Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund Joins Citizens to Lobby Congress on Eating Disorders

On April 10, 2008, nearly 100 citizens will convene on Capitol Hill, delivering to Congress a message of urgency for legislation dedicated to Eating Disorders. One of those citizens will be “Miss America 2008”.

Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund, who chose "Eating Disorders Awareness" as her personal platform, began suffering with Anorexia and body image issues at around age 13. Haglund says, "I chose this issue not only because it is very close to my heart, but also because I realize the seriousness of the illness, and the desperate need for national attention." The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action (EDC) organized this Lobby Day around the introduction of the first piece of comprehensive Eating Disorders legislation in U.S. history. The Federal Response to Eliminating Eating Disorders (FREED) Act will create Centers of Excellence dedicated to research collaboration, provide for evidence-based standards of care, and establish education and prevention programs for medical professionals and schools at all levels.

Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Michael Ferguson (R-NJ), are sponsors of The FREED Act. Kennedy is often heard speaking out in favor of The Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act, another piece of Legislation important to the EDC.

Before heading to appointments with members of Congress and their staffers, EDC Lobby Day participants will receive training in the legislative process and effective lobbying by Dr. Jeanine Cogan, Policy Director of the EDC. On the afternoon of April 10th, Haglund and other Lobby Day participants will attend a Congressional Briefing to introduce The FREED Act, as well as a welcome reception to honor Haglund on April 9th.

Eating Disorders (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) affect upwards of 35 million Americans, and often lead to lifelong disability and/or death. Those who suffer with anorexia have a mortality rate 12 times greater than their peers. But Eating Disorders need not be hopeless, chronic, or deadly diseases; early diagnosis and treatment bring greater chances for survival and complete recovery. Without The FREED Act, countless will continue to suffer without insurance coverage, proper treatment, and hope for recovery. Miss America 2008 was fortunate to receive treatment and she remains aware of her recovery process, "It's obviously something I am always aware of (my recovery journey), so that I present a healthy image, but more importantly, so that I stay healthy and happy. I am proud to have discovered who I truly am."

Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action
Kathleen MacDonald
Cell: 202.203.0999 Home: 571.292.2648

Gail and Congressman Ferguson with Dana

June 8, 2005
CONTACT: Marc Lerro at 202.543.9570 (o)/ 202.669.6086 (c)
Gail Schoenbach -908-334-2978

Eating Disorder Coalition for Research, Policy, & Action
Honors Gail Schoenbach with an Award for Action

On June 29, 2005, the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC) will hold a ceremony in Washington, DC to honor leading researchers, activists, publishers and elected officials as part of Eating Disorder Advocacy Week. Honorary chairs for the ceremony include Representative Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

Gail Schoenbach, Executive Director of the F.R.E.E.D. Foundation in Warren, NJ, will be receiving an Award for Action to be presented by Dr. Jeanine Cogan. An activist and well-known public speaker, Gail has worked with the EDC since she attended their 2nd Lobbying Day in 2002.

Gail draws from her personal struggle with an eating disorder to raise awareness and encourage open dialogue on the issues surrounding people with eating disorders. ³At the onset of my recovery, I felt the urgency to share my success by helping others try to achieve wellness and overcome the hopelessness of battling with an eating disorder.² In an effort to reach an even wider audience, Gail gave her time to speak about her experience on the Extreme Measures Tour earlier this year. ³Speaking openly & publicly to increase awareness and education about eating disorders to the public, our educators & our children has now become the focus of my journey.²

As the Executive Director of F.R.E.E.D., Gail works to alert the public to the difficulties those with eating disorders face when try to get help, such as lack of healthcare coverage and misconceptions about what these disorders are all about. ³The F.R.E.E.D. Foundation was established so I could provide an opportunity and a chance to as many individuals as possible to receive treatment for the chance at recovery- and hopefully to expand awareness and knowledge so prevention becomes more prevalent than the necessity for care.²

Tickets for the 2005 Awards Dinner and other Advocacy Week activities are available online at, or by calling (202) 543-9570.

The EDC represents 27 organizations active in research, treatment, prevention, and advocacy. The mission of the organization is to advance federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority. The group provides policy-related information to elected officials, federal employees, and the media.

Event Snapshots

Voices Not Bodies Candlelight Vigil
April 2004

Eating Disorders Coalition Awards Dinner
April 2004

Eating Disorders Coalition Congressional Briefing
April 2004

Eating Disorders Coaltion Resolution
March 2004

National Eating Disorders Association Conference
October 2003

National Eating Disorders Association, Long Island Fundraiser
September 2003

Eating Disorders Coalition Congressional Briefing
July 2003

Renfrew Center Reunion
June 2003

Eating Disorders Association Lobby Day
February 2003

Renfrew Center Foundation Conference
November 2002

Eating Disorders Association Lobby Day
February 2002