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In Memory of Lynn Grefe

This month, the eating disorder community lost one of its most steadfast advocates, Lynn Grefe. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Lynn championed tirelessly for eating disorder prevention, cures and expanded access to quality care. Drs. Craig Johnson and Ovidio Bermudez pay tribute to their long-time colleague and friend.

Craig Johnson, PhD, FAED, CEDS Chief Science OfficerOvidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, CEDS, F.iaedpThis month, the eating disorder community lost one of its most steadfast advocates, Lynn Grefe. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Lynn championed tirelessly for eating disorder prevention, cures and expanded access to quality care.

Throughout her 12-year tenure with NEDA, several members of Eating Recovery Center’s leadership team worked closely with Lynn on policy and initiatives to support individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Below, Drs. Craig Johnson and Ovidio Bermudez pay tribute to their long-time colleague and friend.

“Over the last 12 years, I had the opportunity to watch and participate in the development of NEDA shoulder-to-shoulder with Lynn. As Chairman of the Board of NEDA in 2003, I had the privilege of being on the search committee to hire Lynn. Among the candidates interviewed for the position, the aspect of Lynn that made me feel so confident in her character and capabilities was her success as a lobbyist for a woman’s right to choose among a largely pro-life legislative cohort. Additionally, because her family was personally affected by eating disorders, Lynn possessed a keen professional interest as well as a profound personal interest in increasing awareness and family access to reliable, thorough information. At the time she became Executive Director of NEDA, the organization was merging four large national advocacy organizations that had existed since the mid-1970s into a single organization with a focused mission and vision. Lynn faced a huge task as NEDA’s leader, and she did a magnificent job. She was focused on developing a premier national clearinghouse of information on eating disorders. She was committed to increasing federal funding for research into the etiology and treatment of eating disorders, and funding increased substantially during her tenure. As an experienced lobbyist, Lynn was instrumental in the inclusion of eating disorders in the Parity Act as well as the development of the FREED legislation to eliminate eating disorders. Lynn was also instrumental in leading the relocation of the NEDA headquarters from Seattle to New York City in an effort to provide richer opportunities for fundraising—as a result, NEDA’s operating budget increased dramatically during her tenure. Most importantly, Lynn was a tireless advocate for the eating disorder field, and I will miss her greatly.”
-Craig Johnson, PhD:

“The loss of Lynn is very difficult for me personally, and this loss is also felt profoundly across the larger eating disorder community. It is hard to lose somebody unexpectedly that had accomplished so much yet had so much left to achieve. I met Lynn as she was interviewed for and selected as Executive Director of NEDA in 2003. She was very impressive from the start—she brought to the table an open mind, a strong sense of conviction, an undeniable passion, as well as creativity and flexibility. Lynn embodied something very exceptional that many people aspire to, which is the ability to be firm and stand her ground on her certain issues and be open, flexible and inclusive on many other topics. I had the opportunity to get to know her as a person, executive, mother and advocate, particularly during the year that I served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEDA. We developed a relationship based on mutual respect and an understanding of how complementary our skills sets could be to manage certain challenges facing an emerging advocacy organization. Lynn leaves behind a tremendously strong legacy of eating disorder advocacy, standing for families and offering them hope. Case in point—Lynn was one of the first people to engage in a discussion of a cure for eating disorders—her vision was not one of improving the status quo, but rather a vision in which we can win against these pernicious illnesses. Throughout her tenure as the leader of NEDA, Lynn started down a true advocacy path that, as a field, we must continue, including destigmatizing the illness, educating the public, enacting policy change and ensuring better treatments. Along with so many other admirers in the field, I will remember Lynn often and fondly.”
-Ovidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, CEDS, F.iaedp

Eating Recovery Center shares Lynn Grefe’s steadfast commitment to raising awareness of eating disorders, supporting patients, families and professionals, and improving access to excellent treatment. Join us in preserving Lynn’s legacy by visiting www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, or learning about Eating Recovery Center’s advocacy initiatives, including:

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