Kristina Saffran was diagnosed with anorexia at ten years old. After four hospitalizations and many relapses, Kristina’s parents learned about Family Based Treatment (FBT), and with her parents' help, she finally recovered. In 2008, Kristina co-founded the nonprofit Project HEAL, with the mission to raise money for patients who did not have financial access to eating disorder treatment. As her understanding of the broken treatment system grew, she found herself returning to a vision of not only providing treatment access but also providing accessible treatment.
In 2016, Kristina was seated next to Dr. Erin Parks at the Academy for Eating Disorders annual conference. A clinical psychologist, researcher and co-director of one of the world’s best eating disorder programs (UC San Diego), Erin was also passionate about improving access to quality care, and was focused on another barrier to access: location. Families were travelling around the country seeking quality treatment--they had financial access to treatment through their employer-issued insurance, but they couldn’t find evidence-based treatment in their own communities.
Over the next 3 years, Kristina and Erin would talk to thousands of patients and their parents. They learned that not only was treatment expensive and hard to find, parents also wanted much more than simply local and affordable care. Families wanted treatment teams, with multiple specialists that were on the same page. They wanted practical support, with patient and parent mentors who understood their challenges. They wanted treatment that evolved with their family, following them during job relocations and leaving for college. And they wanted treatment that was enduring, that stayed with you through recovery and could catch relapses before they occurred.
In 2019, Kristina and Erin hired clinicians and parents and researchers and recovered patients and together, they built the treatment that families wanted and needed. Together, they built Equip.