Children’s and WPIC Combine Expertise and Expand Eating Disorders Program

November 18, 2016

Pediatric patients with eating disorders can now receive treatment at several Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC locations through the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders, the region’s only provider of specialized inpatient treatment for eating disorders, bringing together the collective expertise of Children’s Hospital and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC.

The center, formerly known as the Center for Overcoming Problem Eating, has expanded to include two locations – the Children’s Hospital main campus in Lawrenceville, and Children’s Pine Center in Wexford. The treatment team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, dietitians, nurse practitioners and nurses, all of whom have specialized expertise and experience in the treatment of eating disorders.

“We can provide multiple levels of care for children and adolescents with eating disorders and pinpoint their care needs based on the severity of physical symptoms and their stages in recovery,” said Alexis Fertig, M.D., director of the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders. “We also can direct our clinical interventions toward helping the family support their child through his or her recovery. Leveraging the care and support of families in the treatment of a child with an eating disorder enables parents to maintain treatment gains once a child has completed treatment.”

Patients diagnosed with an eating disorder who are ages 15 and younger and medically unstable will be treated in an inpatient unit at Children’s Hospital with a focus on medical and nutritional stabilization and weight gain. Two levels of outpatient care are offered at Children’s Pine Center for patients ages 12 to 18: A partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). The PHP and IOP include meal support, group and individual therapy, family sessions, medical monitoring and medication management.

The partial hospitalization program provides treatment for patients who do not require medical or psychiatric inpatient hospitalization at the start of their treatment. The program provides structured programming and meal support five days a week, six hours a day. Those in an intensive outpatient program take part in programming for three days a week, three hours a day, with one structured meal each day.

Those with an eating disorder in need of behavioral health treatment, who are medically stable, are admitted to the inpatient unit at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

For more information on the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders, call 412-647-9329 or visit