The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa launches TextEd resource

During the aftermath of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ decision to change their eating disorder program and discontinue inpatient care, the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa created a text-based application to streamline resources for Iowans.
Photo+Illustration+by+Isabella+Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale
Photo Illustration by Isabella Tisdale

The Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa launched a statewide, text-based application called TextED to help connect resources and professionals with the people they serve as well as each other. The text-based application was released on June 18 for public use.

President of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa, Gabriella Sloan, said the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa’s original goal was to develop a texting service or app to connect with Iowans and to keep that information as updated and accessible as possible.

“We realized that there was just such a significant need to connect people to information,” Sloan said.

According to the Social and Economic Cost of Eating Disorders in Iowa Report released in 2018 by the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders, Academy for Eating Disorders, and Deloitte Access Economics, an estimated 9 percent of Iowans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.

According to the EDCI website, the coalition’s mission is to provide inclusive education about disordered eating and to change cultural narratives surrounding food, bodies, exercise, weight, and health.

The proposal for the text service was in the works for several years, Sloan said, but was sent to their partner Thrivent Financial in the wake of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ decision to change their program for patients with eating disorders and discontinue residential inpatient care.

“In the aftermath of UIHC just like closing, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness. This kind of pillar for the state, really, the only pillar for the state is suddenly gone. Like, what do we do,’” Sloan said.

UIHC announced in October of 2022 that they would no longer accept patients into the residential inpatient care unit. However, UIHC still offers inpatient hospitalization to patients experiencing immediate medical distress associated with eating disorders, including nutritional deficits, cognitive impairments, and severe dehydration. They also offer an outpatient program as well.

RELATED: Closure of UI inpatient eating disorder program leaves gap in care for Iowans

According to the Social and Economic Cost of Eating Disorders in Iowa Report by the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders, Academy for Eating Disorders, and Deloitte Access Economics an estimated 9 percent of Iowans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.

Resource development

To create TextED, the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa and the coalition’s supporters raised $10,000 for the resource that was matched by Thrivent Financial. However, Sloan said there are still incurring.

“They will not be done,” Sloan said. “We currently have a tentative 10-year plan for the overall costs with just like an estimated total over those 10 years [which is] about like $15,000 for the main costs.”

The most expensive venture for the organization’s creation of the resource was the hired independent contractor who developed the software.

The text-based application uses keywords from the initial message to curate the best resources to send back to the client. Sloan said all of the resources attached to the application were researched and created within their organization rather than having the application pull information from the internet.

Sue Clarahan, a dietitian who is an independent provider in Iowa City and volunteers with the coalition, said the service is beneficial to clients and providers alike.

“I have been in the business so long,” she said. “I have a really nice resource list of information on where to go, but that is always changing. So yeah, I can, as a provider, see myself using it.”

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About the Contributors
Marandah Mangra-Dutcher
Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Managing Editor of Enterpise and Design
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Marandah Mangra-Dutcher is a third-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications with a minor in International Studies. Before her current role as Managing Editor of Enterprise and Design, Mangra-Dutcher held the positions of Design Editor and News Reporter at The Daily Iowan.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
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Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.