Let­ters

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The fol­low­ing is a let­ter writ­ten to the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ser­vices for Stu­dents

Dear Ms. Mar­tine Gau­thier,

I am a strong be­liever in speak­ing out to sup­port ef­fec­tive and im­pact­ful pro­grams on cam­pus, and in my five years at Mcgill I have never wit­nessed a more amaz­ing pro­gram than the Mcgill Eat­ing Dis­or­der Pro­gram (EDP). While I have had many won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ences at Mcgill, this pro­gram has by far had the most mean­ing­ful im­pact on my life. It would be an un­der­state­ment to say that it has only changed my life, be­cause it has prob­a­bly saved it.

While I am not yet in a po­si­tion to fi­nan­cially of­fer sup­port to the pro­gram as an alumna, the least I can do for now is of­fer my words. Trust me when I say that it is not enough to do this pro­gram jus­tice, but it’s the least that I feel I can do at the mo­ment.

Many stu­dents strug­gle with chal­lenges re­lated to food and body im­age, whether it reaches the ex­treme of a full-blown eat­ing dis­or­der or not, and th­ese disor­ders are es­pe­cially preva­lent in uni­ver­sity set­tings. Eat­ing disor­ders are of­ten the ill­nesses of high achiev­ers, per­fec­tion­ists and straight-a stu­dents. For me per­son­ally, my eat­ing dis­or­der be­came a ve­hi­cle to cope with high lev­els of stress, anx­i­ety, and de­pres­sion. This pro­gram was phe­nom­e­nal in that it did not only help to get my eat­ing on track, but that it also ad­dressed the un­der­ly­ing de­ter­mi­nants of men­tal health and well-be­ing that I had been strug­gling with for over a decade. This pro­gram is the best thing to ever hap­pen to me.

The EDP at Mcgill con­sists of a team of the most car­ing and com­pe­tent health pro­fes­sion­als I have ever met, and as a pub­lic health stu­dent and ad­vo­cate, I have met many. Their level of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ties within the EDP team— di­eti­cian, nurse, ther­a­pist, and psy­chi­a­trist, is the model for pa­tient- cen­tered care that we learn about in pub­lic health text­books, but that most pro­grams only as­pire to. The pro­gram is in­ten­sive, the team is in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary, and they reg­u­larly com­mu­ni­cate about each in­di­vid­ual stu­dent’s progress at weekly team meet­ings to make sure that each stu­dent re­ceives the best level of care. In an ap­point­ment with any given team mem­ber, the staff are al­ways up to date on all other ap­point­ments that a stu­dent has had, and are quick to re­fer any prob­lems that come up that are not within their area of spe­cialty to another mem­ber of the team. No stu­dent need is ever left un­ad­dressed. They keep track of their pa­tients, they care about their pa­tients, and it shows. I felt so in­cred­i­bly sup­ported, in­vested in, and be­lieved in through­out the pro­gram that I was not only able to make it through this dif­fi­cult jour­ney, but come out thriv­ing. The pro­gram is very in­ten­sive, but I am so grate­ful for that be­cause I have never been so happy and healthy in my en­tire life and I will for­ever be in­debted to this phe­nom­e­nal pro­gram. I un­der­stand that bud­gets at Mcgill are tight, so I want to em­pha­size what a gem of a pro­gram this is within the uni­ver­sity, and how they de­serve not only ev­ery ounce of fund­ing that they get, but also some kind of award to rec­og­nize the supreme level of care that they pro­vide to stu­dents.

I think it’s im­por­tant for the uni­ver­sity to know what an amaz­ing ser­vice it has put to­gether of which it should be very proud. I hope that the pro­gram con­tin­ues to grow strong, and that it con­tin­ues to re­ceive the sup­port and recog­ni­tion it de­serves.

Sin­cerely,

Madeleine Pawlowski M.A. (’18 ex­pected) Health Ge­og­ra­phy B.A. (‘15) Jt. Hons. Int’l De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies & Ge­og­ra­phy

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