The Disordered Eating Center of Charleston, or DECC, was created to provide adults, children and families comprehensive treatment for a wide range of eating disorders, from anorexia nervosa to binge eating disorder and more.
“Dr. Stephen Sondike, adolescent medicine specialist, has been treating children with eating problems since he first started at CAMC,” said Jessica Luzier, PhD, clinical director of the Disordered Eating Center of Charleston, assistant professor – WVU department of behavioral medicine and psychiatry, WVUSOM-Charleston Division. “When I joined Dr. Sondike for a rotation during my pre-doctoral internship, we began to discuss the necessity of a team format to treat those who were affected by clinical eating disorders. Once I joined the faculty in the summer of 2010, we formalized the Disordered Eating Center of Charleston.”
DECC’s mission is multidimensional. It is dedicated to providing the highest quality, evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, training future providers to treat these problems conducting relevant research to inform the practice and advocating for its patients through multiple community efforts.
“To our knowledge, DECC is the only interprofessional treatment team open to kids and adults of all ages,” Luzier said. “Though there are treatment teams at some local universities in the student health centers, our team is the only one that families and patients from across the state may access. We have patients travel to Charleston for their treatment from as far as Morgantown, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.”
At the DECC, patients can visit their physician, dietician, psychologist or social worker all in the same place. If families are not able to come to the clinic on the dedicated days, they may also access their providers at Women and Children’s and Memorial hospitals throughout the week.
“Both the WVUSOM Dean’s Fund and CAMC Foundation have contributed to the ongoing maintenance of services and outreach DECC provides in grants awarded this year. The CAMC Institute also awarded DECC a grant last year for research materials that allow us to more effectively track progress over time, including computer tests.”
The center has treated more than 50 patients since its inception, and expects to reach the 100 patient mark during the next year.
Luzier and her colleagues continue to enhance the services offered to patients at the DECC. In 2013, she created the West Virginia Eating Disorder Network, which is an online network of more than 125 providers of all different disciplines with an interest in treating patients with eating disorders.
“The network was designed to provide consultation on challenging cases, disseminate relevant treatment research information, offer training for delivering evidence-based treatment to providers across the state, and advocate for patients and their families.” Luzier said. ”Also, DECC now has an official parent and family advocate in our weekly clinic. This parent serves as a volunteer on the DECC team, meeting with families and providing them with support and resources as they navigate through treatment. Research suggests this improves treatment outcomes, and we are very excited about this new addition.”