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Prevention of Eating-Related Disorders : Speaker’s Biographies


Gail McVey, Ph.D., C.Psych
, is a Psychologist and Health Systems Scientist in the Community Health Systems Resource Group at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is also Director of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders, and holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto, and as Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences in the Research Institute at Sick Kids Hospital. She currently holds a 5-year Mid-Career Award funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Gender and Health) and the Ontario Women's Health Council and is conducting research in the area of prevention of disordered eating. She is the recipient of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation’ Paul Christie Memorial Prize in recognition for outstanding research in the field of mental health research, and was honored last year by the Eating Disorder Association of York Region for her Loyalty, Professionalism and Dedication to the battle against Eating Disorders. Dr McVey has published studies on longitudinal research on school-based prevention programs including a recent web-based training tool for elementary school teachers. She is a member of the Body Image Coalition of Peel, the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition, and the Canadian School Physical Activity and Nutrition Network. She is co-author of the Every BODY is a Somebody's prevention manual for girls.


Michael P. Levine, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology (personality) from UC Santa Barbara in 1979. He is currently Samuel B. Cummings Jr. Professor of Psychology (shared with Dr. Linda Smolak) at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. His scholarly interests are the prevention of negative body image and disordered eating, and the links between those topics and mass media, community psychology, and public health. He has published many articles and chapters on these topics, and presented numerous papers and invited talks at professional meetings and educational conferences in the United States, Canada, Spain, Australia, and Great Britain. Dr. Levine is the co-editor (along with Drs. Smolak and Ruth Striegel-Moore) of the book The Developmental Psychopathology of Eating Disorders (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1996) and (with Drs. Niva Piran and Catherine Steiner-Adair) of Preventing Eating Disorders: A Handbook of Interventions and Special Challenges (Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel, 1999). More recently, Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates published Levine and Smolak’s (2006) book The Prevention of Eating Problems and Eating Disorders: Theory, Research, and Practice.Levine is currently a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), and a former member and president of the volunteer**board of trustees of the non-profit organization, Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention, Inc., which became the basis for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). In 2004 he received the Lori Irving Award for Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness from NEDA, and in June 2006 he received the Meehan-Hartley Award for Leadership in Public Awareness and Advocacy from the AED.


Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute and the Director of the Center on Early Adolescence. For the past 25 years, he has been doing research on the prevention of child and adolescent problems. The work has included school and family-focused interventions to prevent antisocial behavior, as well as tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use. It has also involved community interventions designed to mobilize a broad range of influences on child and adolescent development. During the 2000-2001 school year, Dr. Biglan led a team of scholars in a review of current knowledge about the development and prevention of youth problem behaviors. Helping adolescents at risk: Prevention of multiple problem behaviors summarizes the evidence and defining next steps for research and practice. He also co-authored Community-monitoring systems: Tracking and improving the well-being of America’s children and adolescents, a monograph published by the Society for Prevention Research. This is available electronically at http://www.preventionresearch.org. He is the author of the 1995 book, Changing cultural practices: A contextualist framework for intervention research, published by Context Press. Current work includes interventions affecting parenting and school practices influencing youth development and advocating for the widespread adoption of empirically supported childrearing practices. He is the Past President of the Society for Prevention Research.


Linda Smolak, Ph.D. is Samuel B. Cummings Jr. Professor of Psychology at Kenyon College. Her research focuses on the development of body image and eating problems in both girls and boys. Her research particularly focuses on gender and sociocultural issues in the development of these problems. In 2006, she published a co-authored book with Michael P. Levine entitled “The Prevention of Eating Problems and Eating Disorders” (Erlbaum).She is co-editor, with J. Kevin Thompson, of the forthcoming “Body image, eating disorders, and obesity in youth” (2nd ed.; American Psychological Association). She was awarded the Price Family Award for Contributions to Eating Disorders Research by the National Eating Disorders Association in 2007.


Niva Piran, Ph.D., C.Psych is a Professor of Education at the University of Toronto and a clinical psychologist. She has worked as a Consultant to the National Ballet School of Canada and to other schools in the area of body image and the prevention of eating disorders. Dr. Piran is known for her innovative work in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders. She has co-edited two books (the second one entitled "Preventing Eating Disorders: A Handbook of Interventions and Special Challenges") and has published widely in the area of eating disorders. She is also the Prevention Editor of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. Dr. Piran holds large-scale research grants in the areas of women’s health and body image.


Leora Pinhas, MD, FRCPC, Ph.D. candidate is a child and adolescent psychiatrist in the eating disorder program and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders and obesity in children and adolescents. She is the co-editor of the book “Help for Eating Disorders: a parent’s guide to symptoms causes and treatments and she is the founding member of the Eating Disorder Association of Canada. She is currently working on her PhD in epidemiology.


Lindsay McLaren, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Population Health Investigator. She has degrees in Psychology (BA hons, MA) and Public Health (PhD). Her research is focused on understanding the social determinants of weight-related issues including obesity and body image, and in particular understanding the socioeconomic patterning of these health issues and some of the social drivers at the population level. Aside from research, she teaches an undergraduate level course in the Determinants of Health and a graduate level course in Health Research Methods.


Joe Kelly, is a journalist, activist and father as well as the co-founder of Dads & Daughters® (DADs), the only national nonprofit for fathers and daughters, whose mission is making the world safe and fair for our daughters. DADs also publishes the award-winning online and print publication Daughters®: For Parents of Girls. Kelly is also the author of Dads and Daughters, which has been called “an essential aid for the fathers of adolescent girls.” In 1993, Kelly and his wife Nancy Gruver founded the groundbreaking New Moon®: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. Edited by girls 8 to 14 years old, New Moon is the only child-edited publication to win the prestigious Parent’s Choice Foundation Gold Award multiple times. Gruver and Kelly won Parenting magazine’s 1995 Parenting Achievement Award. Kelly has won the Women’s Sports Foundation Title IX Father of the Year, Eating Disorders Coalition’s Activist of the Year, Ann Bancroft Foundation Award, and iParenting.com’s Dad of the Year. He belongs to the National Fatherhood Initiative, Center for Family Policy & Practice, National Domestic Violence Hotline Men’s Task Force, and is on the board of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. Kelly has spoken before the National Association of Independent Schools, National Association of Science and Technology Centers, AAUW, National Eating Disorders Association, and schools and fathering conferences across the US. He also has testified before the Congressional Children’s Caucus, President Bush’s blue ribbon Title IX commission, and the FDA; and written two Annie E. Casey Foundation fathering program guides.


Susan Paxton, Ph.D., is Professor and Head of the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University. She has a longstanding clinical and research interest in body image and eating disorders. She has a particular interest in identification of social and psychological risk factors for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating that can inform prevention interventions. In addition, her research has evaluated the effectiveness of prevention, early intervention and treatment programs for body image and eating problems. Her recent work has also evaluated internet delivered interventions for girls and young women. Susan is committed to translating research into public health and clinical arenas. She has worked on a number of government advisory boards and is a member of the Community Advisory Committee on Body Image and also the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Eating Disorders for the Victorian State Government. She is immediate past President of the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, and is the forthcoming President-elect of the Academy of Eating Disorders.


Alison Colavecchia, M.A. C.Psych. Assoc. is Regional Coordinator of the Central West Eating Disorder Program (CWEDP- www.cwedp.ca ) a regionally organized network of treatment providers including: the Credit Valley Hospital; Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services; Halton Healthcare Services- OTMH site; and the William Osler Health Centre- Brampton Civic Hospital. Previously, services were provided exclusively on an outpatient basis to children, adolescents and adults but have recently expanded to include acute care to adults at the Credit Vally Hospital. Alison is also a founding Board of Director's member of Danielle's Place, a support and resource centre for individuals whose lives have been touched by an eating disorder. She has a huge respect for the enormity of the task before primary care providers and has spoken at clinical and academic venues around the importance of physician support and development. The CWEDP received a Primary Healthcare Transition Fund (PHCTF) grant to develop, deliver and evaluate a program for primary care providers to promote comfort and confidence in working with these complex disorders.