Who’s Dancing at the Party: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within AED

By Nadia Craddock posted 09 Jan, 2020 08:45


Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” (Vernā Myers).

Extending the famous quote by Vernā Myers (Diversity Advocate and author of Moving Diversity Forward) above, Equity is ensuring everyone has appropriate transport to the dance, regardless of their starting location. And no, we are not talking about the infamous ICED dance party, not on this blogpost anyway. The purpose of this blog is to introduce the AED Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee to the Board, which was founded last year, March 2019. Incidentally, Equity in the above metaphor would be something along the lines that there is a bus waiting for everyone at Sydney Opera House. While seemingly fair, equality doesn’t take into account that people come from different starting points. In contrast, the goal of equity is to level the playing field.

Back to the committee. Who are we? And what’s our mission?

Guided by AED President, Professor Bryn Austin and CEO, Elissa Myers, committee members are Alvin Tran (co-chair), Eric van Furth, Janell Mensinger, Lesley Williams, Lisa Du Breuil, Marcella Raimondo (co-chair) and Nadia Craddock. We represent clinicians, lecturers, researchers, experts by experience, and are all at different career stages from PhD candidate to Professor. As a group, our special interests include fat acceptance and weight stigma, race and racism, skin colour and colourism, socioeconomic position and economic inequality, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographic and cultural differences, as well as obviously a common interest in eating disorders.

Importantly, as one of our committee members stated during our last monthly conference call (navigating 5 different time zones), the purpose of the committee is not to act as the ‘DEI police’ of the AED, nor is it to serve as a ‘check box’. Instead, our mission is to inform the AED Board to cultivate globalization, diversity, equity, and inclusion within AED and the eating disorders (ED) field more broadly. Our goal is to actively listen to you – members of AED – in order to stimulate and facilitate the identification and adoption of new policies, procedures, programs, and communications that promote social justice within our organization, and in turn – in line with AED President, Professor Bryn Austin’s inaugural blogpost – COMMUNITY.

We recognise conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion can be uncomfortable. They require us to reflect on our own unique experiences of privilege and oppression. They require us to confront (or in the words of Vernā Myers, ‘walk boldly towards’) our own prejudices and biases (we all have them). They require us to embrace a degree of vulnerability and openness that we might not always be used to, particularly in a professional context. We invite you to embrace the discomfort. At the same time, we would like to remind you that the goal is not discomfort. The goal, as stated above, is community. A dynamic community that fosters belongingness and shared understanding rather than silos and division.

Three ways to get involved and have your voice heard on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as they relate to the Academy for Eating Disorders:

  1. Complete the forthcoming members’ survey (it will include a section on diversity, equity, and inclusion)
  2. For those attending ICED this year in Sydney, look out for information on two DEI community and cake conversations, and come along. Can’t make Sydney? No problem! We will run the session live via Zoom, so please join us virtually. The meetings are open to all.
  3. Direct message a committee member on AED Web.

As we start a new decade, we have a grand vision: a truly global academy on eating disorders, which brings all individuals, professional organizations, and societies across the globe into a unified effort to create equity prevention, care and access for those struggling with an eating disorder.

We hope you will join us on this journey, whatever transportation you may require.