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Keynote speakers

We are proud to present the following four keynote speakers for the NEDS 2020 program in Oslo:

Professor Bryn Austin

Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. S. Bryn Austin is an award-winning researcher, teacher, and mentor. She is Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital. She directs the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator, based at the Harvard Chan School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Austin is the President of the board of directors of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Immediate Past President of the board of directors of the Eating Disorders Coalition, and she serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. 

She is a social epidemiologist and behavioral scientist with a research focus on health inequities, especially those affecting socially marginalized adolescents, and she has received numerous grants funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and foundations to support her research. She leads two primary research programs:

  • One focuses on environmental influences on eating disorders risk and public health approaches to primary and secondary prevention of eating disorders with an emphasis on policy translation research and advocacy.
  • The second focuses on determinants of sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in a range of health domains, including disordered weight-related behaviors, substance use, bullying victimization, and other health risk indicators.

A unifying goal of her academic career has been to advance innovations in transdisciplinary science applied to eating disorders prevention and the study of health inequities adversely affecting sexual minority and transgender youth. Across her research and teaching initiatives, her aim is to offer the kinds of mentorship and opportunities that will help the next generation of talented junior scientists excel in their pursuit of health equity for all. 

Keynote title: 

“Accelerating Progress in Prevention of Eating Disorders: A call for Policy Translation Research & Training” 

Keynote Abstract:

The societal burden of eating disorders and the need for prevention are clear and compelling. Progress in prevention, however, has been slow, in part because of the overwhelming focus on interventions targeted at individual-level behavior change and the underwhelming contributions from professionals outside of the clinical disciplines. Progress in the field can be accelerated, but only through a realignment of our priorities, which we must shift in two critical ways to build:

  1. Translational research designed to inform policy and environmental changes with high potential for large-scale impact; and
  2. Training initiatives that increase disciplinary and practice expertise to inform policy translation action, including the disciplines of public health, economics, health law, and more.

By prioritizing policy translational research and training, we can substantially accelerate the pace of progress in eating disorders prevention. 

Professor Bryn Austin
Dr. KariAnne Vrabel

Dr. KariAnne Vrabel

Research Director, Modum Bad Research Institute, Specialist in Psychology, Associate professor

KariAnne R. Vrabel is a PhD and specialist in clinical psychology. Over the last decade she has been actively involved in research focusing on increasing the knowledge about eating disorders. For many years she has been working as a clinician and researcher at Modum Bad, Norway – a specialised eating disorder inpatient unit for adults. Currently she is the research director at their Research Institute; a leading psychotherapy research centre in Norway.

Her field of interest is eating disorders and comorbidity, mechanisms of change in eating disorders, psychotherapy and identification of non-responsive and treatment approach to these. At the moment she’s a project leader of a randomized controlled trial comparing two different models for the treatment of eating disorder and childhood trauma; cognitive-behavioural therapy and compassion-focused therapy. In addition she has held many training sessions and workshops on eating disorder phenomenology and treatment approach.

Keynote title:

“Moving beyond pre and post – a clinical approach”

Keynote abstract:

Psychotherapy research has provided invaluable contribution to enhancing scientifically rigorous information about the efficacy of psychotherapy. This research informs the publication of comprehensive psychological treatment guidelines of mental disorders, including eating disorders. However, efficacy studies only focus on pre-therapy to post-therapy in averaged form and only report results in terms of statistical significance and effect sizes. In addition, studies have shown that treatment methods explain little variation in comparative outcome, while different aspects of the psychotherapy process are convincingly related to the outcome of therapy. It is simply not enough to establish efficacy for a particular treatment. Therefore, to understand what really works in psychotherapy, it is necessary to investigate the psychotherapeutic process and its effects on the patient. In the eating disorder field, only a minority of treatment studies include investigations of process-outcome associations. Hence, more process-outcome research in psychological treatment of eating disorders is generally warranted.

The presentation will

  1. give an overview of process-outcome research regarding psychological treatments of eating disorders,
  2. present suggestions on how to understand the change process better and explain more outcome variance,
  3. how to ensure the measurement of process from different perspectives (patient, therapist, external raters),
  4. how to maximize treatment efficacy by discarding what doesn’t work and including more of what does work.

Professor Anna Keski-Rahkonen

Professor of Mental Health at the University of Helsinki, Finland

Professor Anna Keski-Rahkonen, MD, PhD, MPH is a psychiatrist, epidemiologist and a specialist in sexological counseling, trained at the University of Helsinki and Columbia University in New York. She currently works as a Professor of Mental Health at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Keski-Rahkonen has published over 70 original articles on various aspects of eating disorders, particularly on their prevalence and long-term outcome in the population. She has received awards for her teaching and mentoring, and has also written several books on eating disorders for the general audience.

Keynote title:

“Hope for Eating Disorders? Building successful long-term outcomes”

Keynote abstract:

Eating disorders affect about 1 in 10 young people today. How likely is recovery from eating disorders and how long does it take? This talk will review how favorable outcomes are defined, how likely recovery is in treatment settings and which factors predict good treatment outcomes. We will also discuss how people living with eating disorders define and experience recovery. Finally, we will look at recent population studies to better understand the long-term course of eating disorders and factors that influence who receives treatment.

Professor Anna Keski-Rahkonen
Professor Eric Stice

Professor Eric Stice

Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University

Dr. Stice served as an assistant professor and associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and as a Senior Research Scientist at Oregon Research Institute, before taking a position as professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

His research focuses on identifying risk factors that predict onset of eating disorders, obesity, and depression, to advance knowledge regarding processes that increase risk for the emergence of these problems. He also designs, evaluates, and disseminates prevention and treatment interventions for eating disorders, obesity, and depression. For instance, he developed a dissonance-based eating disorder prevention program (the Body Project) that has been implemented with over 4 million young girls in 139 countries through a partnership with Dove.

He has published over 300 articles, some of which have appeared in high-impact outlets, including Science, Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and Journal of Neuroscience. He work has been cited over 52,000 times; h-index = 112).

He received a Career Award from the National Institutes of Health and a Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychopathology from the American Psychological Association.

He is currently an Associate Editor for Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Keynote title:

“Effective and Efficacious Eating Disorder Prevention Programs”

Keynote abstract:

Eating disorders affect 13% of females and 4% of males, and are associated with functional impairment, distress, and premature mortality. Unfortunately, because 80% of aflicted individuals do not receive treatment and treatments are only effective for 35% of individuals, implementing efficacious prevention programs broadly is a pressing public health priority.

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss eating disorder prevention programs that have produced significant reductions in eating disorder symptoms and significantly reduced future onset of eating disorders in randomized trials. Results from efficacy trials that evaluate the effects of the prevention programs under highly controlled and well resourced conditions will be presented first, followed by results from effectiveness trials that evaluated whether the prevention programs produces effects for these two key outcomes when implemented by real-world clinicians under ecologically valid conditions.

In addition, the results from trials that have investgiated target engagement, variables that mediate intervention effects, and examined the mechaism of intervention effects will be discussed. Next, results from efforts to broadly implement eating disorder prevention programs will be reviewed. Finally, important directions for future research will be offered.