A national survey of eating disorder training

Int J Eat Disord. 2015 May;48(4):443-5. doi: 10.1002/eat.22335. Epub 2014 Jul 22.


Objective: Eating disorders (EDs) result in the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders, and in the United States, approximately one in twenty females suffers from an eating disorder. However, training provided within residency programs to address the needs of these patients is sparse. The objective of this study was to conduct a national survey that assesses the amount of EDs training for trainees across five ACGME accredited specialties: internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. The results of the survey will be used to develop strategies to improve eating disorder education among residents.

Method: Eight hundred eighty training coordinators were contacted using information available on the ACGME website and asked to complete the survey.

Results: Of the 637 responding programs, 514 did not offer any scheduled or elective rotations for EDs. Of the 123 programs offering rotations, only 42 offered a formal, scheduled rotation. Child and adolescent psychiatry offered the most clinical experiences, and pediatric programs offered the greatest number of didactic hours on EDs.

Discussion: Training in EDs is limited. Simulated patient encounters, massive open online courses, web-based curricula, dedicated rotations and clinical experiences, didactic curricula, and brief-training programs may help to improve eating disorder diagnostic and treatment skills among trainees.

Keywords: eating disorders; national survey; training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Curriculum / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Health / education
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pediatrics / education
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States