NEW ORLEANS (press release) – This month, the new Feeding and Eating Disorder Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans opened as a first-of-its-kind service for the Gulf South, providing children, adolescents, and teens with comprehensive assessment and treatment for feeding and eating disorders, while keeping kids where kids belong – at home with their families.

The Feeding and Eating Disorder Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans is the first hospital-based feeding and eating disorder treatment program in Louisiana and the Gulf South, spearheaded by Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Amy Henke, Registered Dietitian Jacey Lutz-Thiel and Adolescent Medicine Physician Dr. Ryan Pasternak.  

“As we have experienced a broad increase in mental health problems among children and adolescents across the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, eating and feeding disorders are unfortunately no exception,” said John R. Nickens IV, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Establishing the Eating and Feeding Disorder Center at Children’s Hospital was critical for our team to be able to care for the whole child. I am incredibly proud of this provider-led initiative that has already had a powerful impact in its first few weeks.” 

Eating disorders are marked by a variety of emotional, physical and behavioral changes, and if untreated can be serious and sometimes fatal. Throughout the U.S, there has been a notable rise in eating disorders over the last few years, particularly among adolescents, which is the most common age of onset. Additionally, feeding disorders are identified when a child does not consume adequate food, liquid, or a variety of foods to gain weight and grow normally.

“We focus on providing advanced, evidence-based care plans including family-based treatment for eating disorders and cognitive behavioral therapy for feeding disorders,” said Amy Henke, Psy.D., Pediatric Psychologist at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Our goal is to provide families and their children who are suffering with eating and feeding disorders with the tools they need to recover by working as an integrated care team to address medical, psychological and nutritional needs together.”

Through the Feeding and Eating Disorder Center, services are offered in an outpatient setting on Children’s Hospital’s Main Campus for children, adolescents and young adults while they remain under the care of a primary caregiver. A registered dietitian serves as the entry point to the Feeding and Eating Disorder Center, and patients receive an individualized assessment and care plan. Families are then referred as needed for psychological and behavioral intervention. While under the care of the team, medical monitoring for safety is provided, and the team is focused on supporting and empowering the family as they support their child’s recovery.

For more information and to learn how referring providers and families can contact the Eating and Feeding Disorder Center, please visit chnola.org/eatingdisorder or call 504-896-9827