Spokepersons and experts

Howard Steiger, Ph.D.

Howard Steiger, Ph.D.
Head, Eating Disorders Continuum, Douglas University Institute, Montreal West Island Integrated University Health & Social Service Centre (IUHSSC)Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Psychology, McGill University and UQAM

Howard Steiger directs Quebec’s only large-scale, specialized eating-disorders program—the Douglas Institute Eating Disorders Continuum (EDC). The EDC is at the hub of Quebec’s effort to treat people (adolescents and adults) affected by eating disorders (EDs) in the anorexia and bulimia nervosa spectrum. The EDC offers a full spectrum of specialized services (organized according to best-practice principles), conducts research to guide future treatment and prevention efforts, and provides training in evaluation and treatment to professionals working at various levels within the health-care and university systems. Howard Steiger is Professor in Psychiatry and Associate Member in Psychology at McGill University. An active clinician, researcher, and teacher, he has published numerous articles and book chapters on the eating disorders (EDs). He is Co-President of the Quebec Government’s “Body Image Charter” (CHIC), a recent Associate Editor of the International Journal of EDs, and Past President of the ED Research Society. Through the research arm of the Douglas EDC, Steiger and his colleagues study: a) Genetic and epigenetic processes acting in ED development and maintenance. b) Factors that influence response to specialized treatments. c) Effects of specialized, system-wide knowledge transfer and prevention efforts. Results of this work demonstrate that EDs result from an interplay between genetic vulnerabilities and environmental “triggers“--in which heritable susceptibilities of various kinds become amplified by environmental stressors and, often, “switched on” by effects of too much dieting. Importantly, these findings point to different causal processes in different individuals -- different balances of hereditary, experiential and dietary effects in different people -- and therefore help prescribe individualized methods of treatment. In the latter regard, recent findings advocate for emphasis upon noncoercive, “autonomy supportive” methods of treatment, offered in individual, group and family modalities.

I join the Walk for Mental Health every year to…
…help sensitize people to mental-health problems and treatments and, especially, to inform them about eating disorders.
…inform the public about mental-health problems and help reduce stigma associated with them.