Dr. Ovidio Bermudez: 2016 Project HEAL Clinician of the Year

Eating Recovery Center is proud to present the 2016 Project HEAL Clinician of the Year Award to Ovidio Bermudez. Read how he impacted the lives of former patients, families of patients, and colleagues.

 Eating Recovery Center is proud to share that the 2016 Project HEAL Clinician of the Year Award goes to Ovidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, F.iaedp, CEDS, Eating Recovery Center’s Chief Clinical Officer and Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Services. Dr. Bermudez will receive the award on June 3rd at Project HEAL’s 8th anniversary gala in New York.

When we learned that Dr. Bermudez would be honored with this award, Eating Recovery Center reached out to former patients, families of patients, and colleagues to ask them how Dr. B. had impacted their lives. We received more than 100 responses from around the world and wanted to share the highlights of these testimonials and messages of gratitude. These words of praise and thanks speak for themselves. Congratulations, Ovidio, on this much-deserved award. Thank you, Dr. Bermudez for your compassion, your dedication and your unwavering commitment to provide the very best care to patients, families and providers of care in the treatment of and recovery from eating disorders and related conditions. On behalf of patients, families and professionals around the world, Eating Recovery Center is forever grateful for you.


A Note from Jenni Schaefer, Eating Recovery Center’s National Recovery Advocate for the Family Institute

More than fifteen years ago, I timidly walked into a doctor’s office in Nashville, Tennessee, to get help for my eating disorder. I had found my way into similar offices before, but, unfortunately, clinicians had missed my illness— and dismissed me. “You’re fine,” and “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder,” I was told. But this office—this doctor—was different. I will never forget that first appointment with Dr. Ovidio Bermudez. I don’t remember exactly what was said that day, but I do know how I felt. Hope was palpable. I finally believed that I could get better. Gratefully, Dr. B.—that’s what patients affectionately call him—shared this encouraging message with my family, too. He took the time out of his busy caseload to call my parents, who lived miles away in my home state of Texas. I don’t know what was said during that phone conversation, but, again, I know the result: hope. With recovery, life can come full circle in the most amazing and surprising ways. Today, I am no longer Dr. B.’s patient, but I am deeply honored to work alongside him at Eating Recovery Center as a National Recovery Advocate for the Family Institute. Thanks to Dr. B., I now provide support to families—in the same way that he did for mine years ago. Dr. Bermudez, I have yet to be under the care of another doctor as wise, empathetic and passionate as you. You provided me (and my family) with hope when all was lost. You are a gift to this world and a blessing in my life. Thank you. - Jenni Schaefer

“Dr. Bermudez changed my life. He didn’t just treat the illness, he treated the entire person. He believed in me when I was unable to believe in myself.” - Former patient, Denver, CO

“Dr. Bermudez has been a role model in his awareness of the intersection between eating disorders and diabetes. His compassion and intellect are admirable and inspirational!” - Eating disorder treatment professional, Littleton, CO


“Dr. Ovidio Bermudez's very demeanor emanates hope and a positive, 'can-do' attitude which is so necessary when healing from an eating disorder. I'm not surprised he is winning the Project HEAL Clinician of the Year award – his engaging manner, warm, friendly approach and genuine interest in people like me, even from afar, is totally impressive. He impacts my work as an eating disorder advocate and writer by providing a feeling of hope and knowing 'someone is there', no matter what.” - Andrea Rojas, Melbourne, Australia

“Dr. Bermudez is an amazing physician. His dedication to both treating and raising awareness about eating disorders has been so inspirational to me. Early on in my career as a physician treating eating disorders, Dr. Bermudez made himself available for guidance and mentorship, which was invaluable. He is not only an incredibly knowledgeable, hard-working physician, but is simply a wonderful person all around. I am so glad that his passion and hard work are being honored.” - Nichole Tomjanovich, MD, Houston, Texas

“He made me realize recovery was possible. He never gave up on me no matter how stubborn I was. He helped me get back on the right track.” - Former patient, Midlothian, VA

“Upon first meeting Dr. B. at ERC in Denver, I was captivated by his intense warmth and knowledge about my anorexia. He helped to reframe recovery for me, helping me shift from a mindset of weight gain to healing my brain from the devastating effects of my chronic anorexia. He is so very warm and personal in his approach and connects with patients, me included, on a heart level that helps us find hope that we are each worth recovery.” - Former patient, Seattle, WA

“I had been battling anorexia for five years and I had reached my lowest weight ever. If I didn't seek treatment soon, I was going to die. So after literally holding me down in the car, my parents did all they knew to do, they drove me to Eating Recovery Center. I refused to admit myself. The team at ERC took turns for five hours trying to console me, talk with me, and convince me to sign into treatment, but I still refused. As last resort, they called in Dr. B. I remember it like it was yesterday. Dr. Bermudez walked outside the ERC building and sat across from me on one of the wooden benches. From the moment he looked at me with that light in his eyes, big smile, and said "Hello" in that soft and tender voice, I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. It was a peace that I hadn't experienced in a very long time. A peace that I forgot one could even have. It was from that very moment and the few short minutes that followed in talking with Dr. B., that I knew everything was going to be okay. Even though I couldn't comprehend how, I just knew it would all be okay. To this day, I believe that God brought Dr. Bermudez in my life in order to save it. I am speaking on behalf of my family, friends, and myself, when I say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for doing what you do. My life has and will be forever changed!” - Former patient, Sioux Falls, SD

“Dr. Bermudez continues to encourage me as a practitioner in the treatment of eating disorders by being a voice of knowledge, truth, hope and compassion.” - Daniel McCrimons, MD, Sacramento, CA

“Ovidio has inspired me to be more compassionate and authentic with my clients.” - Eating disorder treatment professional, Roslindale, MA

“Ovidio co-founded the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (EDCT). We met when he traveled to Knoxville to meet with providers; we were all struck by his passion for advocacy and compassion for those struggling. As a registered dietitian, I have been on treatment teams with Ovidio witnessing his extraordinary care for clients. Families have confirmed that his care went beyond their expectations. Ovidio has educated thousands of providers through presentations and articles…In addition to his professional accomplishments, he embraces people with his heart; he is a wonderfully warm, charismatic gentleman.” - Karen Wetherall, LDN, MS, RD, Oak Ridge, TN

“He is compassionate about each individual as a person, not an eating disorder, about our families also. I have never in my years of recovery met anyone so bright, brilliant and dedicated to offering whatever he can to help – always in a very caring, concerned and sincere way. I always feel his sincerity and that keeps my heart trusting him. I know I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for Dr. Bermudez. He has given me strength, courage, purpose and power...He gives me self-love and respect through his respect and care. He never lets me stop believing in myself. With him on my side, I know I can beat this. Dr. B. has been one of the most influential people in my entire life.” - Janet G., Lincoln, NE

“He has never given up on me. I owe my life to him.” - Former patient, Dallas, TX “He has changed my life. It is officially two years since being out of ERC and after multiple treatment centers every few months. I have not been hospitalized in over two years. Thanks, Dr B. for continuing to push me and challenge my thoughts!” - Former patient, Woburn, WA

“I have learned so much from hearing him talk to patients and families. In addition, he encouraged me to try new approaches and provided respect and genuine interest in my development. Even though he is a busy man, when he is with you, he is there. He listens and takes in what is said with curiosity and compassion.” - Eating disorder treatment professional, Denver, CO

“Ever since I met him in 1995, Dr. Bermudez has made himself available to help my patients. I know when a patient of mine is in Dr. Bermudez's care, s/he is truly getting the best care available. He is kind, gentle and compassionate with patients, not judgmental or shaming as some physicians are with eating disorder patients. When I have called him about a patient in my practice who hasn't even been under his care, he is always so helpful and truly goes the extra mile. A couple of examples of why Dr. Bermudez is so exceptional: one time a patient of mine was hospitalized locally and the attending physician was not familiar with the complications an ED patient can have that are not usually seen in a general practice. I advised the physician that I could arrange a consult with an ED physician who could provide assistance if needed to treat the patient. I picked up the phone and called Dr. Bermudez. He answered immediately and I explained the situation. His response: ‘Is the doctor there right now? Do you have his cell number? What's his name? I will call him right now. Or, give him my cell so he can call me.’ Really? How many physicians would do that? Another example: I saw him at an eating disorder conference with his treatment team from the facility where he was working. He asked about my patient who had recently been in his treatment center. I gave him an update and he said ‘Why don't we call her?’ I dialed her number and when she answered, Dr. Bermudez said, ‘May I speak to ________. This is her fan club calling.’ She recognized his voice instantly and screamed, ‘OMG, Dr. B.!!!’ They had a great conversation. To this day (10 years later), she talks about that call and how much Dr. Bermudez helped her get her life back together. I have had the pleasure of working with a number of incredible ED physicians. Dr. B. is at the top of that list. Congratulations, Dr. B.! I so wish I could be there to see you get this award. I am ever grateful for your guidance, compassion and care of my patients AND the privilege of working with and learning from you. PS I'm in YOUR fan club!” - Kristin Agar, LCSW, Little Rock, AR

“Dr. Bermudez has given himself tirelessly to his patients and their families, to his colleagues and peers, and to the efforts to educate both the public and professionals across the globe about what eating disorders are and how we can prevent them and treat them effectively. He has made every life and every organization he has touched better. His energy, clarity and optimism are contagious. I am honored to work alongside him as a colleague and a friend in our battles against eating disorders. Thank you Ovidio - this is so well-deserved.” - Melissa Freizinger, PhD, Boston, MA

“As a fellow adolescent medicine specialist, Ovidio has always been a beacon of hope in providing individualized care…Ovidio has taught me to always look for what's right in a patient, not only what's wrong.” - Richard Kreipe, MD, Rochester, NY

“Dr. Bermudez saved my sister's life. After lots of work with an outpatient team and several stays at residential facilities, our family was so scared that treatment wasn't going to work for her. We did lots of research and decided to send her to Laureate (where Dr. B. was working at the time) - primarily because we knew how highly regarded he was in the eating disorder field. After our first meeting with him, we felt so much hope and knew that things would be different this time around. We are so grateful for the work that he did with my sister and the stable recovery that she has since found. Everyone in my family is quick to attribute that success to him - for believing in her, thinking outside the box in his approach to treatment, and instilling in her the notion that full recovery is possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Dr. B.!” - Loved one of a former patient, Nashville, TN

“He’s inspired me to be a more compassionate, understanding and patient eating disorder provider.” - Ashley Heintzelman, PhD, Olathe, KS

“He saved me from killing myself from an eating disorder.” - Former patient, Denver, CO

“He is the first clinical mentor I had through the EDCT. He continues to show interest and care for my work and me as a person. I’m grateful for each moment I get to learn from him.” - Eating disorder treatment professional, Pikesville, MD

“Almost 20 years ago, he came to our offices with Reba Sloan to discuss the Eating Disorder Coalition of Tennessee. He told me that if I was passionate about the work, I will always do the best work with our clients. I remember this every day.” - Pam Kelle, LDN, RD, CEDS, Chattanooga, TN

“My experience as a former patient of Dr. Bermudez is one of deep appreciation and gratitude for the time spent with him both individually and in a group setting. He is unendingly genuine, and an encourager in all senses of the word: in getting his patients back to health, in standing alongside patients in their steps toward recovery, and in cheerleading them through very difficult times. His impact on me was to remind me of what recovery was not only about from a technical aspect, but what it was for: my family and future, but, most importantly, for myself. He invested heavily in my own nascent recovery when I couldn't even begin to see the starting line.” - Former patient, Bellevue, WA

“Dr. B. listens flawlessly; his empathy is boundless, his caring genuine. There never was a moment of hesitation in his willingness to engage actively with this patient, her family and myself.” - Abigail Natensohn, LCSW, Highland Park, IL

“Dr. B. is wicked smart, immensely kind, and provides hope to families and patients of ED. Hearing Dr. B. speak at ERC's Family Days reinforced our decision. He leads by example and holds his staff to the highest expectation. We LOVE Dr. B.!” - Loved one of a former patient, Denver, CO


"Ovidio found my name and number in a rolodex when he came to Vanderbilt in the late 90’s. I had been treating eating disorders in Nashville at that time for over 10 years. He gave me a call and we arranged a time to meet. His passion for treating eating disorders was so refreshing. I felt a kindred spirit with this man instantaneously. We became fast friends and he eventually convinced me that we could work towards uniting the eating disorder treatment professionals in Nashville by forming a non-profit coalition. This dreamer convinced me to dream with him and The Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee was formed in 2002. His friendship and support for me and my career has been unwavering. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today as an eating disorder treatment specialist if it were not for Ovidio. He has also contributed much to my personal growth as well. He will gladly share many stories to confirm that if you ask him!! The “airplane” story is one of the best. I am proud to call Ovidio “friend” and am so proud of him as he receives this well-deserved award." - Reba Sloan, MPH, LRD, FAED, Nashville, TN

“His dedication as a pioneer in the treatment of eating disorders is tremendously inspiring. He gives 150 percent daily; with the most loving, caring, compassionate attitude of any doctor whom I have met. He treats everyone like he would a best friend, and gives you his utmost, undivided attention when there is a need from him.” - Bailey Holden, RD, Edmond, OK

“I find myself grateful each and every day to work with someone so skilled and so graceful. Thank you for teaching me, supporting me and being an amazing provider for ERC’s patients and families.” - Jeana Cost, MS, LPC, NCC, CEDS, Denver, CO

“I've shared many patients with him personally over the years and they all adore him...he's often the personal reason they remain in treatment and willing to continue a very difficult journey. As a teacher, he is unparalleled. His lectures--both in English and in Spanish--are engaging, evidence-based, relevant, poignant with patient stories, and delivered with a riveting energy. His contributions to the field internationally are too numerous to list, and he can walk into a room with any top eating disorder professional in the world and be immediately welcomed with a hug. I'm so grateful for the impact Ovidio has had on this profession. He's remained grounded, kind, generative, and always patient-focused.” - Jen Gaudiani, MD, CEDS, Denver, CO

“As the founder of an organization that treats college students, I have sent several clients to ERC. And though my students have always done well in this facility, I have heard from both students and their families that he has gone above and beyond in every way, ensuring that his patients receive the best treatment while in his care. Dr. Bermudez is a practitioner that will take whatever time is necessary to truly hear the concerns being expressed by his clients, while also providing great hope for recovery. Clients have shared that his faith in them has often been the turning point in their recovery journey. And ultimately, this has allowed them to find the courage to continue their fight against this insidious illness. His intense passion for this work, dedication to the field, and expertise with treating the most difficult of cases is extraordinary. And as provider, I am sincerely grateful to know that this gifted clinician is part of our eating disorder community. Dr. Bermudez, you are so deserving of this honor, and I thank you for all you've done to support my clients and every other client that has been lucky enough to be in your care.” - Dawn Hynes, MSW, Boston, MA

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