Policies & Procedures
The Academy for Eating Disorders is an interdisciplinary organization for professionals interested in eating disorders. The primary purpose of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) is to provide forums for individuals who have interests in particular topics regarding eating disorders.
The role of the Academy is to facilitate and support these groups that will in turn contribute to professional dialogue and promote the field. Interest Groups may focus on any professional theme, and may be created and dissolved as specific interests increase or decrease in importance to Academy members.
For further information or questions, please contact the Special Interest Group Committee Co-Chairs:
Co-Chair: Joanna Wiese, PhD, Co-Chair
Co-Chair: Abby Sarrett-Cooper, LPC, Co-Chair
About the Special Interest Group Oversight Committee (SOC)
The Special Interest Group Oversight Committee (SOC) is responsible for coordinating the twenty seven Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the very beating heart of the Academy, while ensuring that the SIGs engage in activities that are compatible with the aims, purposes, and practices of the Academy. The SOC can also serve as a sounding board for new ideas from the SIGs and utilize our Board Liaison to discuss the appropriateness of new activities. The SOC has two co-chairs and four other members, each responsible for one area: collecting panel proposals for the annual conference, the SIG section of website, collecting information for the AED Forum, and collecting annual reports from the SIGs. The SOC reports to the Board of Directors twice a year. The SOC reviews proposals for a new SIG and submits accepted proposals to the Board of Directors for approval. The SOC’s main activities relate to the Annual Conference—coordinating the needs of the SIGs with the Program Chairs for the conference, establishing and promoting SIG meetings and SIG panels.
Formation of New Groups
Any Academy member or group of members may propose the formation of a new SIG. The individual(s) should submit a brief paragraph describing the title and focus of the group to the SIG committee chair. The paragraph should provide sufficient information to allow prospective members to determine whether they want to join the group.
If the SIG committee chair deems that the proposed group is both relevant to eating disorders and distinct from other Interest Groups, an invitation to join the proposed group will be published in the Academy Newsletter, Web Page and the Chat List. Members interested in joining should respond directly to the member(s) proposing the new SIG.
When a minimum of 10 Academy members have expressed an interest in joining the new SIG, the organizer may schedule a meeting for the next general Academy Meeting with the help of the SIG committee chair, Academy Office, and in collaboration with the Program Committee. At the first meeting of the new SIG, there will be two primary goals: the development of an organizational structure and an acceptable description of the SIG purpose.
In summary, a SIG will be established formally when the following criteria are met and documentation of eligibility has been forwarded to the Board:
- The proposed SIG has specified a purpose that does not duplicate that of an existing SIG.
- A minimum of 10 Academy members have agreed to join the SIG.
- The SIG has held a public, formal meeting.
Privileges of Special Interest Groups
A Special Interest Group has numerous privileges. The SIG’s name will be included in the listing printed in the Membership Brochure and the Association’s Membership Directory. The SIG will have the opportunity to contribute to the Interest Group Column in the Academy newsletter. Meeting space and time, scheduled by the Program Committee, will be provided at the annual Academy meeting.
Special Interest Activities
Activities of individual SIGs will be determined by members, but usually will include newsletters and hosting speakers at SIG meetings.
Meetings held during the Academy meeting may consist of
- A business meeting (where officers are elected, group goals are set for the upcoming year, and group accomplishments of the past year are reviewed)
- A program component (e.g., new research or service programs are described, an invited speaker presents an address, or a conversation hour is held).
SIGs may submit proposals for formal presentations to the Program Committee. They will be assessed using the same selection/rejection criteria that are used in the case of submissions received from any individual or group of individuals affiliated with the Academy.
Membership in a SIG is determined by current membership in the Academy and by an interest in the Group’s identified topical concern. Groups may not establish exclusionary criteria for membership.
Special Interest Group Responsibilities
The Special Interest Group Program is maintained by the Academy as a service to its members. SIGs exist to serve subsets off the Academy’s members. Therefore, SIGs are accountable to their membership and to the Academy.
A group may be deleted from the Academy’s list of SIGs at the initiation of either the Group or the Board of Directors.
To remain an Academy Special Interest Group the group must meet the three criteria specified below.
- SIGs must maintain a minimum of 10 members. If membership drops below the criterion number, the group may request a one-year special status period.
- SIGs must submit an Annual Activity Report.
- The activities of SIGs must be compatible with the aims, purposes and practices of the Academy. When there is concern about the appropriateness of a group’s activities, final determination will rest with the Board of Directors of the Academy.
Failure to meet any criterion for two consecutive years, except under circumstances found acceptable by the Board of Directors, will result in the group’s deletion from the Special Interest Group Program.
Special Interest Group Committee Chair
The Board will appoint a Special Interest Group Committee Chair who will serve for three years as a coordinator of activities and information for the individual SIGs. The Special Interest Group Committee Chair will coordinate the needs of the SIGs with the Program Chairs for the Annual Meetings. The Chair will compile the Annual Activity Reports and membership lists for the SIGs and also will provide a report as needed, but at least once a year to the Membership Council Chair. The Council Chair will forward the compiled material as appropriate to the Board.
Annual Special Interest Group Requirements
- The Academy requires that SIGs engage only in activities that are compatible with the aims, purposes, and practices of the Academy. Where there is concern about the appropriateness of a group’s activities, final determination will rest with the Board of Directors.
- Each SIG is required to complete an Annual Activity Report and include a current membership listing annually.
- SIGs are required to submit an annual financial report, if appropriate. The format of such a report shall be as simple as possible and submitted with the Annual Activity Report.
- No SIG may release any position or policy statements on public policy matters in the name of the Academy. Furthermore, statements in the name of a SIG shall contain a disclaimer clause, making it clear that the SIG is not speaking for the Academy.
- SIGs will be permitted to use the Academy’s logo only if the materials have been reviewed and approved by the Board.
- No SIG may license or certify its members.
- No SIGs may obligate the Academy to any financial commitments.
- No SIGs may publish a referral directory.