The UCAN Program
UCAN is a research program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and is part of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. UCAN aims to help couples work together in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Couples participate in UCAN over a period of six months and return for follow-up treatment three months after the end of the original six-month period. Your participation in UCAN can help you gain new confidence in facing anorexia as a team and can help us understand how best to involve partners in the treatment of eating disorders.
What Couples Can Expect:
Couples can expect that their treatment will be conducted by trained, licensed professionals from the UNC Eating Disorders Program who are experienced in the treatment of eating disorders.
All participating couples have four assessments during which they complete questionnaires and interviews with a clinician, and are videotaped having a discussion with their partner about an anorexia nervosa-related topic.
During their participation in UCAN, couples will be randomly assigned (like a coin flip) to receive 20 sessions of either:
• Couples Therapy
• Family Supportive Therapy
In addition, the patient also receives comprehensive treatment for anorexia nervosa from the UNC Eating Disorders Program at no additional cost, including:
• Individual Psychotherapy
• Psychiatry Consultations
• Nutritional Counseling
The UCAN project may be appropriate for you if:
• You or your partner has anorexia nervosa;
• You and your partner are married or have been in a committed relationship for over a year and are currently living together;
• You and your partner speak and read English;
• You and your partner agree to participate.
If you and your partner meet all of these conditions and want more information about UCAN, please call our study coordinator at (919) 966-3065 or email UCAN@unc.edu.
The UCAN Team
Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., FAED is a Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is also Professor of Nutrition in the School of Public Health and the Director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. Since she received her doctorate in 1988 in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, she has been actively involved in developing treatment programs and conducting research on eating disorders. Her work has focused on all aspects of eating disorders from genetics to treatment. Dr. Bulik has written over 300 scientific papers and chapters on eating disorders and is author of the books Eating Disorders: Detection and Treatment (Dunmore), Runaway Eating: The 8 Point Plan to Conquer Adult Food and Weight Obsessions (Rodale), and a soon to be released book Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop (Bloomsbury). She has won several awards including the Eating Disorders Coalition Research Award and the Academy for Eating Disorders Leadership Award for Research and has served as president of the Academy for Eating Disorders and Vice President of the Eating Disorders Coalition. She holds the first endowed professorship in eating disorders in the United States.
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Donald H. Baucom, Ph.D. is the Richard Lee Simpson Distinguished Professor of Psychology and a Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since he received his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1976, he has been actively involved in developing and evaluating couple-based interventions from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. This work has included focusing on interventions for relationally distressed couples, enhancing the relationships of happy couples, preparing couples for marriage, and employing couple-based interventions for couples in which one partner has a health or psychological problem. He has conducted more couple therapy intervention trials than any other active researcher. He also has been an active clinician in private practice with couples for more than 30 years. In addition to his research in the couples area, he and Norman Epstein have published two books on couple therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Couple Therapy (1990); and their second volume published in 2002 by APA, Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Couples: A Contextual Approach. He has won several teaching awards, and he holds an endowed chair at the University of North Carolina. He gives frequent workshops to professionals in the United States and other countries.
Jennifer S. Kirby, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is Director of the Couple Therapy Clinic at UNC where she also trains and supervises graduate students and mental health professionals in cognitive-behavioral couple therapy. Over the past ten years, Drs. Kirby and Baucom have collaborated in the development and evaluation of a number of relationship intervention programs from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. These have included working with couples who are experiencing emotion dysregulation, health concerns such as breast cancer, extramarital affairs, anorexia nervosa, and couples who are preparing for marriage. Her interest and expertise in training others in couples therapy is enriched by her teaching of doctoral courses in clinical supervision and empirically supported treatments for adults. She also maintains an active private practice with couples and individuals.
Directions: All treatment sessions will be conducted either at UNC's Eating Disorders Program (first floor of the UNC Neurosciences Hospital) or in the Finley Community Research Center and Clinic (next to UNC's Finley golf course).
(Click on either location for specific directions)