Academy for Eating Disorders

Keynote Speaker

Towards an Engaged Science of Eating Disorders:
Opening the Doors to the Ivory Tower

Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, FAED
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
& Karolinska Institutet, USA & Sweden

The Ivory Tower is a safe place…but it’s also boring. No one there holds you accountable or forces you to explain things in terms most humans can understand or tells you that what you are doing isn’t fast enough or good enough. Venturing outside of the Tower is like stepping into the daylight after being in a dark movie theatre. You and your work are exposed. You feel more responsible to those individuals and families whose lives your science affects. Engaged science is exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting. Does the energy we put toward public engagement detract from the laser focus central to the practice of science, or does it help us define the path toward discovery? How can public engagement in science go wrong and what lessons can be gleaned from such experiences? Dr. Bulik will address these and other questions about public engagement in science with vivid examples of how engagement has led to discoveries and initiatives in the eating disorders field. She will trace the story of the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) and the AN25K Challenge to illustrate global engagement in science and how the public truly can influence the course, process, and speed of science. We can accomplish so much more when researchers, clinicians, patients, parents, partners, advocates, and other stakeholders all work together toward the same goals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Appreciate the advantages of public engagement in science
  • Understand how public engagement in science has enhanced discoveries in the eating disorders field
  • Describe the ways in which public engagement has contributed to the progress of the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) and the global quest for AN25K