barrier to participation, it can be waived by emailing our Office Administrator (info@EDSNA.ca).

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

EDSNA will be proudly hosting Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, February 1-7, 2018.
For more info, please visit this page.

  • Attend one of the events planned in Red Deer, Calgary or Edmonton
  • Promote the week to your colleagues, friends, family
  • Ask your local businesses to adopt the colour purple for Feb 1-7 in their window displays or by wearing purple ribbons, hats, socks, gloves or scarves. Here is a template letter you may want to use and/or adapt. (Be sure to send us a photo if they do participate so we can share it!)
  • ​Ask you municipality to issue a proclamation of the week. Most cities and towns have information about how to request this on their website. If you are successful, be sure to let our Office Administrator (info@edsna.ca) know so they can share the information with NEDIC, who is recording all the proclamations across Canada!
  • Ask your municipality to light up a local landmark in purple and tweet the picture to @EatingDSNA with the hashtag #EDAW. (Let the Office Administrator (info@edsna.ca) know so she can inform the national database with NEDIC.)
  • Share an information page, pamphlet, link, video, book title or any of the other resources found on our Resources page
  • ​Let your educators know that we have a resource page just for them about eating disorders in the classroom
  • Let your fitness instructor or coach know we have a resource page just for them about eating disorders in athletes
  • Let your healthcare professional know we have a resource page just for them too!
  • Host a social media event, like the #InnerSelfie campaign or do your own version of #Smash_ED in your backyard!
  • Talk about eating disorders and share your story.
  • Follow the EDAW activities across Canada and show your support on social media, using the hashtags #EDAW
  • Donate to EDSNA so we can continue to host free events, offer presentations and provide support to those who need it. We are a registered charity, so you will receive a tax receipt.

Ways you can help EDSNA

EDSNA has developed several different presentations on eating disorders, for different audiences.  They range in length from 35 minutes to 70 minutes. EDSNA asks for a small honorarium to help offset the costs of these presentations. As with everything we do, it can be waived if necessary.
​Please note: At this time, we only present to adult audiences as research indicates that speaking directly to youth about eating disorders may increase the incidence. Our main presenter is our Executive Director, Sue Huff, who has an extensive background in public speaking, has written a book on eating disorders and is a very skilled presenter. Sue also trains volunteers to present for EDSNA.

EDSNA has given presentations on eating disorders to Stollery Children’s Hospital Pediatric Emergency doctors, Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds, Alberta Human Services Children’s Mental Health Learning Series, Psychotherapists Association of AB/NWT, West End PCN Dietitians, University of Alberta Dental Hygiene, Norquest LPNs, Alberta School Board Association School Health Task Force, Greater Edmonton Teacher’s Convention, Zone 2/3 School Board Trustees, Ambrose University Social Justice Students, University of Alberta Lunch & Learn, Grant MacEwan Social Work program, Red Deer College Nursing program, Parent Associations, Perfect Storm Cheerleading coaches, high school teachers and others.

It’s official! EDSNA is a Canadian registered charity. Our charitable number is 81107 8369 RR0001. Click the “Donate Now” button and make a donation with your credit card. You can donate monthly, one time, or in honour of someone else. You will be automatically emailed a tax receipt. You can also donate securities. (Because the capital gains tax does not apply,  your security or mutual fund donation means a larger donation for the charities you support. It also means a larger charitable tax receipt for you.) You may also contact our Office Administrator, Sarah Johnson (info@EDSNA.ca) to set up a time to discuss your donation.

     

We value your time and your talents! Please tell us a bit more about yourself so we can find the right job for you. If you have any questions, please contact our volunteer coordinators, Amanda and Lauren. Their email address is: volunteer@EDSNA.ca.

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