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.
Director, Programming and Outreach Services
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.
Director, Public Awareness and Client Services
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 LGBTQ2SIA+ 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. To contact Lauren, email: Lauren@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
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 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 was born and brought up in Nigeria, Africa. The topic of mental health has been a passion for her since she was in high school, as she realized the gap in mental health treatment available 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 for advocating for people with mental health considerations in marginalized developing 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.