Dedicated to expanding knowledge about eating disorders, their detection, treatment, and prevention - and promoting the healthy development of children, women, and all at risk.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONPlease see our website for more details on this program.
The Harris Center at Massachusetts General Hospital advances the understanding, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders. Staffed by leaders in the field, the center spearheads research into the causes and treatments for eating disorders, as well as their associated medical and psychological conditions.
Through its annual Matina S. Horner, Ph.D. Summer Research Fellowships , the Harris Center mentors emerging scientists and students, giving them the resources and guidance they need to undertake their own research projects. In addition, we now have a Postdoctoral Fellowship program to train professionals in the specialized treatment of individuals with eating disorders.
The Harris Center also conducts or participates in forums and symposia that train medical professionals, increase awareness among groups interacting with those at risk for eating disorders, and communicate latest research advances to other medical professionals.
The Harris Center is a founding member of the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action. Through the Coalition, the Harris Center is seeking to raise national awareness of eating disorders and to promote federal support for improved access to care, parity and research.
Our annual newsletter keeps the community and the public-at-large updated on the Harris Center's research, education and advocacy programs.
FOR MORE INFORMATIONPlease see our website for more details on this program.
Since its inception in 1994, the Harris Center has been dedicated to expanding knowledge about eating disorders, their detection, treatment and prevention through research, education, and advocacy. Founded and directed by David B. Herzog, MD, until his retirement in 2013, and currently directed by Kamryn T. Eddy, Ph.D., the Center is uniquely positioned to bring together experts to generate, share and creatively disseminate this knowledge to caregivers, patients, their families and the community. At the heart of the Center is a commitment to promote the healthy development of children, women, and all at risk for eating disorders.
Our team has endeavored to answer the question, “What will I be like in 5, 10 or 25 years?” This is a question posed by many of our patients and their families and our central research project attempts to answer it. Since 1987, we have followed 246 women with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa as part of the MGH Longitudinal Study. This seminal investigation maps the course and outcome of eating disorders to determine how patients fare over time. The work has generated over 40 published articles about eating disorders, covering topics such as recovery and relapse, alcohol and substance use, depression, pregnancy, and medical complications.
In 2011, the Harris Center received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to interview participants once more, 25 years after the launch of the study. This grant gives us the opportunity to address questions such as “who gets better and how?” and “what factors lead to a better or worse outcome?” Our findings will ultimately contribute to improved treatment for these serious disorders.
Since its inception, the Harris Center has teamed with the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit to better understand the hormonal factors that contribute to anorexia nervosa and interventions that affect the course of the illness. Several ongoing studies test effective treatments for complications such as osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. Other projects focus on genetics and neuroimaging to investigate the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa.
In 2007, the Center established the Harvard Medical School Endowed Professorship of Psychiatry in the Field of Eating Disorders. The Endowed Professorship will provide lasting leadership to the Harvard medical community in support of the multidisciplinary research that is critical to finding effective treatments for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. We have long recognized the importance of training the next generation of experts in the field of eating disorders. Our Matina S. Horner, Ph.D. Fellowship offers selected undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to receive mentorship and supervision as they work on independent research projects and participate in our research activities. Since 1997, this program has funded 47 young scientists.
The Harris Center strives to raise public awareness of eating disorders. Our annual Public Forum disseminates information about these illnesses to the community, encourages discussion, and aims to destigmatize these issues. To date, we have hosted many influential speakers, and our 2012 Forum featured Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group; Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Italia; and Doutzen Kroes, international supermodel. Nearly 600 students, parents, educators, and members of the press attended this Forum.
Since early 2010, the Harris Center has collaborated with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to improve the health of models and promote positive body images in the media. At our 2010 Public Forum, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, designer Michael Kors, and Russian model Natalia Vodianova focused on the CFDA initiative to encourage models’ health. The keynote speaker for our 2011 Forum was designer Diane von Furstenberg – President of the CFDA – who addressed the topics of empowerment, beauty and health.
Our yearly Teen Mentor Program offers adolescent girls from local high schools the opportunity to learn the best ways to promote positive self-image. In meetings with Harris Center staff, these young women discuss sources of stress in their schools that may negatively impact self-esteem. In the second half of the year, they create advocacy projects to address these issues in their communities, and through this process they develop and strengthen their leadership skills.
Our staff members offer presentations to providers, school professionals and parents on the early identification and treatment of eating disorders. We author educational materials throughout the year, including a newsletter and information for teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and others who are in contact with at-risk populations.
The Harris Center advocates for health policy initiatives on behalf of individuals with eating disorders. To this end, we educate policymakers about the prevalence, risk factors, potential causes, and adverse health effects of these illnesses. Our advocacy program is active at the state and national levels.In 2000, the Harris Center founded the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, & Action (EDC). Located in Washington D.C., the EDC increases national awareness of eating disorders and hosts frequent Congressional Briefings to promote federal support for improved access to care, insurance parity and research. Now, twelve years since its inception, the EDC has grown to 37 member-organizations and hosted two national policy conferences in Washington, D.C.
The term eating disorders refers to a variety of disorders. The common feature of all the eating disorders is abnormal eating behaviors. Eating disorders are serious mental health problems and can be life threatening.
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Eating disorders are serious, complex illnesses that affect more than 10 million Americans. The Harris Center at Mass General is dedicated to research, education and advocacy in eating disorders and offers clinical assessment and treatment for children, adolescents, adults and families affected by these diseases.
Harris Center for Education and Advocacy in Eating Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital2 Longfellow Place, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 726-8470
Public Transportation Access: yes