ALBANY, N.Y., August 31, 2005 – Officials at Albany Medical Center joined State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno (R-C, Brunswick) today in announcing plans for the establishment of the Northeast Center for Eating Disorders in conjunction with Four Winds Saratoga and Bellevue Woman’s Hospital. This will be the first such Center of its kind for the region.
"Albany Medical Center is grateful to Governor Pataki and Senator Bruno for their support of this important initiative," said James J. Barba, chairman of the Board of Directors, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center. "These funds will allow the Medical Center, in collaboration with Four Winds Saratoga and Bellevue Woman’s Hospital, to provide the continuum of care necessary to effectively treat the adverse medical and emotional conditions that result from eating disorders."
Of the $1.5 million in funding, $500,000 has been awarded to the Northeast Center. The funds will be used to support several new positions including a program director, a medical director, a case manager, a registered nurse and a registered dietician as well as expand programs like family therapy, movement therapy, healing arts and pastoral care at both Albany Med and Four Winds. In addition, the funds will be used by Four Winds to develop an adolescent intensive outpatient program and by Bellevue Woman’s Hospital to help develop community education and outreach programs. The Northeast Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders will include a Board of Directors and Advisory Board to provide a strategic and cohesive link between Albany Med and its partners to ensure the highest quality of care for patients regardless of point of entry.
"Considering that patients with eating disorders made more than 500 visits to Albany Medical Center last year alone, there is clearly an intense need for comprehensive services for patients in this region," said Sharon Alger, M.D., associate professor of medicine, division of nutrition/gastroenterology, and medical director for the Center for Eating Disorders. "We look forward to collaborating with Four Winds and Bellevue Woman's Hospital to provide the full range of services patients with eating disorders require in the most convenient manner possible, helping not only the patients but also their families overcome these very serious illnesses right here in the Capital Region."
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, eating disorders affect men and women of all ages and ethnicities across all socio-economic levels. The organization reports that an estimated seven million women and one million men suffer from some type of an eating disorder, with 86 percent reporting onset of the illness by 20 years of age. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious physical and psychological repercussions including damage to the heart, kidneys and liver; dehydration, esophageal ruptures; osteoporosis; thyroid abnormalities; malnutrition; depression; mood swings; and impaired family and social relationships.
The Albany Medical Center consists of one of the state's largest teaching hospitals, the Albany Medical Center Hospital, and one of the nation's oldest medical schools, the Albany Medical College.
Four Winds Saratoga provides a broad range of inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment services for children, adolescents and adults. The 88 bed inpatient service is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals that includes psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, registered nurse practitioners, registered nurses, clinical social workers, masters-level teachers, creative/expressive art therapists and mental health workers.
Bellevue Woman's Hospital is one of only two nonprofit specialty hospitals in the US concentrating on health services for women. It offers a range of health services dedicated to women's needs, including a family-centered childbirth center with neonatal intensive care; a center for urology and continence care; and a center for fertility and advanced reproductive medicine.