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Children's National Psychiatry Department Expands with New Eating Disorders Clinic

A new eating disorders clinic housed within the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Department provides family-based therapy to young patients.

Washington DC – Children’s National Health System’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine recently expanded with the addition of a new eating disorders clinic. The clinic, led by Finza Latif, MD, Director, Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison and Emergency Services, complements services provided by the Donald Delaney Eating Disorders Clinic within the Adolescent Health Center by providing family-based therapy in an outpatient setting. 

Family-based therapy, using the Maudsley method, is one of the most advanced, evidence-based therapies for treating eating disorders in children. Dr. Latif says eating disorders are increasingly seen in a younger age set. 

“We already know that both culture and genes can play a role in the development of an eating disorder,” says Dr. Latif. “There is some new research looking at the role of puberty in the onset of the illness. Onset can be as young as 10 to 11 years of age.”

Dr. Latif says family-based therapy intervenes in a regular social setting, where it is less impairing to children socially and academically than inpatient care or other programs. Using a family-based treatment has also been shown to have better long-term outcomes compared to individual treatment.
Family-based therapy is not the only service offered at the new clinic. Dr. Latif says, “Impairing anxiety and depression very commonly occur along with the eating disorder” and may also need to be treated. 

The eating disorders clinic takes a four-pronged approach to patient care through family therapy, psychiatric, medical, and nutritional assessments. The team includes Dr. Latif, Aisha Meertins, MSW, and Megan Barna, MS, RD, and is currently seeing patients at the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine and hopes to eventually expand to the Montgomery County Outpatient Center. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine offers several other sub-specialty clinics for children with emotional and behavioral disorders.

For referrals call 202-476-4733.

Contact: Caitlyn Camacho at 202-476-4500.

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