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About NIED

Vision, Mission, and Values

NIED exists to give hope and support to individuals with an eating disorder and their caregivers. We do this by developing and sharing educational resources and information, conducting, or participating in research, and taking action to address the needs of Canadians impacted by eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental illnesses that can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. While it is well documented that mental illnesses are a leading cause of premature death in Canada, it is less known that eating disorders have the highest overall mortality rate of any mental illness, with estimates between 10-15%.

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Vision

Canadians impacted by eating disorders receive the care they need.

Mission

Be a catalyst for change by making connections, educating, and taking action to address the needs of Canadians impacted by eating disorders.

Values

Authenticity, Empathy, Optimism, Respect, Inclusivity, and Focus.

1 Birmingham, C.L., Su, J., Hlynsky, J.A., Goldner, E.M. & Gao, M. (2005). The mortality rate from anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38(2), 143-6; Girz L, Lafrance Robinson A, Tessier C. (2014). Is the next generation of physicians adequately prepared to diagnose and treat eating disorders in children and adolescents? Eating Disorders: Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 22(5), 375-85.

Our Story

The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) was established in 2012 by Wendy Preskow and her co-founders, Lynne Koss and Patti Perry.

They were driven by the severe nature of Wendy’s daughter’s illness to create an organization that was focused on raising Awareness, Understanding, Education and Action to counter the desperate situation facing individuals with eating disorders, their caregivers and their families in Canada.

NIED was officially launched on February 22, 2012, with a 30 second spot on Global Television. Within an hour Wendy received her first call from a family whose daughter died by suicide from her eating disorder. The calls and emails have not stopped since that day.

NIED was run as a not-for-profit by a passionate group of all volunteers until 2022, when we received official charitable status from the CRA.

While Patti has now retired, both Wendy and Lynne remain actively involved with NIED. Wendy looks after our Initial Point of Contact program, and Lynne manages our Education and Caregiver Services initiatives.

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Wendy Preskow

Co-Founder

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Lynne
Koss

Co-Founder

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Patti
Perry

Co-Founder

Board of Directors

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Lorne Bernstein

MBA

Chair

Lorne Bernstein is an active volunteer, having participated with a diverse range of not-for-profit organizations in a variety of roles from committee member to board chair and president. Celebrating 50 years with his life partner Barbara, together they have two children and have been blessed with two grandchildren. Lorne comes to NIED through lived family experience and understands the challenges posed by society – from the lack of public awareness and support at all levels, to the personal impact on the family and caregivers alike. Lorne has also experienced the joy that comes from commitment and hope in breaking through these same barriers.

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Michelle D'Amico

BA (Economics)

Executive Director

Michelle has been working with NIED for just over a year, following a thirty-year career in the in the federal public service, where she held various leadership roles, primarily focusing on human resources, policy, and strategy development. Michelle comes to NIED through lived experience as the parent of a loved one who was impacted by an Eating Disorder. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those suffering with this severe mental illness, and in the lives of those who care for them. Michelle is a long-time community volunteer, and currently holds a board position with Restoring Hope Ministries in Ottawa.

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Morris Robinson

B Com, CPA, CA

Treasurer

Morris is a registered life member of The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. A career businessman and previous owner of one of Canada’s largest jewellery manufacturing companies. He was elected Chairman of The Canadian Jewellery Association after heading up its Government Affairs committee which lobbied for and oversaw the elimination of the federal excise tax on jewellery. As well he has served as a board member of other associations and was a founding director and the first treasurer of The Diamond Bourse of Canada. Morris is a devoted husband, father of three sons and grandfather of nine. He is excited to be given the opportunity to use his professional skill and experience to assist NIED in meeting its worthy objectives.

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Blaise H. Wyant

BA, CIM

Director

After graduating from the University of Toronto with a BA in Economics and minor in Commerce Blaise has held several positions in the investment industry. For the last 36 years, he has grown his Wealth Advisory business with the help of some remarkable Associates. Blaise is committed to community service and has been active with organizations such as Toronto Big Brothers, Ontario Track3 Adaptive Ski Association, Minor League Hockey, and the Malamute Help League, an animal rescue association. Blaise and his wife Danuta have lived experience with Eating Disorders supporting their daughter through her journey. He looks forward to combining his volunteer experiences and business development abilities to assist NIED with its goals and objectives.

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Karen Flello

BA, B Ed, M Ed

Director

Karen is a passionate educator who has worked as a high-school teacher, a K – 12 principal, and, most recently, with the B.C. Ministry of Education. Karen’s dedication to causes connected to mental health and resilience stem from her professional experiences supporting children and youth, but even more importantly from her experience as a support and caregiver for her sister, Michelle Stewart, who lived with her Eating Disorder for more than 30 years before succumbing to organ failure in May 2014. Karen, along with Michelle’s partner, Kirk Mason, published a book of Michelle’s blog posts, Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia, the proceeds from which have supported organizations like NIED. Karen remains dedicated to efforts to end the stigma associated with Eating Disorders and to support education and recovery for those with lived experience and their caregivers.

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Francie Greenspoon

Director

Francie is involved with numerous volunteer endeavours. She has over 30 years’ experience in communications and public relations, with her last engagement as the Director of Communications for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and prior to that as a Communications Officer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Francie comes to NIED through lived experience with a family member. She is committed to inspiring change within Canada’s Eating Disorder landscape to improve outcomes for all those challenged by Eating Disorders.

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Sue Huff

BA

Director

Sue is a Family Support Specialist with the Alberta Wellness Center for Eating Disorders, a workshop presenter on Emotion Coaching, and parent mentor for families affected by Eating Disorders. She is the former Executive Director for the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta and served as the Vice President for the Eating Disorder Foundation of Canada. She has also written a book on families overcoming Eating Disorders, called The Book of Hope. Sue also has over 30 years’ experience in the creative arts as an actor, writer, and director. Sue comes to NIED through her lived experience as a family member and is committed to helping families feel less alone with this complicated illness.

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Arielle Mayer

BA (Hons), Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Director

Arielle is a passionate advocate and public policy professional. She is dedicated to raising awareness and creating a community of care and support for those suffering with eating disorders and their families. As a long-time volunteer with NIED, Arielle is eager to cultivate and support and strong and active network or volunteers and advocates across the country.

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