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.
EDSNA 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, 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.
EDSNA is located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich Amisk (Alberta), and our home city, Amiskwaciy-wâskahikan or Beaver Hill House (Edmonton).
EDSNA serves all of Alberta, but is primarily located in Edmonton.
No one in Alberta faces an eating disorder alone.
To support and educate Albertans impacted by eating disorders.
Who do we serve?
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.
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 are grateful for generous financial support from:
- Alberta Health, Addictions and Mental Health Branch
- Government of Alberta Community Initiatives Program
- Edmonton Community Foundation
Funding, donations, and proceeds allow us to continue to offer support and information to the eating disorder community.
Who are our Facilitators?
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.
Meet the Board
Amanda is a lawyer with the Alberta Energy Regulator. She is also a yoga and meditation instructor and avid volunteer. Amanda loves to help out wherever and however she can and was a volunteer with EDNSA before joining the Board. Having lived experience, she is very conscious of the impacts eating disorders have on those who face them as well as their loved ones. Amanda strongly believes and supports EDSNA’s vision that no one should face an eating disorder alone and is passionate about tackling the stigma associated with eating disorders. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing, travelling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Courtney Rippin Kaufman
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.
Founder & Director at Large
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 at Large
Director at Large
Joe is a CPA and currently works as a Finance Manager for Cantiro. His professional experience includes education and public accounting with specialization in fast-growing private companies and not-for-profit organizations. Joe understands the serious mental, physical, and social consequences caused by eating disorders, and strongly believes that no one should suffer with it alone. In a quest to challenge our society’s stigma and raise awareness on eating disorders, Joe aims to contribute by providing his financial expertise and insight to the organization. In his spare time, Joe enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, and playing chess.
Meet the Staff
Lauren is grateful for the opportunity to become more 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 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, including late onset disorders, diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, and those affecting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, is something she is especially passionate about.
Lauren loves cooking, gardening, and exploring the world.
Public Awareness Coordinator
Angie started with EDSNA in the summer of 2021. Having her own lived experience with eating disorders, she was excited about the mission and priorities set out by EDSNA. Previously, Angie has worked as both a news reporter and a news anchor in various cities across Alberta and Saskatchewan. In her free time, Angie is a big fan of Edmonton sports teams, including the Elks and the Oilers. She also loves playing soccer. Angie has a big family, lovingly known as the Mellen Patch. She loves spending time with her family, including her nieces and nephews. Angie also really enjoys baking and cooking.
Outreach Committee Lead
Hannah started volunteering with EDSNA in 2015 at the Edmonton Woman’s Show. Since then she has volunteered at many other shows, events, and Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Having lived experience with an eating disorder herself, Hannah hopes to educate and reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders and mental health. Hannah is committed in both her career and personal life to live by EDSNA’s vision that no one should have to face an eating disorder alone. In her free time, Hannah loves writing poetry, spending time outdoors, and showing off photos of her dog Bella.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old is EDSNA?
EDSNA was officially formed in April 2014. It began offering professionally-facilitated support groups in October 2014.
Who runs EDSNA?
EDSNA is run by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Executive Director, Public Awareness Coordinator, Administrative Assistant, and several volunteers 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.
Where is EDSNA’s office located?
EDSNA is located in Edmonton, within the Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit. The address is EDSNA, 12122 68 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5B 1R1.
How can I become more involved with EDSNA?
Who are your facilitators and what are their credentials?
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 facilitators here.
Do you offer treatment? Is a doctor’s referral necessary?
No. We do not offer treatment or therapy; we offer support. No referral is required. 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.
What is the difference between support groups, group therapy, and treatment?
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.
Why don’t you offer more separate support groups for people with different types of eating disorders?
Historically, we have found that individuals seeking support are able to learn from one another; even though their individual illnesses may manifest differently, the feelings are very similar. That said, EDSNA would like to keep programming relevant to the needs of group participants; we have begun to offer some specific-symptom, and specific-demographic, support groups. If you have feedback about the type of group you would find most helpful, please feel free to send us an emailto firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do you charge a participant fee if you receive funding to offer groups?
The generous funding we receive through Alberta Health, Addictions and Mental Health Branch, as well as Edmonton Community Foundation, 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 info@EDSNA.ca.
Hmmm, I don’t think that answers my question
Sorry about that! Your question may not have been covered here but we do want to answer it. Feel free to email info@EDSNA.ca and we will get back to you.