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My name is Emily Pender. Originally from Chicago, I am now a senior studying Psychology (BS) and Economics (BA) with a minor in Medicine, Literature, and Culture. With this combination of studies, I have been able to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of drivers of human behavior and well-being across physical, psychological, social, cultural, and financial domains. Previously, I spent one year in Dr. Kurt Gray’s Mind Perception and Morality as a research assistant working on a broad scope of topics ranging from doctor-patient perceptions to cultural tightness. This semester, I am thrilled to be working as an intern at Veritas Collaborative Adult Hospital in Durham.

Veritas Collaborative is a national healthcare system for the treatment of eating disorders. They believe that eating disorders are fatal, but they don’t have to be. By providing access to the most appropriate level of care for persons with eating disorders in a gender-neutral environment, they are able to provide the highest quality of care to people from across the country. I am working in the Adult Hospital in Durham, which treats people ages 18 and up. This location was the first that Veritas opened.

Under the mentorship and supervision of Mem Wood, Associate Clinical Director, I have the opportunity to observe group therapy sessions, receive 1:1 training, and provide meal support to patients in the cafeteria and on outings. In the future, I may have the opportunity to co-facilitate group therapy sessions. I especially appreciate the weekly therapist meeting, where I am able to be involved as therapists collaborate on their cases to overcome challenges and improve patient outcomes.

I am very thankful for the opportunity that the Karen M. Gil Internship Program has given me to receive invaluable experience as a member of an outstanding clinical team. The work that Veritas does is not easy, but truly saves lives, turns the trajectory of patients around, and has a ripple-effect to make a positive impact on families and the community. My internship experience has given me the opportunity to develop professional skills in a clinical setting, to improve my patient interaction, and to better function on a team. I look forward to continuing my work at Veritas this semester.

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