Body Image Concerns and Eating Disorders

Last reviewed: 9/26/2023

The Eating Disorders team comprises medical providers and mental health practitioners—physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and psychologists. Students initially demonstrating an eating concern will see a therapist, a nutritionist, and a medical provider for individualized assessments.

Members of the eating disorders team work closely together to provide appropriate assessment of, and treatment for, students with a range of eating, weight, and body image concerns. The team then reviews initial assessments and makes recommendations for treatment.

Consider making an appointment with the team when experiencing one or more of these concerns:

  • Significant preoccupation or dissatisfaction with your body shape or weight
  • Self-worth is unduly influenced by your body image
  • Persistent food restriction due to a fear of gaining weight
  • Persistent over-exercising
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • Recurrent inappropriate behaviors in an effort to control weight, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics and so forth

Learn about the most common eating disorders and their symptoms.

Mental Health Professionals on the Eating Disorders Team

Annette has over 15 years of experience providing individual and group therapy and psychoeducational outreach to students with a range of eating concerns and has served as the clinical team leader since 2007. She has presented at national and international conferences on the treatment of eating disorders and is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. She has conducted research on the impact of acculturation, depression, and body dissatisfaction on disordered eating and continues to be curious about social, cultural, and interpersonal factors that may contribute to the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Annette believes the journey toward recovery can be a challenging one but with the appropriate level of support from a multidisciplinary team of eating disorder professionals, students can learn healthy ways of coping with stressful situations; improve their relationships with food, self and others; develop problem-solving skills; improve body image; and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Annette is fluent in Spanish.

Weiyen joined the Eating Disorders team in 2019. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and is interested in symptoms of anxiety, perfectionism, and their role in eating concerns, particularly with newer culture shifts towards “healthy” and “clean” eating. She aims to develop a collaborative environment in order to identify adaptive strategies for individuals to improve their relationship to food and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Eduvigis Cruz-Arrieta joined the Eating Disorder team in February 2018. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience, most recently focused on behavioral health approaches to staying healthy at any size. She brings her experiences as a woman, a bilingual emigrant with a multicultural inheritance, a former dancer, and a seasoned psychotherapist to her understanding of people's relationships to their bodies.

Renee Gibbs joined Columbia Health and the CPS Eating Disorder Treatment Team in 2020 after nine years of psychology practice in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Gibbs provided treatment and led program development efforts in eating disorder treatment and training at the VA, including serving as the national lead trainer and consultant for the Eating Disorder Initiative. Additionally, she was the clinician investigator for a research clinical trial that evaluated a treatment protocol for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) at the PRIME Innovation research program at VA Connecticut. She primarily practices eating disorder treatment from a cognitive-behavioral treatment orientation and is devoted to providing interdisciplinary care with the Eating Disorders treatment team.

Doreen has worked for many years as a child and adolescent psychiatrist. One of her main areas of interest is facilitating the emotional and psychological transition to adulthood. Eating disorders sometimes arise during this period of transitions. She understands that while a person may or may not be particularly distressed by eating disorder symptoms, these symptoms often do represent stress in one or more areas of a person’s life such as social, emotional, academics, and family. She takes a multidisciplinary approach in helping people recover from eating disorders. Doreen is fluent in Mandarin.

Sara is a psychologist at CPS who joined the Eating Disorders Team in 2022.  She is passionate about helping individuals improve their relationship with food and their bodies.  Sara is also particularly interested in the roles that family dynamics and intergenerational patterns play on body image and eating behaviors.  Sara thoroughly enjoys working and collaborating with the interdisciplinary team of providers as part of the ED treatment team.

Melanie is a psychologist at CPS who joined the Eating Disorders team in 2023. She brings her knowledge and experiences from outpatient eating disorder settings to inform her practice and work with the interdisciplinary team. She is passionate about helping individuals improve their relationships with their bodies, self and others, as well as food, emphasizing health at every size. Melanie strives to collaborate with students to create a warm and supportive space in order to individualize treatment and explore ways to live a more healthy balanced life.  

Brittany is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who joined CPS in February 2023. They have experience working with professionals in the entertainment and performing arts community, which informs their work with those struggling with eating or body image concerns. Brittany has a particular interest in working with individuals who have not felt welcome in traditional eating disorder healing spaces and creating a warm non-judgmental space. Brittany provides support to the multidisciplinary eating disorder team through helping students get connected to the right care and treatment team. 

Medical Providers on the Eating Disorders Team

Colby joined the eating disorders team in 2013 and has been working with those struggling with eating disorders and eating concerns for 9 years. Prior to coming to Columbia, Colby honed her skills as a dietitian at eating disorder treatment centers. She was involved in every level of therapeutic care, including the day program, the intensive outpatient program (IOP), and individual nutrition counseling. She gained vast experience in nutrition therapy for those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive exercise, and other forms of disordered eating. Colby has also presented at national conferences on the treatment and care of eating disorders.

Roseann is a board certified family nurse practitioner. She began her career in women's health, working at several hospitals and two birthing centers, as well as Planned Parenthood. She transitioned to student health, when she worked at Fordham University Health Service for 12 years. She enjoys the diversity of student health and focuses on education and prevention as integral parts of treatment.

Doctor Richards is a board-certified family physician with special interests in reproductive health, behavioral health, health promotion, and osteopathic manipulative medicine. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rowan University), Dr. Richards completed her family medicine residency at St. Barnabas Hospital. She spent the early part of her career as staff physician in St. Barnabas Hospital’s adolescent medicine department, where she helped write and implement a New York State Department of Health Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) grant. While there, she also helped develop the Teen Health Center and Supporting Youth Development programs. Prior to her transition to college health, she served as associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency at St. Barnabas Hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Medical Services at 212-854-7426.

Schedule an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services at 212-854-2878.

The Eating Disorders team can also coach and consult with concerned friends, roommates, parents, athletic staff, deans, residence-life staff, and faculty.

Support Groups and Workshops

When there is sufficient student interest, we offer a variety of groups and workshops that may be of interest, including Making Peace with Food and Reawakening Your Healthy Self: Eating Concerns Group for Women.