About Amy's Gift
In April 2007, the Amy Helpenstell Foundation sponsored a community survey on eating disorders in conjunction with the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health. This one-of-a-kind survey included interviews with 800 residents throughout the Quad-City area and covered residents' knowledge of eating disorders, perceptions of eating disorders and suggestions for recommended treatment of eating disorders. View those results.
The survey showed our community was surprisingly accurate in their knowledge of eating disorders as they are clinically defined. However, whereas the perception of eating disorders was as a predominantly mental rather than physical disorder, over half of the respondents identified their preferred treatment site as a family doctor's office or hospital.
One of the central initiatives of Amy's Gift (formerly known as the QC Eating Disorders Consortium) then became to gauge and raise awareness at the primary reference source for treatment: the family practitioner.
Since then we have conducted several focus groups with local physicians to gauge their comfort with diagnosis, treatment and referral for patients with eating disorders as well as school officials to discover where training and education were most needed. These focus groups culminated in an effort to provide annual, local continuing education events on eating disorders for practitioners, school officials and the general public as well as a detailed website with articles, local resources and links to national organizations for professionals and patients alike.