I am a faculty member at Wesleyan University where my research career focuses on reducing the burden of suffering associated with eating and weight problems. My studies have included work on defining and classifying eating disorders, studies of risk factors for the development of eating and weight disorders, treatment outcome studies, and research of health services utilization and costs related to obesity, binge eating, and eating disorders. Courses I teach include Positive Psychology, Seminar on Eating Disorders, and Advanced Research Methods in a variety of topical areas (e.g., epidemiology; psychosocial interventions).
Before coming to Wesleyan, I held research staff positions in the Department of Psychology at Yale University (New Haven, CT) and a clinical staff position at Rothaarklinik (Bad Berleburg, Germany). I earned a Diploma in Psychology from the Eberhard-Karls-Universität of Tübingen, Germany and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. I completed my internship at Bellevue Hospital/New York University in New York, NY.
My research has been generously funded by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and by the American Diabetes Association. In addition, a ten-year conference grant was co-funded by the NIMH and the National Institute on Child Health and Development.
I was a featured expert in the documentary “Dying to be Thin,” and my research has been cited in numerous media outlets and newspapers including the New York Times and USA Today.
My contributions to research and teaching have been recognized with awards including the Academy for Eating Disorders Leadership Award for Research; the Research Award of the Coalition for Eating Disorders Research, Policy, and Action; the New England Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contribution Award; and the Mentoring Award by the Section on Clinical Psychology of Women of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. I am a past president of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and past president of the Eating Disorders Research Society. Effective January 2013, I will be Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
My current research explores the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of a peer-guided versus “pure” (unguided) self-help program for treating binge eating in university students (BEST4US). I am very grateful that this project is supported with a grant Academic Research Enhancement Award from the NIDDK.