The BEDA 2015 National Conference Committee has secured the keynote presentations and speakers for the sixth annual event, which will be held at the Hilton Diplomat in Hollywood, FL, November 5-7, 2015.
This year’s theme, Many Paths, One Journey, honors the many ways in which people seek and find recovery. To support people on this very personal journey, the committee identified and secured speakers with expertise in areas that include research on mood disorders, body image, cultural attitudes toward body diversity, and treatment efficacy reviews.
We are proud to announce the following speakers:
Kai Hibbard is a body acceptance activist, motivational speaker, writer, rebel, nerd at heart and hot chocolate connoisseur, with a knack for talking loud and fast. When not combating mass media hypocrisy and body shaming on social media, she uses her voice to promote body positivity and shed light on issues close to her heart.
Kai was first cast into the spotlight through her participation in, and subsequent denunciation of, the weight loss game show The Biggest Loser. Going through the program, she realized the negative impact the show had, not only on her own life, but on society in general. Vowing to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, Kai has fought, often as the lone voice, against unrealistic and damaging message in the media regarding our bodies in general. Over time, that struggle has been featured in countless magazines and newscasts, both domestically and internationally, ranging from The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Good Morning America, ABC News, CBS News, E!, Star Magazine, US Weekly, People, TMZ, The NY Times, The NY Post, Inside Edition, Redbook, Access Hollywood, FoxNews,The Globe, Jezebel, Huffington Post Live and Upworthy, where Kai’s honest, straight-forward approach to her own story never fails to shine through.
Drawing on experiences from her own journey, as well as her education in psychology and social work, Kai explores living healthy and being happy with her body in a society that inundates people with the message that she shouldn’t. Through well researched and empirically backed discourse, she encourages people to think independently and critically about the messages they are being sent in the media. She urges people to be comfortable in their own skin, embrace who they are, and own the space they take up in the world with both the good and the bad that follows, knowing this to be the best first step toward a happier, healthier existence.
Most of Kai’s time is spent juggling family and professional life. When not writing for publications like xoJane, working on her book, speaking, being interviewed for various outlets or keeping people encouraged on social media, she is reading studies, preparing new presentations and plotting ways to keep her six year old in bed at bedtime.
Lindsey Averill and Viri Lieberman
Viridiana Lieberman, co-director and writer, cinematographer, editor of Fattitude, is a filmmaker and writer who lives in New York. She received her BFA in film from the Miami International University of Art and Design. In 2008, she directed her first fictional short, The Crumbling. After two years teaching film and TV Production at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL, she became an associate producer and lead editor at Crown Point Productions. Her work at Crown Point was seen on Oxygen, OLN, Ion and The Travel Network. While editing multiple shorts (Fractured Minds (2011), Table for 2 (2011), Last Run (2011), Sutures (2012), The Garg Hunter (2012) and a feature Taste It: A Comedy about the Recession (2012),
Viridiana completed her MA in Women Studies at Florida Atlantic University in 2012. Upon graduating, she moved to New York where she began directing a feature-length documentary about the musical Lesbian Love Octagon. Also in 2013, she joined the film Back on Board: Greg Louganis as an associate producer and assistant editor. In 2014, her book Sports Heroines on Film: A Critical Study of Cinematic Women Athletes, Coaches and Owners was released by McFarland Publishing. Currently, Viri works as freelance as a director, editor and cinematographer for companies including Flagpole Swim, The Greater NY Dental Meeting and Moxie Firecracker Films.
Lindsey Averill, producer, co-director and writer of Fattitude is an academic, a writer, an activist and a film producer who lives in Boca Raton, FL. She completed her MFA in writing from Emerson College and is ABD in the Comparative Studies PhD Program at Florida Atlantic University.
The focus of Lindsey’s work is feminism, fat civil rights and the representation of fat bodies in popular culture. In 2000, the Orlando Chamber of Commerce honored her for designing, implementing and fundraising for programming that exemplified the realities of classism for over 2000 participants. Since 2005 Lindsey has worked as a college professor teaching women’s studies, literature and writing courses. She was also the chair of the English and Communications department at Keiser University from 2009 – 2011, where she supervised and evaluated the entire English and Communications faculty and designed extensive student programming related to social justice. Lindsey regularly contributes to XOJane and maintains a blog called Feminist Cupcake.
Funded by a successful Kickstarter, Fattitude is Lindsey and Viri’s first film together.
Fattitude is a groundbreaking feature-length documentary that exposes how our culture encourages weight bias and then offers alternative ideas and ways of thinking, those which embrace body acceptance at all sizes. The film looks to change the national conversation about body image so that it focuses on not only issues of self-acceptance, but also on legitimate questions of systemic prejudice, for example the relationship between race, poverty and obesity. Fattitude features the voices of Ricki Lake, Deb Burgaurd, Andrew Walen, Winne Holzman, Guy Branum, Tess Munster and many more. Discussion of Fattitude has been seen in media all over the world, including xojane, Huffpost Live, NPR, Missy Magazine, News24, ABC, Huffington Post Women The Dr. Oz Show and many others.
Kimberly Brownley, PhD, and Christine Peat, PhD
Dr. Brownley is a faculty member with the UNC Stress and Health Research Program and the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. She has been researching various aspects of human psychology, physiology, and behavior for over 20 years.
Much of her work focuses on the psychobiology of appetite regulation, including the study of hormones that signal hunger and satiety, how such hormones respond to different types of food, and the role these hormones play in disordered eating behavior and weight gain.
With the support of funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, Dr. Brownley is currently investigating (1) the impact of dietary chromium supplementation on eating behavior, mood, and appetite hormones in persons with binge eating disorder; (2) weight and metabolic disturbances associated with use of atypical antipsychotic medications; (3) racial ethnic disparities in obesity; and (4) the role of gut peptides in symptom expression in Postprandial Distress Syndrome.
She is also the recipient of a 2009 Pilot Grant from the UNC Institute on Aging, which is funding her work on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in family caregivers of persons with dementia. Author of over three dozen peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, Dr. Brownley also devotes time to serving as associate editor of the International Journal of Psychophysiology and as a member of the scientific advisory committees for the UNC Clinical and Translational Research Center and the Binge Eating Disorder Association.
Dr. Peat is a clinical assistant professor in the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. Her research interests center on the etiology and treatment of both eating and weight disorders; however, her primary interests are in binge eating disorders, overeating, and obesity. She is particularly interested in the intersection between obesity, bariatric surgery, and eating pathology and investigating the outcomes associated with success after bariatric surgery. Dr. Peat also evaluates the available treatment options for binge eating disorder and investigates medical morbidities associated with eating disorders.
Dr. Peat is a licensed psychologist in North Carolina and as such, focuses on the treatment of eating disorders across the spectrum, with a primary focus on binge eating. She also conducts pre-surgical evaluations and provides follow-up care for bariatric surgery patients in conjunction with the UNC Bariatric Program, which is also a designated Center of Excellence. Given her broader training in behavioral medicine, Dr. Peat also provides psychological interventions to patients who are struggling with both medical conditions (e.g., diabetes) and psychiatric illness.
John Cryan, PhD
Dr. Cryan is professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork. He received a BSc (Hons) and PhD from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. Dr. Cryan was recently selected as a “highly cited researcher” by Thomson Reuters. Those researchers who, within an ESI-defined field, published highly cited papers were judged to be influential. Dr. Cryan, as a member of the “Highly Cited Researcher List,” is also included in the 2014 The World’s most Influential Scientific Minds
Dr. Cryan is a senior editor of Neuropharmacology and Nutritional Neuroscience and an editor of British Journal of Pharmacology. He is advisory editor of Psychopharmacology; on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Brain Research; an associate editor of Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience; an associate editor of Frontiers in Psychopharmacology and Frontiers in Gastrointestinal Pharmacology; an editorial board member of Behavioural Pharmacology; Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Genes, Brain &
Behavior and International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Dr. Cryan received the inaugural University College Cork Researcher of the Year Award in 2012. He has also been honored with the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Fellowship Award, the Wyeth Psychopharmacology Award from British Association of Psychopharmacology and the Young Scientist Award from the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society. He has received commercialization awards from UCC in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, he received the University of Utrecht Award for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research and delivered the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Conway Review Lecture and the De Pazzi Lecture at University College Cork. He gave the Wingate Lecture at Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2014. Dr. Cryan was also a TEDMED Invited Speaker in 2014.
Dr. Cryan’s current research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and drug dependence.His group is also focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut and microbiome and how it applies to stress and immune-related disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism. He is also interested in applying novel approaches to facilitate drug/siRNA delivery to the brain in vivo.