It all began when US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Thorn Tillis (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation authorizing establishment of a Center for Excellence in Eating Disorders. The Center was designed to provide training and other technical assistance to healthcare workers, teachers, parents, and others on how to identify eating disorders and to support patients in recovery. As a result, the National Center for Excellence in Eating Disorders, directed by Dr. Christine Peat, was founded in 2018 after further efforts by Senators Klobuchar, Capito, and Baldwin.
The Anna Westin Legacy Act was enacted as part of the 21st Century CURES Act. The Anna Westin Legacy Act, established in February 2022, authorizes Center funding at $5 million for each fiscal year from 2023 through fiscal year 2027. The Act honors Anna Westin, from Chaska, MN.
The funds will go toward adapting screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for pediatric patients. This will expand adaptive in-person and online training modules on eating disorders.
The goal is reaching frontline professionals and provides for consultation with the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, to prevent, identify, and treat EDs for veterans and military service members, and to integrate screening, brief intervention, and treatment using electronic health record systems.
In a more recent action, the three Senators reached out to social media in October. Senators Klobuchar, Capito, and Baldwin sent a letter to Facebook (now Meta), which owns Instagram, expressing their concern that information on the company’s website encourages disordered eating among young viewers, particularly teenagers and girls. In September, Facebook’s vice president of Global Safety, Antigone Davis, admitted that the company knew about the findings but did not take immediate action to help protect teenagers from such messages.