My research has related to evidence-based treatment of eating disorders with a focus on understanding and addressing illness maintaining factors. In past research, I sought to better understand the core cognitive psychopathology of eating disorders, namely the overvaluation of body weight/shape. In my current program of research I have broadened my focus to maintaining factors that are not eating disorder specific. In particular, I have been examining my hypothesis that co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) maintains eating disorder symptoms and, without treatment, prevents eating disorder recovery. My team and I are developing and testing the feasibility, safety and efficacy of an integrated treatment for eating disorders and PTSD with the goal of increasing eating disorder treatment engagement, retention, and efficacy. We are currently nearing the end of recruitment.
I have focused my career as a scientist-practitioner on delivering, developing, and evaluating evidence-based psychotherapies for eating disorders. Through my work as both a researcher and clinician in the Eating Disorder Program at UHN, I have come to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of evidence-based treatments in actual clinical practice. Unfortunately, many individuals drop out from treatment prematurely or continue to have significant symptoms at end of treatment, and a significant portion of those who do remit relapse. My CPA has focused on identifying gaps in current evidence-based and best practice treatments using my clinical experience and program evaluation; developing manualized interventions aimed at addressing these gaps; and evaluating these interventions using rigorous research methods.