National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: History

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, (ANAD) is a non-profit (501 c 3) organization working in the areas of support, awareness, advocacy, referral, education, and prevention of eating disorders.

ANAD is the oldest organization aimed at fighting eating disorders in the United States. ANAD assists people struggling with eating disorders and also provides resources for families, schools and the eating disorder community.

In the early 1970s, Vivian Hanson Meehan, ANAD’s founder, was a nurse at a hospital in Highland Park, Illinois. When a family member was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, Vivian was unable to find any information or resources on eating disorders, so she started her own support group, which became the first of hundreds!

Another pioneer in the field of eating disorders, Dr. Pat Santucci, has been working with ANAD since 1977. Much of her career has been devoted to developing curriculum and training for medical and mental health professionals. As an active advocate for the field, she has testified before Congress and the National Institute for Mental Health on several occasions. She is a founding member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the Coalition for Eating Disorders. She is also the author of the book, Eating Disorders and Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Book for Women and Healthcare Professionals. Dr. Santucci currently serves as a board member and crucial part of the ANAD education committee, who help drive new learning, in part through the production of the ANAD approach guide series.

These guides, support groups, and other ANAD services continue to provide peer-to-peer support and self-help for the individuals and families affected by eating disorders at no cost.

ANAD continues today into its third generation of leadership both at the Executive Director and Executive Board level, and carries  on the ANAD vision by continuing to offer free support and a national helpline for anyone suffering from an eating disorder.

The current leadership team at ANAD is helping ANAD advance and grow. This growth includes new free support programs (Grocery Buddy, Recovery Mentorship, and a YouTube Recovery Channel) and is committed to learning by increasing ANAD’s presence and educational outreach and advocacy online for anyone seeking to learn about eating disorders and body image issues.