Current and Upcoming Fellows and Visiting Scholars
Suman Ambwani, PhD
Dr. Suman Ambwani is Program Director for Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Child Development & Diversity at DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Suman conducts research that informs policies with regards to dieting, thin-promoting, and fat-shaming sociocultural environments. She also investigates public attitudes, barriers, and opportunities to enact anti-weight-discrimination legislation. Suman is interested in researching pseudo-scientific behaviors such as “clean-eating” and “cleanses” to hopefully inform legislative efforts to regulate the sale and marketing of these products and dietary plans. Suman is collaborating with STRIPED on various ongoing projects.
Maya Azar Atallah received her MSc in Nutrition and Behaviour in 2019, from Bournemouth University in England, with a focus on the impact of food policies on eating behaviors. As part of her master’s thesis, she conducted a study on the relationship between frequent nutrition fact label use and weight control measures among Lebanese young adults. Her primary goal was to determine if frequent use of nutrition fact labels is associated with higher engagement in healthy/unhealthy/extreme weight control measures and binge eating disorder, as a way to identify if high reliance on nutrition fact labels could be predictive of disordered eating and eating disorders. She became passionate about primary prevention of eating disorders through policy action while completing her MSc and studying the mental and social distress of experiencing an eating disorder as well the economic burden of eating disorder treatment on the healthcare system as well as the individuals. Maya collaborates with STRIPED as a research fellow on a global policy scan survey aimed to assess the different regulations of weight loss supplements in different countries. Maya plans to complete a PhD in public health to improve policies and fill in the gaps needed to build better primary prevention of eating disorders.
Ariel Beccia, PhD
Dr. Ariel Beccia received her PhD in epidemiology from the Clinical and Population Health Research program at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA. Her dissertation research was funded by an F31 fellowship from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and examined the distribution and upstream determinants of gendered inequities in eating disorders, with a secondary focus on developing and refining social epidemiologic methods for quantitative intersectionality research. As a trainee with both STRIPED and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Health Equity Research Collective, she has also collaborated on several projects focused on identifying mental health inequities affecting diverse LGBTQIA+ populations. Prior to her PhD training, Ariel conducted research on the “gender puzzle” of alternative medicine use and the use of mindfulness-based interventions for eating disorders and other mental health issues. Ariel received her MS in Integrative Medicine Research from Helfgott Research Institute and BS Neuroscience and Gender & Sexuality Studies from St. Lawrence University. As a STRIPED postdoctoral fellow, Ariel will continue her work on population-level eating disorder inequities, focusing specifically on the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and economic policies have had on risk.
Dr. Sook Ning Chua is the founder of Relate Malaysia – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the provision of mental health services, education, training and advocacy since 2015. As a clinical psychologist, international researcher and educator, Sook has an extensive body of research publications and has shared her expertise across a wide range of subjects at conferences worldwide, from Singapore to the Netherlands and Canada. Her research interests include motivation, self-regulation, and mental health interventions. Sook is collaborating with STRIPED on a number of research projects, including estimating prevalence rates of eating disorders in Singapore and Malaysia, and disordered weight control behaviors, cosmetic surgery and use of skin lightening products in Asia. As an eating disorders specialist and renowned mental health advocate, Sook has been a sought-after speaker over the past 10 years, appearing on radio and in print media, as well as delivering three TEDx Talks since 2017. A clinician who practices in Singapore and Malaysia, Sook is recognized as a driven and determined thought leader in psychology throughout Southeast Asia, motivated by a desire to raise the standard of mental health on an individual, organizational, and societal level.
Nadia Craddock, EdM
Nadia Craddock is a PhD student at the University of the West of England, where she is exploring whether and under what conditions the fashion, beauty, and advertising industries can foster positive body image. She seeks to understand how body image impacts those who work in these industries, as well as the opportunities for and challenges to fostering positive body image in their work. During her time with STRIPED, Nadia delved into STRIPED’s research studies related to the fashion industry and its educational and legislative initiatives on dietary supplements, UV tanning, and skin bleaching to help inform her future investigative partnerships. Nadia collaborated with STRIPED on various projects during the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019.
Katelyn Ferreira, MPH
Katelyn received her MPH in 2018 from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she focused on Social Determinants of Health and Disparities and completed a concentration in Women, Gender, & Health. Prior to graduate school, she completed a BA in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Katelyn has worked as a caseworker for incarcerated individuals and in direct service roles serving children living with mental illness and their families. In 2015, she lived and worked in Malaysian Borneo as Fulbright grantee.
Katelyn’s passion for working in the field of eating disorder prevention was galvanized through personal experience. She interned with the Multiservice Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) as an undergraduate, and worked with STRIPED on legislative advocacy and provider education projects as an MPH student. As a STRIPED fellow, Katelyn is currently working on projects related to addressing weight stigma in research as well as educating pediatricians on screening and referrals to treatment for eating disorders. Katelyn hopes that her work will advance health equity by promoting prevention and access to care for marginalized communities affected by eating disorders.
Laura Hart, PhD
Dr. Laura Hart is a Research Fellow in the EMBodIED Research Team (Engaging Minds in Body Image and Eating Disorders Research) at La Trobe University’s School of Psychology and Public Health in Melbourne, Australia. She was awarded an Australia Awards-Endeavor Scholarship. Laura is collaborating with with STRIPED on various ongoing projects.
Laura has been working in the field of public mental health since 2007. Her work focuses on developing and evaluating training courses for the public to improve prevention, awareness and help-seeking for mental illness. As the winner of multiple awards for outstanding research presentations, her work has been recognized at national and international scientific conferences. She is currently working on two projects funded by Australian Rotary Health. The Confident Body, Confident Child program is a new evidence-based parenting program to promote body satisfaction, healthy eating patterns and weight management in children aged 2-6 years. The teen Mental Health First Aid program, based at the University of Melbourne and in partnership with Mental Health First Aid Australia, is a new evidence-based training program for students in grades 10-12 to learn how to assist a peer who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Rebecca Hutcheson, MSW
Becca Hutcheson received a MSW from the University of Washington and a BSW from the University of Texas at Austin. Becca began her career as a social worker in inpatient psychiatric, community mental health, non-profit youth, and inpatient medical settings. She then spent almost two decades working in public health, coordinating CDC-funded HIV prevention research, developing and managing a program to assess and improve the quality of HRSA-funded HIV care services, providing TA to state health department HIV care programs, directing capacity building assistance to state and local HIV prevention programs across the United States, and collaborating with community health centers and school district administrators to integrate comprehensive health and mental health services in Seattle elementary schools. During this time she served as a member of multiple local, state, and national steering committees and received awards from the HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau’s National Quality Center for Leadership and Consumer Involvement. Becca is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Services Research at the University of Washington with an emphasis on Health and Public Health Systems Research. She hopes that her research and experiences working in and with local, state, and federal public health programs can contribute to improvements in health and public health systems’ engagement in early identification, early intervention, and improved access to care for persons with eating disorders.
Dr. Andrea López-Cepero is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Nutrition Department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her PhD in Clinical and Population Health Research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, MHSN in Health Sciences and Nutrition from the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences campus, and BS in Cellular Molecular Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras campus. Dr. López-Cepero’s main research interests rely on identifying stress and dysfunctional eating behaviors influencing cardiometabolic health in Latinos, especially Puerto Ricans, with the goal of developing culturally-tailored interventions to achieve health equity in these populations. As a young scientist, she has conducted groundbreaking research that highlights how weight gain, psychological stress, and poor carbohydrate quality may be rendering Latinos to a greater metabolic disadvantage and risk of type 2 diabetes. She has also conducted pioneering work on emotional eating in Latinos that have concluded that emotional eating is associated with food insecurity, overeating, and cardiometabolic diseases (i.e., obesity, type 2 diabetes) in this group. Her work in this novel field has been recognized multiple times by the American Society for Nutrition. Dr. López-Cepero is a strong advocate for minority health and health equity, and for this she has been recently recognized as one of the El Mundo Boston Latino 30 under 30 and a 2020 Health Disparities Research Institute Scholar.
Flora Or, MHS, ScD
Dr. Flora Or received her Doctor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to her doctoral work, Flora completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Emory University and received a master’s degree in mental health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Over the course of her academic training, Flora has been involved in a number of initiatives and research projects addressing mental health issues in underserved populations, including randomized field trials in Baltimore schools, the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and advocacy for increased access to mental health care globally through the UN General Assembly. Flora’s current research applies insights from the fields of behavioral economics, computer science, marketing, and public health to understand behaviors related to psychological well-being, ranging from smoking and substance use to healthy eating and physical activity. Through the STRIPED fellowship, Flora aims to evaluate the harmful effect of under-regulated dietary supplements using the adverse events data from the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration.
Dr. Amanda Raffoul received her MSc and PhD from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Amanda’s PhD dissertation focused on the unintended consequences of weight and nutrition policies (such as calorie labelling) on disordered eating. She became interested in eating disorder prevention while completing her BA in Psychology at the University of Windsor and was actively engaged in community-based prevention programming. Amanda continues to volunteer with a range of national, community-, and campus-based initiatives related to positive body image, gender equity, and weight-related advocacy. Amanda is joining STRIPED as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by a three-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship, where she will lead trailblazing policy analyses using microsimulation modeling and a Delphi study of leaders in the fields of eating disorders, weight studies, nutrition, and mental health to identify gaps in eating disorders prevention.
Stacie June Shelton, MPH
Stacie June Shelton has her MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Behavior Change. She has over 20 years of experience in public health research, program & partnership development, and project management.
Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar at STRIPED through October 2022. Stacie is the Global Head of Education and Advocacy for the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP), a role she has had since 2016. Stacie has worked on social impact programs and brands with a purpose at Unilever for over 11 years. DSEP is a set of programs and interventions designed to develop and increase body confidence and self-esteem in young people around the world. Before joining the Dove Self-Esteem Project in January 2016, Stacie was Global Social Mission Programme Manager on the Global Brand team for Unilever’s Lifebuoy soap, helping the brand promote Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Behavior Change among communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Iyiola Solanke, PhD
Dr. Iyiola Solanke is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Leeds, where she holds the Chair in EU Law and Social Justice. She sits on the General Council of International Society of Public Law and is an Associate of the Centre of Intersectional Justice.
Iyiola is interested in exploring how anti-weight discrimination law impacts the lived experience of weight stigma for those in larger bodies and has been working with legislators and advocates to examine the impact of such legislation. She comes to STRIPED to share ideas and collaborate with other researchers with the broader aim of identifying legal pathways to effectively protect this stigmatized group. Iyiola was a STRIPED Visiting Scholar in the summer of 2018 and will be back in August of 2019.
Check out Iyiola’s TEDxLondon talk here.
Trine Tetlie Eik-Nes, MSc, PhD
Trine Tetlie Eik-Nes is an Associate Professor at Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). She completed a MSc at the Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare at NTNU. She completed her PhD in Public Health at NTNU in 2018. She works with both registry data and clinical data on eating disorders and obesity. Eik-Nes has worked in the mental health sector for 20 years as a clinician and a researcher with a special interest in adult psychopathology. For the last 12 years, she has worked with severe weight and eating disorders. Her research interests are the epidemiology of obesity, weight disorders, eating disorders, body image and stigma. In 2008, she initiated and developed a treatment program for parents and their families with eating disorders at Levanger Hospital. She has also led several projects in the mental health sector concerning physical health in patients with mental disorders. During a 6-month visit at the Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in 2016, and a research stay in Australia in 2018, she gained important experience in the conduction of studies on obesity and disordered eating. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the nation-wide MHOBY Study (Mental Health & Obesity) in Norway and is currently working with development and testing of integrated treatment for patients with obesity and binge eating disorders (BED). Moreover, she is involved in several clinical and epidemiological studies concerning weight and eating disorders.
Kuanysh A Yergaliyev, MD, MPH, DrPH
Dr. Kuanysh Yergaliyev graduated from Kazakh National Medical University in Almaty (Kazakhstan). He received a Master of Public Health (2009) degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health (2019) from Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health. Prior to Harvard University, Kuanysh worked at the Department of Integrated Academic Health Systems, in Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), and held various managerial positions at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. His fields of expertise are strengthening health systems in middle income countries, evidence-based decision-making, health behavior change programs, health policy advocacy for children and adolescent health, and using qualitative and mixed research methods for health policy research. Kuanysh is a cofounder and current President of Harvard Chan Qualitative Methods Student Club and a cofounder and current President of Miras Boston Kazakh Cultural Foundation, which aims to meet cultural and social needs of Kazakh people in Greater Boston Area.
Kuanysh recently became the new director of Suleyman Demirel University in Kazakhstan, where he will lead the university’s academic initiatives and programs. Read more here.
Past Fellows and Visiting Scholars
Karin Dunker, PhD
Dr. Karin Dunker is a registered dietitian who has been working in the field of eating disorders since 1995. She received her undergraduate, master’s degree, and PhD from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Karin was awarded a Fulbright to University of California, Berkeley, while completing her PhD. In 2013, Karin conducted her post-doc at the Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine Department at the Federal University of São Paulo. Her post-doc research is titled “Integrated prevention program of obesity and eating disorders: a pilot study, randomized trial comparing the effects of the ‘New Moves’ applied in public schools of São Paulo” and was recently published.
Karin has been involved with eating disorder treatment centers. She worked for many years at a public outpatient eating disorders unit, Núcleo de Atenção aos Transtornos Alimentares” (PROATA) at Federal University of São Paulo, where she worked with patients who have binge eating disorder and bulimia. She also serves as the facilitator for the Mindfulness Based Eating and Motivational Group. Karin currently is a member of Specialized Group in Nutrition, Eating Disorders and Obesity (GENTA). GENTA develops annual prevention initiatives. Karin also works at the committee of new projects at Brazilian Association of ED (ASTRAL) and the Research Center (NUPE) at the Institute of Psychiatry at University of São Paulo (AMBULIM-IPq-HC-FMUSP). Karin teaches classes on ED prevention and motivational interviewing to dietitians in many centers. Karin will join STRIPED as a visiting scholar in October 2019.
Sarith Felber, LL.B, LL.M
Sarith Felber is an Israeli attorney. Until recently, Sarith worked at the Israeli Ministry of Justice, where she counseled the executive branch on regulatory and fiscal legislation. She often advised the government on the use of taxation as a policy tool, specifically in health-related issues. In this capacity, Sarith helped in shaping the Israeli regulation of new kinds of tobacco products. Before joining the Ministry of Justice, Sarith served as a senior law clerk in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sarith earned both her LL.B and LL.M from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (magna cum laude). Sarith collaborated with STRIPED in 2019, contributing to the initial planning of our Global Policy Scan on Weight Loss Dietary Supplements Regulation.
Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman, MHS
Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman is the Federal Affairs Manager for National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors in Washington, DC and manages the blog Everybody Deserves Recovery.
After an 18-year battle with an eating disorder, Shalini, is now a passionate recovery advocate. She writes and speaks about the importance of screening and early intervention, the negative impact that stereotypes and stigma have on treatment seeking, and the role of self-care. At STRIPED, Shalini will examine ways to better equip primary care clinicians to identify eating disorders in patients in larger bodies and refer them to care. Shalini collaborated with STRIPED during the fall of 2018.
Lesley Williams, MD
Dr. Lesley Williams is a board certified Family Medicine physician and eating disorder specialist. She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and completed her Family Medicine residency training at Mayo Clinic Arizona. Dr. Williams has been providing medical care for patients with eating disorders and other mental health issues for over 16 years. She currently serves at the Medical Team Lead for Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Williams is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in healthcare. She serves on the Academy of Eating Disorders’ DEI Committee and is an executive co-sponsor for Banner Health’s DEI Multicultural Team Resource Group. Dr. Williams recently authored a children’s book that celebrates body diversity, Free to Be Me: Self Love for All Sizes. Her areas of special interest include: health equity and health at every size advocacy. Due to her hard work and dedication in the eating disorder field, Dr. Williams has been previously recognized as one of the Top Female Eating Disorder Leaders in the United States. www.LesleyWilliamsMD.com. Dr. Williams collaborated with STRIPED during the fall of 2020.
Zali Yager, PhD
Dr. Zali Yager is an Associate Professor in Health and Physical Education at Victoria University in Melbourne Australia. Zali is an expert in the development and evaluation of body image interventions in schools and other settings. She has been awarded a Creswick Foundation traveling fellowship to visit STRIPED and develop interventions for the Body Confident Mums Project. In this work, Zali and collaborators (Dr Laura Hart and Dr Ivanka Prichard) are developing evidence-based body image and mental health resources and programming for mothers and professionals that work with mothers, particularly during the first 5 years of motherhood. Zali is also passionate about disruptive innovation and during her time at STRIPED, she will attend a Harvard Extension School Course in Design Thinking to explore the potential of using broader innovative processes in the development of health interventions. Zali collaborated with STRIPED during the spring of 2019.