Addressing and Challenging Racism in ED Treatment and Research presented by

Ashley Acle, LMFT & Norman Kim, Ph.D.

Systemic racism impacts upon people with eating disorders by playing a major role in how clients receive treatment, how treatment is administered by providers, and the applicability and generalizability of research. Among the legacies of racism in the US, there are layers of systemic barriers to accessing culturally adapted and competent care as well as ensuring adequate diversity and representation in clinical research. People of color and those with intersectional identities suffer from eating disorders at similar or higher rates than in the general population, so these disparities rooted in racism represent a significant and immediate concern.

Anti-racism is integral in creating socially just practice in the fields of psychology and mental health, including eating disorders. Challenging racism at the systemic level is necessary as part of a multi-level intervention. Limited resources exist for identifying and addressing systemic racism in the field of eating disorders, particularly as these impact ED diagnosis, treatment and clinical research. This presentation integrates insights from mental health and related fields to identify and raise questions about areas for critical attention as we address systemic racism as a field.



Ashley Acle, LMFT and currently the California Regional Compliance Manager for Alsana: An Eating Recovery Community. Her research and clinical interests include eating disorders, suicidality and emotional expression and the influence of contextual factors on these presentations. Ashley is passionate about integrating culture in mental health, specifically in the treatment of eating disorders among ethnic and racial minorities, and has brought this unique perspective in to her previous roles as Director of Clinical Services and Program Director. She has worked with diverse individuals, families and couples struggling with suicidality, acute psychosis, homicidality, eating disorders, mood disorders and co-occurring relational distress for the last 10 years. Ashley is committed to increasing access to quality mental health care for underserved populations using technology and increased community awareness.

Ashley completed her B.A. at Swarthmore College and her Master of Family Therapy at Drexel University.  Ashley has presented at several conferences and in the community on mental health and eating disorders. She is a member of the Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) and California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

Norman H. Kim, PhD, Co-Chair People of Color (POC-AAEDP) Subcommittee, completed his B.A. at Yale and his Ph.D. in Psychology at UCLA. His research and clinical interests include the neurobiology and social development of people with autism, the developmental course of bipolar disorder, and the treatment of anxiety disorders.  In conjunction Norman has developed an expertise in treating and teaching about psychiatrically complex populations, multi-modal treatment, and diagnostic assessment with a particular focus on Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Bipolar Disorder. He is a regular national speaker, educator, and passionate advocate for eating disorder awareness and legislation with a particular focus on marginalized communities.  He is on the Board of Directors of the Eating Disorders Coalition and is the co-chair of the Transcultural SIG for the Academy of Eating Disorders. Norman is the co-founder and National Director of the Reasons Eating Disorder Center.

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