Drexel’s new WELL clinic helps with eating disorders, weight management | The Triangle
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Drexel’s new WELL clinic helps with eating disorders, weight management

Drexel University might be one step closer to  a lasting solution for the millions of Americans with eating disorders and struggling with weight management. The Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science Center opened a treatment clinic July 16. The establishment of the clinic is in keeping with the WELL Center’s mission is to provide evidence-based treatment for obesity, eating disorders and related conditions like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorders.

This is welcome news for patients who grapple with cycles of treatment and relapse due to outdated therapies. The WELL Center Clinic offers an approach to treatment that is personalized but backed by research.

The clinic is the brainchild of Evan Forman, Meghan Butyrn and Adrienne Juarascio, professors in the Department of Psychology.

Forman has spent a lifetime conducting research on the evaluation and dissemination of behavioral- and technology-based interventions for behavioral change. Butyrn, on the other hand, specializes on developing and evaluating behavioral interventions for obesity. Juarascio, in addition to developing treatments for eating disorders and obesity, also does research on factors that increase the risk and maintenance of eating pathologies. Both Butyrn and Juarascio are licensed clinical psychologists.

The combined expertise and experience of these three core faculty members, as well as numerous other experienced staff members at the WELL Center, has been the source of ingenious projects which examine whether acceptance-based treatment components and technological innovations can enhance treatment outcomes.

Research at the center focuses on how behavioral changes can be instituted by using ubiquitous smartphone applications and Fitbit activity trackers  in aptly named studies like Project DASH and OnTrack. Free treatment and opportunities to participate in these projects will be available to eligible patients.

The center, which opened last year, is already establishing itself as a valuable resource in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. In May it sponsored a regional convention for the National Eating Disorder Association, which connects individuals with eating disorders and those interested in learning more about eating disorders and body image issues.

Such strong backing in science will form the backbone of treatment at the new WELL Clinic. Armed with interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders, dialectical behavioral therapy and acceptance-based behavior treatment for weight loss and weight loss maintenance, the clinic promises to be an accessible resource for patients with these common problems.

Interested in making an appointment or learning more? You can contact the clinic at wellclinic@drexel.edu or call them at (215) 553-7100.