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 & Operations
Maureen is a senior psychology (honours) student at MacEwan University. Throughout her undergraduate degree she has focused on health, education, and eating disorders. She has presented at numerous conferences, one of which was on research on restrictive eating and motivational factors. Maureen became involved with EDSNA in 2018, and was the Volunteer Coordinator until gratefully accepting the position of Director. Having had lived experience with eating disorders, Maureen strives to raise awareness and contribute to the field to ensure no one has to face an eating disorder alone. To contact Maureen, email: email@example.com
Director, Public Awareness and Client Services
Lauren is grateful for the opportunity to really become involved with the organization since she began volunteering Fall 2017, becoming a Volunteer Coordinator in January 2018. 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 LGBTQ2SIA+ community, is something she is especially passionate about.
Lauren also loves cooking, gardening, working out & yoga, and exploring the world. To contact Lauren, email: Lauren@EDSNA.ca
Amanda started with EDSNA in December 2018 by attending group support sessions. She began volunteering in February of 2019 during Eating Disorders Awareness Week and fell in love with both EDSNA and the work they do. After having experienced an eating disorder, Amanda hopes that her work with EDSNA will help to mitigate both the stigma and assumptions that surround eating disorders.
Currently, Amanda is taking her Bachelor of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta. Throughout her life, Amanda has felt a strong connection to education and believes that lifelong learning is necessary for personal growth. She also received her bilingual certificate in June of 2018 and speaks both French and English fluently. Amanda also loves her cat and adventuring around Edmonton.
To contact Amanda, email: Amanda@EDSNA.ca
David Wedge, 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.
Jayson Lavergne, Vice-President
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.
Anna Wu, Treasurer
Aisha Penddah (incoming board member)
Bente Hallin is the Chief Executive Officer at Accurate Network Services Inc., a technology services and support company with offices in Edmonton and Calgary. Before joining Accurate in 2017, she worked as a business consultant helping organizations develop and implement their strategic plans. She received an MBA from the University of Alberta in 2014, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English literature in 2007. Bente knows first hand how important it is to support loved ones who are facing an eating disorder, and she is eager to raise the awareness of the resources and support networks available to Albertans. In her spare time, Bente enjoys home renovation projects supported by Youtube DIY videos, and hanging out with her Boston terrier, Lady McDuff.