Cristin Runfola, Ph.D., and Debra Safer, M.D., Stanford University

Virtual Reality Intervention Adaptation to a Real-World Clinic Setting.

This study aims to adapt and enhance existing virtual reality protocols for a U.S. population within an adult outpatient clinical setting, leveraging the increased efficacy of VR to improve outcomes and efficiency of care. Year one of the study will focus on operational adaptations of the existing European protocols, including software development, the creation of a treatment manual, and a clinician training protocol for binge-related EDs (BED/BN/OSFED). Year two of the study will test feasibility and acceptability of the protocol for both clinicians and patients.

Lisa Ranzenhofer, Ph.D., Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene

Evaluation of Communities of HEALing Mentorship and Social Support Programs for Individuals with Eating Disorders: Assessment of Feasibility and Efficacy

The objective of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of peer mentorship as an adjunct intervention in patients with eating disorders.

D. Catherine Walker, Ph.D., Union College

In the Mirror: Functional Appreciated Bodies (IM FAB).

Walker’s project aims to examine the concept of promoting attention toward body functionality and gratitude by using a weekly functionality-based mirror exposure and body functionality gratitude “journaling” text prompts throughout the week, for three weeks, to examine whether this helps foster positive body image and decreases eating disorder symptoms in a sample of undergraduate females, a population at particularly high risk of body image dissatisfaction and consequent eating disorder development.

2017 Eating Recovery Foundation Early Career Investigator Recipient

Kelsie Forbush, Ph.D., University of Kansas

Development and Validation of an Adaptive Mobile Phone App to Identify Clients at Risk for Treatment Failure.

The objective in this application is to develop and validate a brief, user-friendly measure to identify ED treatment failures. To accomplish this, a computerized adaptive delivered within the app will be employed to signal clinicians when their clients are at risk for treatment failure. 


James Lock, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine

Treating Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorders (AFRID) Using Family-Based Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial.

This project will test the feasibility and acceptability of a novel intervention, Family-Based Treatment of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (FBT-ARFID) for patients ages 5-12 years old. Although ARFID was formally introduced in DSM-5, no specialized intervention has yet been empirically studied. This disorder afflicts a non-traditional eating disorders patient population, including younger patients, more males, and patients with greater co-occurring anxiety. As such, patients with ARFID need an intervention that relies on a strong, evidence-based foundation, which can be adapted to the qualities of this new patient group.

Allegra Broft, MD, Columbia Center for Eating Disorders

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a New Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. 

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a disorder for which much remains to be learned about neurobiology of the illness. Novel treatment strategies, including biologically-based treatments, are sorely needed. The proposed study will examine whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can alter eating-related behavior in AN, as demonstrated by its ability to move the needle on a neurocognitive task that has previously been shown to be of direct relevance to the maladaptive restrictive eating behavior of AN. 

2016 Eating Recovery Foundation Early Career Investigator Recipient

Jocelyn LeBow, PhD, University of Minnesota

Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy for Adolescent Eating Disorders. 

Recently, Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy (ICAT), a novel intervention for bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) that targets emotion regulation deficits, has shown promise in reducing eating disorder symptoms as well as improving emotion regulation capacities in adults. However, this treatment has not yet been investigated in an adolescent sample. The aim of this study is to adapt the existing adult ICAT treatment for adolescents with clinically significant binge eating (ICAT-A) and to evaluate the extent to which ICAT-A is helpful in reducing binge eating and associated eating disorder symptoms in a younger sample.


Adrienne Juarascio, PhD, Drexel University

Outside the Therapy Office: Enhancing Integrative-Cognitive Affective Therapy With Ecological Momentary Interventions to Improve Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa.

This project aims to develop a smartphone application that will deliver “in-the-moment” interventions based on principles of integrative-cognitive affective therapy to patients with bulimia nervosa. This approach could enhance the efficacy of this therapy method by providing access to skills during moments of negative affect and urges to use eating disordered symptoms that occur in between therapy sessions. The team  will develop this system and assess the feasibility and acceptability of this novel approach to treatment. It would also provide valuable pilot data to support a future randomized clinical trial.

S. Bryn Austin, ScD, Boston Children’s Hospital 

The Economic Case for Eating Disorders Prevention and Early Detection: A Comparative Cost‐Effectiveness Analysis of Six Intervention Strategies. 

The goal of this study is to conduct a comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of six intervention strategies to advance primary prevention and early detection of eating disorders. The overall aim is to estimate the potential reductions in morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs due to prevention and early detection of eating disorders. The research team will evaluate a school health promotion program, school- and clinic-based screenings for early detection and several policy interventions to restrict youth access to diet pills on the consumer market. The team will also develop a microsimulation model to project the impact that primary prevention and early detection will have on the long-term health of adolescents and young adults.


Christina Wierenga, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

An Innovative Family Based Treatment for Adults with Anorexia Nervosa Using Insights from Neurobiology. 

This innovative study aims to develop a treatment for severe anorexia nervosa that targets the core neurobiologically based mechanisms that maintain the disorder to improve eating behavior, reduce symptoms and improve family function for patients and their families. This pilot study will measure the effectiveness of a novel experiential family-based treatment for adults with anorexia nervosa, integrating neurobiological insights on temperament, cognition and eating.

Joanna Steinglass, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center

Changing Habits in AN: A Novel Approach. 

Researchers will develop the Regulating Emotions and Changing Habits (REACH) program. This is a novel treatment that will directly target maladaptive behaviors in anorexia nervosa. Researchers will conduct a small randomized controlled trial that will assess the utility of the intervention amont outpatients, collect data for a larger scale trial, and assess the impact of the intervention on the proposed mechanism of habit.


Daniel LeGrange, PhD, The University of Chicago

Family Based-Treatment Without Borders: Utilizing Telemedicine to Deliver Family-Based Therapy (FBT).

This innovative study aims to address families’ need in remote, rural or underrepresented parts the United States by delivering Family-Based Therapy (FBT) via telemedicine (FBT-TM). FBT has been shown to be effective for adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa. However, accessing FBT has proven challenging for the many families who do not reside near an FBT therapist. This study will determine whether FBT can be conducted via telemedicine right in a patient’s home.

Denise Wilfley, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis 

Harnessing Technology for Training Therapists to Deliver Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).

Researchers will aim to develop an online training platform for IPT and conduct a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and accessibility of this approach. This study will examine whether the power of the internet can be utilized to train therapists to deliver a proven interpersonal psychotherapy for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder.