ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- It's called Project Echo, and stakeholders of the program at the University of Rochester Medical Center are saying the program couldn't have come quick enough.
“The majority of primary care providers, behavioral health providers and college providers do not get trained on eating disorders and it’s a travesty, actually,” said Mary Tantillo, director at Western New York Comprehensive Care Center of Eating Disorders.
Project Echo utilizes a team-based approach to treating patients by connecting dietitians, psychiatrists, nurses and other experts using video conferencing.
Its newest hub, specializing in eating disorder treatment, is the first of its kind in the world. It brings together a community of experts to help families and victims of eating disorders sooner.
It's something that one survivor says would have been a life changer during a dark eight-year battle of the disorder.
“It started as a diet I was just cutting back. I cut back on desserts. Then I cut back on snacks and then I cut back on lunch and it just progresses,” said Genevieve Morrow.
Directors of the program estimate more than 27,000 people living in Monroe County alone suffer from eating disorders. They say many of those begin as kids transition through school.
This hits close to home especially for Genevieve, who remembers the start of her eating disorder in the sixth grade.
“The only way you can really get rid of an eating disorder is through building a village. A village of people who understand the illness can identify it quickly,” said Tantillo.
Organizers of the program say the clinic is all in efforts to emerge a new coalition of experts to take down an ongoing epidemic that continues to plague household across the country.