Vanessa Curran is the Research Coordinator for Alsana Treatment Centers in St. Louis Missouri. She obtained both her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from Webster University. Vanessa has published a research study on the topic of eating disorders and sexual identity. Since joining Alsana Treatment Center in 2009, Vanessa has worked in Direct Care, Anxiety Services, and now as the research coordinator. “In my current position, I work to integrate evidence-based testing with treatment planning and program improvement,” said Vanessa. Vanessa shared that she “loves working at Alsana because Alsana is the only facility that I have worked at where every single person cares about their job, the clients and their co-workers. Vanessa shared “I have always wanted to work with those who struggle with eating disorders. I found it interesting and have always understood this particular area of disorders; I have a special place in my heart for those who suffer from eating disorders.”
Vanessa works directly with the Alsana research committee which includes Nancy Albus, LPC, Nicole Siegfried, Ph.D, Heidi Strickler, LCSW, CEDS, & Alex Solaro, B.A. Alsana currently incorporates the use of eleven different psychological inventories and assessments into our treatment process. Vanessa shared “the main focus of our research program at this time is on incorporating these psychological assessments with clients throughout their stay.” “Our goal is to align our standards of excellence closer with our accrediting bodies, by using evidence based assessments to inform our treatment and treatment plans. We will also utilize this data to evaluate our program and treatment outcomes,” said Vanessa.
Upon admission the following inventories are administered with clients:
- Background Questionnaire (Designed by Alsana)
- Beck Anxiety Inventory
- Beck Depression Inventory
- Anorexia Nervosa Stages of Change Questionnaire
- Eating Disorder Quality of Life Scale
- Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire
- Eating Disorder Inventory
- Vancouver Obsessional Compulsive Inventory
- Social Interaction Anxiety Scale
- Trauma Symptom Inventory II
- Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS is only administered to clients reporting traumatic events in intake evaluation)
In addition to the eleven inventories administered upon admission, Vanessa has clients complete nine of the inventories at six weeks and twelve weeks during the treatment process. She then has clients complete the eleven inventories at the time of discharge. Vanessa also follows up with clients at three intervals post discharge: Three months, six months and twelve months to have them fill out the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire.
As we look to the future Vanessa shared “It is our plan to implement the use of these inventories with all affiliates and locations, as we are working to coordinate research findings among all locations. We would like to incorporate more formal research studies as we further develop our privacy board. It is Alsana’s vision to be a national center of excellence for treating eating disorders by developing the best possible approaches through continued evaluation, using empirical data. Nicole Siegfried, Ph.D, Director of Research shared “our research department is comprised of staff with expertise in research methods and data analysis who are committed to evaluating outcomes to continue to deliver the innovative evidence-based treatments for which Alsana is known.”