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.
“Accelerating Progress in Prevention of Eating Disorders: A call for Policy Translation Research & Training”
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:
- Translational research designed to inform policy and environmental changes with high potential for large-scale impact; and
- 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 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.
“Hope for Eating Disorders? Building successful long-term outcomes”
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.