Dr Jane Miskovic Wheatley honoured at Maker and Shaper Awards

5 Dec, 2023

InsideOut’s Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley was presented with a Diversity and Inclusion Maker & Shaper award by the Faculty of Medicine and Health for her work in leading the everyBODYwelcome! collaboration initiated by Australia's seven national eating disorder organisations. Makers and Shapers awards are presented by the faculty each semester to celebrate staff who go above and beyond in their roles.

The EveryBODYwelcome! collaboration was initiated in August 2022 to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and promote access to intersectional, person-centred, and gender-affirming care for members of the LGBTQA+ community affected by body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, or an eating disorder. The collaboration launched as part of the Sydney World Pride 2023 celebrations and has been organically growing ever since.

 The collaboration’s approach challenges conventional wisdom on eating disorders by recognising clinical insights and emerging research indicate that people who identify as part of the LGBTQA+ community can experience high levels of body dissatisfaction, disordered eating and eating disorders . Stigma, discrimination, internalised homophobia or transphobia, and concealment of gender or sexual identity have been found to be associated with high levels of risk. LGBTQA+ communities systematically experience stigmatisation, discrimination and denial of health care within all levels of healthcare settings, especially transgender people. It is essential that clinicians and health and mental health care providers are aware of the increased risks to LGBTQA+ communities and are educated in how to sensitively and respectfully interact with people who present with gender and sexuality diversity. This is also vital in supporting members of the LGBTQA+ community to more safely share their experiences and needs.

‘It was so well received it is clear there is ongoing need for the eating disorder sector to continue to acknowledge and support diverse communities. The collaboration will continue to provide a space for the many individuals interested in joining the effort,’ Dr Miskovic Wheatley said.

‘People with lived experience of an eating disorder within the LGBTQA+ community, their families and supports, have shared insights with our organisations about their unique experiences of illness, access and barriers to appropriate supports and recovery. These experiences help us to better understand how, as organisations within the everyBODYwelcome! collaboration, we can be helpful throughout the treatment and recovery journey, acknowledging the unique and valuable experience of every individual.’ 

Dr Miskovic-Wheatley felt honoured by her nomination for the Maker and Shaper Award for Diversity and inclusion, highlighting that team nature of the work she does.

‘I work within a team full of people from a variety of disciplines who all consistently go above and beyond. Our team work on a variety of research, clinical, digital, education, policy, promotion and advocacy programs aimed at improving the lives of people with lived experience of eating disorders, their families and carers, and care providers. To be recognised within this group of people I don’t see as a personal recognition, but more of a collaborative one, because this work doesn’t happen without a supportive team.

'InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders collaborated with Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Centre, the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, Butterfly, Eating Disorders Families Australia, Eating Disorders Neurodiversity Australia and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration on EveryBODY welcome.