Project HEAL provides financial assistance grants to lower and middle income recipients who would otherwise forego medical attention due to attenuated financial circumstances. Treatment for eating disorders in the United States can cost upwards of $30,000 per month, and is often not covered by insurance companies. Because of this prohibitive cost, 90% of eating disorder sufferers do not receive treatment. The goal of Project HEAL is not only to be able to support those who cannot financially obtain treatment, but to have treatment recipients achieve full recovery from their ailment.
Since it was founded in 2008, Project HEAL has been able to provide 42 treatment grants to its applicants. In 2014, 11 treatment grants were funded and in 2015, treatment grants awarded doubled to 22. The non-profit's goal for the 2016 fiscal year is to provide grants to 25 applicants. With continued funding, Project HEAL will be able to give an increased number of applicants access to the specialized care they need as well as extend its volunteer base that works to improve eating disorder education in the community.
Of the 10% of people suffering from eating disorders who do receive treatment, only 30% of those receive specialized care. Project HEAL partners with 16 eating disorder treatment centers across the United States and 2 globally who each donate a minimum of one treatment grant to Project HEAL applicants per year.
Treatment success is known to increase with early prevention. By focusing on motivation for recovery, Project HEAL bypasses the severe clinical criteria that must be met before insurance coverage goes into effect. We fund treatment grants to those who are ready to do the hard work required, regardless of whether or not people meet a list of stringent criteria on a checklist. Over 30 million Americans suffer from some form of an eating disorder. Left unaddressed, eating disorders can spawn serious medical problems. Anorexia nervosa, the most serious and prevalent eating disorder, claims the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses combined, excluding substance abuse.
Project HEAL had 750 applicants for treatment grants in 2015 and we were able to award 22, totalling approximately $150,000 in grant funding . Ideally, Project HEAL would like to meet the financial needs of all applicants seeking treatment.
The organization was founded in 2008 by Kristina Saffran and Liana Rosenman. The two women, then just fifteen years old, met while undergoing treatment for their own eating disorders. They helped each other to fully recover and then wanted to help others recover as well. The cofounders experienced firsthand how many people were unable to afford eating disorder treatment and oftentimes were forced to leave treatment programs prematurely, thus they developed their signature grant fund to help those in need and provide a source of hope.
Project HEAL is the largest of three organizations that fund eating disorder treatment. We have grown extensively by focusing on chapter involvment and now have over forty chapters world-wide that help to fundraise and contribute to education in the community.
Project HEAL has over fourty chapters across the United States and Canada vested in the national organization's mission. As aforementioned, Project Heal also partners with 16 eating disorder treatment centers who each donate a minimum of one treatment grant per year to Project HEAL applicants. The organization also receives funding from sponsors such as the Red Empress Foundation, Uber, Lush Cosmetics, Eileen Fisher and Ed Referral.
It is fully possible for other organizations to adapt Project HEAL's means of expanding its treatment grant fund via regional chapter fundraisers, memorial funds, corporate grants and individual donations or merchandise sales.
We expect treatment grant recipients to be able to achieve full recovery over the time span of approximately two years, quantified by marked cessation of eating disorder behaviors and the medical symptoms of eating disorders such as muscle loss, osteoporosis, dehydration, reproductive problems, and kidney failure. Additionally, we expect to see improvements in the EDE-Q and EDQOL assessment results to mark psychological and behavioral recovery. The co-founders and Clinical Advisor Board members meet with each treatment grant recipient quarterly during treatment, and once every six months for two years after treatment to ensure progress in recovery.