Clinician Spotlight Featuring Erica Leon

  • What is your current job title? Owner, CEO of Erica Leon Nutrition & Associates
  • What are your current educational credentials? Dietitian for 40 years; BS  in Nutrition from Cornell University, MS in Nutrition from New York University. Certified Eating Disorder Specialist with iaedp. I have a group practiced dedicated to eating disorder treatment and prevention.
  • What inspired you to become a clinician in the field of eating disorder treatment? Over the many years of practicing as an RD, I  saw how focusing on intentional weight loss was incredibly damaging and impacted all of my clients. And, as I  noticed more of my clients struggling with body image issues and disordered eating I saw a need to get additional training to work with eating disorders in all age populations. I learned about the Health at Every Size® and intuitive eating approaches to recovery and I  am inspired to help train the next generation of weight-inclusive providers.
  • Tell us about your journey as a clinician from your first role to your current role. I started out as a weight loss dietitian almost 40 years ago and my practice has evolved into one that discourages intentional weight loss. I did many different types of jobs along the way but as I learned (and unlearned) the role of diet culture and systemic racism in the development of eating disorders and disordered eating, I now have a group practice with providers with different backgrounds.
  • What do you currently see as the greatest barriers to eating disorder treatment and recovery? The greatest barrier is cost, without a doubt! I am embarking on the process of starting to take insurance. Another barrier is proper detection and diagnosis. The misperception that eating disorders only affect thin white women is very damaging. People of every single age, body size (including larger-bodied individuals) color, class, sexual orientation, and abilities can — and are —  impacted by diet culture, and eating disorders. And there are not enough providers who fully understand this and who are able to provide treatment.
  • What is your proudest moment as an eating disorder clinician? My proudest moment(s) is when I hear from a client who is living their largest, fullest life without worry about their food or body size. Also, teaching my interns and students about weight-inclusive eating disorder care, and them having aha moments!!.
  • What do you or your clients love most about MyClearStep? The flexibility of being monitored at home, versus having to go to a doctor’s office provides a level of freedom that is unique. The clients are also able to avoid the emotional stress and anxiety of getting weighed at the doctor’s office
  • What has changed since adding MyClearStep to your practice? We have been able to see more clients virtually, which has enabled us to provide eating disorder care to people who might not have been able to access treatment.
  • What advice would you give to those considering a career in eating disorder treatment? I would encourage that person to try and work at all levels of care. That is a regret that I have!
  • What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of work? Well, the pandemic impacted my favorite activity, since I live in New York. Attending Broadway and Off-Broadway shows has been a staple of my social life! We are just starting to get back to it. I also love to walk and be in nature as often as I  can.
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