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Editor's e-Note
Minority populations are often underrecognized, underresearched and undertreated in health care. This disparity is especially true in health care for LGBTQ individuals, specifically in the identification and treatment of eating disorders. June is Pride Month and this month’s E-News Exclusive, written by a social worker/therapist from the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, explores these inequities and what social workers can do to help build connections to family, communities, and more informed, better quality health care for LGBTQ people.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Understanding Eating Disorders in LGBTQ People
By Lauren Anderson, LMSW

Across the country and the world during the month of June, people come together to celebrate Pride Month and support LGBTQ people. This is a time to honor the work that has been done to achieve equal justice and opportunities for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning. While the battle for equal rights is often drawn out in a public and political arena, the more silent threats faced by LGBTQ individuals must not be overlooked. A prime example that is frequently missed is the significant risk for eating disorders within this community.

Eating disorders are serious conditions that can lead to physical problems in the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, and endocrine systems. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) (2018C), people with anorexia nervosa are six times more likely to die compared with the general population. These deaths are often attributed to starvation, substance misuse, and suicide.

Additionally, people with eating disorders often have co-occurring mental health diagnoses, most commonly mood and anxiety disorders. According to NEDA (2018A), a major depressive disorder is diagnosed in 32% to 39% of people with anorexia nervosa, 36% to 50% of people with bulimia nervosa, and 33% of people with binge eating disorder, and an anxiety disorder is diagnosed in 48% to 51% of people with anorexia nervosa, 54% to 81% of people with bulimia nervosa, and 55% to 65% of people with binge eating disorder.

One common myth about eating disorders is that they mainly affect white teenage girls. The reality is that anyone can experience this illness. Unfortunately, because of this misconception, and a lack of research into eating disorders in minority populations, there is less awareness of the considerable impact on the LGBTQ population than in others. As a result, LGBTQ people often experience the illness in silence given the general public’s lack of education around the signs of eating disorders.

Full story »
Tech & Tools
New Technology Could Help Veterans With Disabilities Live More Independently

In 2017 it was estimated that there were nearly 4.2 million veterans with service-connected disabilities, many of whom required housing assistance in one form or another to be able to live independently. Among these are about 42,000 veterans with severe spinal cord injuries and disorders. Researchers at Texas A&M University are working on new technology that could help these veterans achieve even more independence.

The VA oversees a program offered to veterans and service members with certain service-connected disabilities called specially adapted housing, which provides funds to modify or construct an adapted home to meet their needs. Typical adaptations include ramps, wider halls and doors, or wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

But there are many other emerging technologies that could improve home adaptions or enhance a veteran or service member’s ability to live independently, such as voice-recognition and voice-command operations, living environment controls, and adaptive feeding equipment. The VA has defined this as new assistive technology (AT), an advancement that could aid or enhance the ability of a veteran or service member to live in an adapted home.

Read more »
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