Parallel Session 4

The Body Project Canada: Evidence-Based Eating Disorders Prevention and Body Image Empowerment in Action



Those attending this workshop will be provided with an introduction to a peer-led, cognitive-dissonance approach to improving body image. Presenters will describe the research support and theoretical basis for the Body Project, created by Eric Stice, Ph.D. and Carolyn Becker, Ph.D., and discuss implementation of the program on college campuses and in high school and community settings in both Canada and the United States.  Specific focus will be paid to the modification of the program to make it relevant to Canadian culture: the Body Project Canada and two case studies will be highlighted; the Canadian pilot at Ryerson University in Toronto in 2015; and the large scale effort by the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland, begun in 2016, to bring the program to universities and high schools across the province. The presenters will engage participants with interactive samples of the program and discuss opportunities for attendees to bring the program to their communities.


  1. Introduction / Overview, Research Data, and Existing Partnerships: 20 minutes
    The presenters will begin the workshop with an overview of the Body Project Canada; discuss partnerships and provide a detailed outline of 17 years of research supporting the efficacy and effectiveness of the program. Details will also be provided regarding cultural and language modifications made to the Body Project Canada to make it specifically relevant to a Canadian audience. Dialogue with workshop participants will be encouraged so that understanding of the Body Project’s background is thorough.
  2. Case Studies and How to Implement the Body Project: 35 minutes.
    In the second section of the workshop, the presenters will walk attendees through two case studies illustrating how two organizations in Canada have implemented the Body Project. These case studies will include (a) detailing the standard implementation models utilized across universities, high schools, and other community organizations implementing the program; (b) constructing partnerships among various departments to create a movement to reduce body dissatisfaction; (c) teaching examples of how to avoid pitfalls when implementing the program. Ryerson University’s Canadian pilot efforts with the program, which began in 2015; and the large scale effort by the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland to bring the program to universities and high schools across the province will be highlighted as detailed case studies. Furthermore, the presenters will provide detailed information about how to successfully implement the program, outline options available to receive funding for a training, and solicit questions from the attendees to demonstrate how to take the next step with eating disorders prevention in their community and potentially implement the Body Project Canada.
  3. Interactive Body Project Experience: 25 minutes
    The third and most exciting section of the workshop will be an interactive demonstration of the Body Project Canada program. Two undergraduate student peer leaders from Ryerson University will join the presenters and divide the workshop participants into smaller groups in order to guide participants  through a couple of exercises from the Body Project Canada curriculum.
  4. Summary and Final Questions: 10 minutes
    The half-day workshop will close with the presenters answering audience questions about personal experiences with the program and providing momentum for those interested in bringing the Body Project Canada to their campus or school!


Knowledge Level: All


Presenter Biographies

Alan Duffy, MS is Associate Director of the Body Project Collaborative and also Research Process Coordinator at Eating Recovery Center, Denver, Colorado. Alan has overseen adapting and disseminating the Body Project Canada. He has been collaborating with Dr. Carolyn Becker and disseminating the Body Project since 2007.  Alan received his MS in Exercise Science and Sport Psychology from Auburn University, Alabama and completed his BA at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom. Prior to his current post, Alan was a clinical Case Manager at Eating Recovery Center for three years. Previously, Alan served as a Health Educator at American University in Washington, DC. Alan has significant intervention and research experience with female athletes and served as the past Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Sport & Exercise Special Interest Group. Alan is currently a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group Oversight Committee. 

Colleen Conroy Amato, MSW RSW received her MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1997. Colleen has been working in the field of eating disorders for over fifteen years. Colleen has been a counsellor at Ryerson University Centre for Student Development and Counselling for the past 15 years. She has been supervising graduate students at Ryerson and the University of Toronto for the past five years. Currently she is housed in the Department of Athletics at Ryerson University and works exclusively with student athletes.

Colleen has used her expertise in eating disorders to provide direct services to hundreds of clients and consulted to staff and community groups on how best to help young women with eating disorders.

Prior to working at Ryerson and the University of Toronto, Colleen worked at the University of Waterloo and ran their eating disorder support group and was very active as the chair of Waterloo Region Eating Disorder Coalition. She worked in outpatient eating disorders at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital and prior to that she chaired the Central West Eating Disorder Advisory Committee. Colleen was a member of the start up committee for Danielle’s Place in its early development and currently sits on the Eating Disorder Community Advisory Committee in Toronto.

As a private practicioner in the field of eating disorders, she has also been a group leader at Sheena’s Place. She spearheaded the university and college support group called “The Campus and Me” for six years as well as “An After the Hospital group” and “The Artist’s Way Group”. Colleen was instrumental in a pilot project running an eating disorder support group at Ryerson University in conjunction with Sheena’s Place and other University campuses in Toronto.

Most recently, Colleen Amato brought the Body Project to Ryerson University. 

Patricia Nash, M.Ed, is the Counsellor and Program Facilitator with the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (EDFNL). Patricia joined the Foundation after a career teaching junior and senior high.  Patricia received her M.Ed from Memorial University in Counselling/Psychology. She spearheads EDFNL’s efforts to bring the Body Project Canada to universities and high schools across NL.

Cathy Skinner is the Program Coordinator with the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (EDFNL). Cathy has served on the Board of the Foundation for ten years and started to work for the Foundation in 2016 after a 30 career as a Training Manager 

Cathy co-facilitates the Bridge to Hope Family Education and Support Group. This is an 8 week support group and is offered about three times yearly. The first and last week of the group is for the families and facilitators. The other 6 weeks include a presentation by a health professional that is an expert in the area of Eating Disorders, Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, Dietitian and Psychologist. Cathy is also the co-facilitator of a 2 day Emotion Focused Family Therapy Workshop at the foundation. She is trained in EFFT through studying in Toronto with the founders of EFFT. 

In August 2016 Cathy was trained as a Master Trainer with the Body Project Canada.