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October 26, 2022

Staff Spotlight, Jonathan Levy

Staff Spotlight, Jonathan Levy

Tell us about yourself!

I’m Jonathan Levy, Medical Director and Director of Psychiatric Services for The Emily Program’s Atlanta Eating Disorder Treatment Center for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. I am a physician specializing in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I am also a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a CEDS-S (Certified Eating Disorder Specialist – Supervisor). In addition, I serve as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry for Emory University School of Medicine and for Morehouse School of Medicine in its Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining The Emily Program, I worked in various clinical settings, including at a PHP eating disorder program, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Georgia Regional State Hospital, and in private practice.

Describe the career path that led you to The Emily Program.

I had no real exposure to eating disorders in training, so it might be one of the last things I imagined I would be doing. Once I began in private practice, I was fortunate enough to know several therapists who specialized in eating disorders, and they started referring patients to me. I quickly developed a great interest in eating disorders. Eventually, I began working as a psychiatrist for a freestanding PHP program. I learned an enormous amount there, which further fueled my interest in the field. I also discovered how much I genuinely enjoyed working with patients with these complex disorders.

Eventually, I was lucky enough to be given a chance to join The Emily Program. I joined the team in December 2017. At that time, the only treatment center in Atlanta was an outpatient clinic and IOP program, managed adeptly by Dr. Anna Tanner and Taylor Rae Homesley. I began my role as the Medical Director of the Atlanta Hospital when it opened in June 2018; the rest is history!

What one thing do you wish everyone knew about eating disorders?

I wish people understood more about eating disorders in general, as the illnesses are often so misunderstood. I wish that even some in my profession understood that people suffering with eating disorders can and do recover fully. And, in cases where they do not, it is not because they are weak or deliberately choose not to. The people we have the honor of treating are some of the strongest, most courageous, and most capable people I’ve encountered. I wish people understood the complex etiology, course, and lived experiences of these illnesses.

If you could do another job just for a day, what would it be?

If I could do another job just for one day, I would be a car mechanic. It’s semi-outdoors, I’d get to work with my hands, and I could visibly and quickly fix something. My hands would be covered in grease, so no one would question whether I had been working hard, and I’d get to wear one of those jumpsuits with my name on it. But just for one day.

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