Thursday May 4, 2017

Alumna finds passion working with those affected by eating disorders

By Jen Straniero

Ashley Solomon, Ph.D., recalls being 7 years old and fiercely concerned as to why in all the Hasbro commercials on kids’ TV channels, boys always beat the girl competitors in board games. She was so concerned that she wrote a letter to Hasbro, trying to understand why girls never won. This keen interest in gender differences, on a psychological level, remains with Solomon to this day. 

Solomon, who graduated from the University of Dayton in 2005, was a Psychology major with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Communication. Solomon went on to pursue her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology. Two years ago, Solomon opened the Eating Recovery Center of Ohio in Cincinnati and is currently the executive director. During her time at UD, Solomon was the editor for the Women’s Center Newsletter. Solomon, then Ashley Neu, wrote articles on topics such as grief support on campus, alleviating stress around the holidays, and the inclusion of Muslim students into UD campus culture.

Since she was a child, Solomon had a passion for psychology, calling herself a, “little nerd who was obsessed with Freud in middle school.” Her mother encouraged her to think critically about the world around her. “Advocacy was in my bones,” Solomon describes, “and feminism was not a dirty word in my house growing up.” Solomon decided in college that she wanted eating disorder recovery and research to be her life’s work. The topic of eating disorders combined her love of psychology and medicine. 

An eating disorder is a neurological disease and requires not only medical attention, but psychological attention. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, specifically anorexia nervosa. They are often linked with one or more other types of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and/or obsessive compulsive disorder. Eating disorders, on a macro-level, affect women more than men, and tend to strike initially during the adolescent to young adult years. Her mission is to restore patients nutritionally, physically, and psychologically.

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