The live webinar will describe strategies for forging and maintaining effective international collaborations. As a springboard for discussion, we will feature three groups of authors who contributed to the recently published Special Issue of the International Journal on Eating Disorders on Eating Disorders Research in Asia and whose research illustrates the success of their collaboration with colleagues across countries. Speakers also will share lessons learned from the formation and work of the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-ED) which leads the global effort to identify actionable genomic variation in eating disorders. Webinar attendees are encouraged to submit questions to the panel during the broadcast, with the facilitated discussion focusing on strategies for developing and maintaining international collaborations.
Speakers & Topics
- Ruth S. Weissman Welcoming remarks
- Jennifer J. Thomas Introduction
- Sook Ning Chua (Singapore) & Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft (USA) Collaborating on a study of the Prevalence of eating disorders in Singapore
- Neha Reza (Iran) Finding and collaborating with limited local resources—a brief personal testimonial
- Cynthia Bulik (Sweden/USA) & Lauren Thornton (USA) Growing a Global Consortium: Respecting Cultures, Laws, and Time Zones
- Jennifer J. Thomas, Panel Discussion
- Learn about key findings from research presented in a recently published special issue on eating disorders in Asia.
- Learn about strategies for forging and maintaining international collaborations from the leader of the largest global collaborative in the eating disorder field.
- Identify key hurdles to working with colleagues from a different country and how to overcome them.
Brief Speaker Biographies
Cynthia Bulik, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders and Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders; Professor of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health; and Associate Director, UNC Center for Psychiatric Genomics, Chapel Hill, USA. She is Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Her research teams at UNC and Karolinska Institutet (Centre for Eating Disorders Innovation-CEDI) are dedicated to deepening our understanding of the underlying biology and genetics of eating disorders and to advancing the evidence base for the treatment of these illnesses. As founder and co-chair of the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-ED), she leads the global effort to identify actionable genomic variation in eating disorders. She is Principal Investigator of the global Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Together with Ian Carroll, PhD, she conducts population-level and intensive longitudinal clinical investigations of the intestinal microbiota in eating disorders. For the past decade, with Donald Baucom, PhD and Jennifer Kirby, PhD, she has developed and disseminated a suite of couple-based interventions for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. She also serves as senior faculty on the SAMHSA-funded National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED)—the national authoritative source for information and training in eating disorders. She is dedicated to mentorship of junior investigators, especially women in STEM fields and is passionate about translating science for the public.
Sook Ning Chua, PhD is a clinical psychologist and a senior research fellow at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her primary area of research focuses on motivation, self-regulation, need satisfaction and well-being in the context of social relationships. Dr. 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, Dr. Chua 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. Dr. Chua is a Visiting Scholar with STRIPED at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she collaborates on a research projects including estimating prevalence of eating disorders in Singapore and Malaysia, and disordered weight control behaviors, cosmetic surgery and use of skin lightening products in Asia. Dr. Chua 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.
Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA and a licensed clinical psychologist. She has established programmatic lines of research centering on the use of Internet and technology for eating disorder prevention and treatment, eating disorder screening, sociocultural etiological and maintenance factors for eating disorders, and eating disorder recovery. Ultimately Dr. Fitzsimmons-Craft’s work aims to disseminate evidence-based interventions from research to practice as well as extend treatments in ways that will reach the large number of people in need of care for mental health problems but who are not receiving services. She is a Fellow in the Academy for Eating Disorders, is a current recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health K08 Career Development Award, and has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Fitzsimmons-Craft is passionate about increasing access to scalable, evidence-based mental health services, collaborating with numerous non-profit organizations, including the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), and statewide groups in the U.S. in order to do so.
Laura Thornton, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC and is the Deputy Director of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI). She has over 20 years of experience in survey design, data collection and management, analysis, and dissemination of findings of large-scale epidemiologic and community-based research and as an international eating disorders research coordinator. Dr. Thornton’s research focus includes evaluation of genetic factors influencing liability to and examining phenotypic aspects of eating disorders and obesity. Identifying and understanding risk factors for disordered eating and full-threshold eating disorders will aid in prevention, detection, and treatment efforts, eventually ameliorating the effects of these devastating illnesses. She is committed to advancing our understanding of all aspects of disordered eating from both an etiological and developmental perspective.
Jennifer J. Thomas, PhD is the Co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Thomas’s research focuses on avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder and other atypical eating disorders, as described in her books Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem?; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: Children, Adolescents, and Adults; and The Picky Eater’s Recovery Book: Overcoming Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She is currently principal investigator on several studies investigating the neurobiology and treatment of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and private foundations. She is the author or co-author of more than 140 scientific publications. She also serves as Secretary for the Academy for Eating Disorders and Associate Editor for the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
Ruth Striegel Weissman, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, Emerita, at Wesleyan University. Her research focuses on reducing the burden of suffering associated with eating and weight problems. Dr. Weissman’s studies have included work on defining and classifying eating disorders, identifying risk factors for the development of eating and weight disorders, treatment effectiveness, and health services utilization and costs related to obesity, binge eating, and eating disorders. Her 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. Her contributions to the field have been recognized with several awards, including the AED’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Weissman is a founding member and former president of the Academy for Eating Disorder. She also served as president of the Eating Disorders Research Society. Dr. Weissman is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Dr. Weissman cares deeply about mentoring early career scholars and improving equity and inclusion in the academic community.