Meet NIED’s Steering Committee
Wendy Preskow, ECE. NIED Founder, President & Chief Advocate.
As a parent, whose 31-year-old daughter has struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia for over 16 years, Wendy is the passionate voice and driving force behind the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED). Having lived with a sufferer and experienced the devastating effect Eating Disorders have on families and extended family and friends, Wendy reached the point of no return in late 2011. She could no longer sit back knowing her daughter was falling through the cracks of health care system that had failed her family and so many others in the same predicament.
Together with a core team of passionate advocates and the encouragement of her former MP, Wendy formed NIED in February 2012 to drive Eating Disorders awareness, understanding and action.
Trained as an Early Childhood Educator, Wendy taught pre-school in South Africa and Toronto before becoming a home-based entrepreneur helping people complete meaningful family photo albums. She was also a partner in a small business that helps seniors and others downsize and relocate. A serious, energetic, get-it-done-now “do-er”, Wendy was one of 25 people to receive Volunteer Toronto’s 2017 Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to the community. She currently divides her time between her family and grandkids, NIED and walking her golden doodle Dazy.
Patti Perry, RN, MSN. Founder, Clinical Advisor.
Patti is the Founder (1980) and Director of the Eating Disorders Clinic Incorporated. She brings over 40 years’ experience working with Eating Disorders in both Canada and the United States.
Patti is educated at the level of Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Child Psychiatric Nursing with two sub-specialties of Developmental Psychology and Psychiatric Nursing, with degrees from Wayne State University (1972 and 1974), in Detroit Michigan. As well, she is trained as an educator, consultant and therapist in the area of treatment of sexual dysfunction and crisis intervention.
In addition to her work in Eating Disorders, she was an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Nursing for six years (1975-1981) as well as a Field Clinical Advisor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine (1992 – 1998) and a Clinical Associate in Graduate Studies of the University of New Brunswick (1996 – 2002). In 1993, was designated an “Expert Witness in the treatment of Sexual Abuse” by the Ontario Courts. She is the author of the chapter, Sexual Abuse in Eating Disorders in the text, Group Therapy For Treatment of Eating Disorders, eds. Harper-Guiffre and MacKenzie (1992).
Patti has been a facilitator of groups at Sheena’s Place, Toronto Ontario, a support centre for individuals with Eating Disorders. She has created the “Expression Bean Bags”, “Inner Child Doll Packet” and other tools for use in therapy. She is the author, co-producer and co-host of the six, half hour television shows called The Weight Craze (1989). She has written several monographs and has produced numerous experiential, therapeutic techniques for use in therapy. She has also created Self Esteem Booklets, Strong Woman Affirmations, and Relaxation Meditations for use in groups. She is currently facilitating to support groups for individuals with Eating Disorders who also suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma and addictions.
Patti is a member in good standing of the College of Nurses of Ontario, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, the American Academy of Eating Disorders, Binge Eating Disorders Association, National Eating Disorders Association and a founding member of National Initiatives for Eating Disorders.
Lynne Honey Koss. Founder, Communications and PR.
Lynne truly believes in Gandhi’s quote: “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” With her friend and business partner, Wendy, struggling daily to help her daughter cope with anorexia and bulimia, she encouraged Wendy to gather the troops and take action.
Lynne has honed her marketing, administrative and leadership skills over the course of a 25-year career serving companies such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, The Hospital for Sick Children, The Career Foundation, Shropshire Communications and her own charity, Seeds For Change.
Her work with charities has enabled her to master the intricacies involved in the direct relationship between the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Heather A. Wheeler, Ph.D. Consultant – Clinical Psychologist.
Dr. Heather Wheeler is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. For over a decade, she has treated patients suffering from, among other things, Eating Disorders, depression, and anxiety. Her clients include high-performance athletes.
Along with running a private practice, she is the Co-leader of the Mood and Anxiety Program at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, ON. She holds Assistant Professor (Adjunct) positions at the University of Waterloo and York University and is a Practicum Supervisor at Ryerson University. She was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McMaster University from 2003 – 2012. Among other things, she trains graduate students in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). She has been welcomed internationally by health care professionals and students alike for her research, teaching, and speaking on many topics, including Eating Disorders, excessive exercise, and perfectionism.
In 2003, she helped develop the CBT program at McMaster Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder’s Program. In addition, she led programming in the Eating Disorder Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. Heather’s undergraduate and graduate research explored the link between Eating Disorders and identity development; she believes that dieting becomes an “identity substitute” for many people, of all ages, as a way of avoiding the anxious challenges of life. With that in mind, her passion has always been to help people answer the question “who am I?” in a way that doesn’t overemphasize body and eating.
Carly Crawford, Psychotherapist.
Carly is dedicated to helping individuals develop a strong a sense of self and a powerful voice. Carly started her clinical practice in 2009 when she opened up Find Your Voice Counselling and is thrilled to volunteer her time to NIED.
She is trained in CBT, ACT, DBT, Mindfulness based therapy among other evidenced based techniques of Psychotherapy. Carly devoted her research at McMaster University to Eating Disorders and has specialized in the treatment of complex cases of Eating Disorders since 2009. Carly has experience treating individuals with anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD and challenges related to life stressors and finding balance.
Carly seeks to disempower mental illness by continuing to help individuals increase their self-esteem, confidence, self-worth, body image, and ultimately giving them a voice. Carly is passionate about putting as much emphasis on healing our minds as we do on healing our bodies. Carly is passionate about bringing awareness to this cause and is happy to coordinate the social media team and organize NIED’s symposia.
Marlene Sachs, M.S.W., B.S.W., R.S.W. Volunteer Coordinator.
Marlene enthusiastically provides a wealth of relevant and all-encompassing experience to the Steering Committee through her current work at LOFT Community Services, and previous work at Sheena’s Place and CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and as Vice President, Board of Directors for North York Women’s Shelter.
Marlene has worked with youth and adults with a range of mental health and addiction issues, has practical experience with client engagement, psychosocial assessments, counselling, case management, crisis management and group work using solution-focused brief coaching and CBT.
Her extensive network with other organizations specializing in mental illnesses, superb organizational skills and outgoing personality are incredible assets to NIED’s mission of generating awareness about Eating Disorders, and propelling action and change.
Alexandra Franceschini, BBA. Social Media Strategist.
Alex is a Marketing professional with a specialization in Internet communications and digital innovation.
She is a dedicated advocate for those suffering from Eating Disorders, as well as their families and friends supporting them. Her ambitions are driven by a strong belief that full recovery can be a reality for all sufferers – when given the adequate public awareness, support and access to treatment that’s missing in Canada’s health care system.
Alex is committed to building a strong network of Eating Disorder advocates to make a difference for millions of sufferers and transform the way our culture marginalizes Eating Disorders.
She hopes to channel her tenacity to develop ways of promoting healthy self-esteem, and help Eating Disorder sufferers find their true voices and identities in health.
Stephanie Griver, BSW, MSW, RSW. Support Group Facilitator.
Stephanie is a Social Worker specializing in Mental Health. With over 10 years of experience in the field, Stephanie has worked with children and adolescents and their families who are coping with Eating Disorders, dual diagnosis, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other mental health disorders. Stephanie completed her MSW at Wilfrid Laurier University and Interned at Southlake Regional Health Sciences Centre in the Eating Disorder Program where she had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Family Based Therapy with Dr. Daniel Le Grange.
Currently, Stephanie is a Social Worker in the Eating Disorder Program, Outpatient Services at Halton HealthCare (formerly Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital).
Stephanie supports families utilizing Family Based Therapy (FBT) to help parents and their teens on their journey of combatting Eating Disorders. Families are the key in supporting their loved one. Stephanie’s message to them is to remember to remain hopeful and strong as recovery is possible.
Sandy Provost, DSW, ERF. Event Coordinator.
Sandy is a passionate advocate for Eating Disorders sufferers and their families.
She graduated from Humber College as a Developmental Service Worker and has worked in the field for 28 years. She has supported children, youth and adults with Special Needs, teaching life and vocational skills at Community Living Mississauga and Cambridge and ErinoakKids Centre. She also worked with seniors at Comcare Health Services.
For the past 15 years, Sandy has worked in the Education field as an Educational Resource Facilitator. Sandy enjoys doing charity work and fundraising for various agencies.
As a lived experience Mom who supported her daughter with an Eating Disorder, Sandy can certainly identify with NIED.