Eating disorders expert joins UF

Eating disorders expert joins UF

By April Frawley Birdwell

Eating disorders expert Dr. Kevin Wandler was recruited to the UF College of Medicine to establish an eating disorders program./Photo by Jesse S. Jones

A leading expert on eating disorders has joined the UF College of Medicine to establish and run a new treatment and research program aimed at helping patients with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia.

Kevin Wandler, M.D., the former chief medical officer and director of the Center for Anorexia and Bulimia at Remuda Ranch, has been named an assistant professor in the UF department of psychiatry and chief of eating disorders programs at Shands Vista.

“This illness is very severe; eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among young adult women of any psychiatric illness,” said Wandler, whose first day on the faculty was Aug. 15. “I am excited to be able to work with Dr. (Mark) Gold and tap into all the resources at UF, and hopefully we will be able to make a huge difference in this field. There is no magic therapy. The recidivism rate is huge. Here there are opportunities from the brain chemistry side and from the therapy side to figure out how to help these people best.”

The new UF eating disorders program will be the first of its kind in the region, and will feature both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, said Mark Gold, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry. “There is a huge need for this,” Gold said. “This is one of the major women’s health problems right now.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, approximately 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States have an eating disorder, an umbrella term that includes anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.