Research Trainng Day

Research Training Day | Session 1

Wednesday, March 13, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET

A Career Development Workshop for Early-Career Academics/Clinical Scholars 

Ruth Weissman, Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, Emerita, Wesleyan University
Dr. Debra Franko PhD, FAED, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Northeastern University
Dr. Phillipa Hay, DPhil FAED, Professor of Mental Health, Western Sydney University and Director of Mental Health Research SWSLHD

Abstract: Turbo-charge your career with an interactive workshop for early-career academic and clinical scholars, led by three internationally renowned researchers with high-level administrative experiences in university and clinical settings. The workshop will focus on skill-building in the three pillars of academic success: scholarship, teaching, and colleagueship or service. The specific demands on early-career individuals vary across countries or institutions. Yet, certain expectations and corresponding skills apply broadly. We will address common expectations and demands and, through small group discussions and coaching, strategies focused on participants’ unique career paths. In early-career, job opportunities rather than career interest may dictate how we spend our time; it is a time to explore how to thrive within a given context and set the stage for transitioning from where you are to where you wish to be. We will help participants: identify and consider key early-career challenges and how to meet those challenges; articulate where participants want to be within the next five years and how to prepare for achieving those goals; prepare for setbacks and how to redirect participants’ career efforts as needed. 

Scholarship: we will address academic writing; developing research collaborations; fulfilling public impact expectations; supervision of research students; and securing funding.

Teaching: we will discuss crafting a strategic teaching portfolio that creates synergies with scholarly or clinical interests; syllabus development; synergizing supervision of clinical and other students with research; learning to be an effective teacher and achieving positive teaching evaluations 

Colleagueship/Service: we will invite attendees’ exploration of productive mentor-mentee relationships; working with your Chair or Dean; fulfilling institutional service demands; and making contributions to and gaining recognition in the field. In a closing panel discussion, several leading scholars across the globe will join to share their career advice.

Target Audience: Advanced graduate students, post-docs, and people in academic appointments pre-promotion to associate professor (or the equivalent thereof).

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand the core pillars of a successful academic career. 
  2. Identify career development strategies specific to your career goals. 
  3. Set goals and a related action plan for advancing to the next stage of your career. 

Causal inference with DAGs for eating disorder research

Ariel Beccia, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University 
Hunter McGuire, Boston Children's Hospital & Washington University in St. Louis
Hannah Ziobrowski, Brown University School of Public Health

Abstract: Although regarded as a “gold standard,” the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in eating disorder (ED) research can present ethical and feasibility challenges, particularly in studies related to the identification of risk factors and drivers of social inequities. Observational data (e.g., nationally representative surveys, medical records, cohort studies) are well-suited to answering such questions and can estimate causal effects similar to RCTs; however, lack of randomization, confounding, loss-to-follow-up, and other characteristics of observational data introduce challenges that warrant unique analytic considerations. Directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) – a graphical tool to represent causal assumptions and hypothesized causal relationships among a set of variables – represent a powerful technique from epidemiology for addressing these challenges that have yet to be applied in our field. Given the increasing interest in using observational data to study ED etiology and the need to enhance the rigor and reproducibility of this work, the goal of this training is to provide an accessible overview of DAGs and their applications to EDs. The first 2 hours will include a series of lectures covering: 1) the use of observational data to estimate causal effects and associated methodological challenges; 2) the role of DAGs in addressing these challenges; 3) basic principles of DAGs, including their statistical and theoretical underpinnings; 4) how to construct and interpret DAGs; and 5) using DAGs to guide study design and analysis. The next 90 minutes will consist of activities for participants to practice implementing the content and to engage with challenges related to “real-world” DAGs. Participants will split into groups and develop a research question within a predefined topic area. Each group will practice constructing a DAG that visualizes the hypothesized causal relationships and identifies the appropriate adjustment set (i.e., set of control variables to adjust for confounding). Groups will then be given a description (e.g., variable list, sample size, study design) of a real-world, observational dataset and be tasked with adjusting their original research question and DAG. Finally, each group will outline a simplified sketch of a proposed analysis plan based on their DAG, which they will present to the full group. The final 30 minutes will include time for Q&A and reporting from each group about their experiences and takeaways from the activity.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand the benefits and challenges associated with using observational data to estimate causal effects in eating disorders research.
  2. Define DAGs and explain their relevance to observational eating disorder research. 
  3. Construct DAGs and use them to guide study design and analysis.

Measures Matter: Best Practices for Scale Development and Validation within Eating Disorder Research

Tracy Tylka, PhD, FAED
Catherine Cook-Cottone, Ohio State University & University at Buffalo
Rachel Calogero, Western University 

Abstract: In order for eating disorder (ED) research to continue to flourish, scales must be developed that effectively and succinctly assess ED symptoms, correlates, predictors, and outcomes. This Research Training will focus on helping attendees identify the fundamentals of scale construction and best practices of psychometric investigation with constructs of their choosing within ED research. As leaders of instrument development and psychometric evaluation, we will begin by sharing our experiences in this field using scales we have developed and validated (e.g., the Intuitive Eating Scale-3, the Body Appreciation Scale-2, the Mindful Self-Care Scale, the Personal Safety Anxiety Scale). We will discuss how we (a) chose these constructs to include within ED research, (b) developed scales to assess these constructs, (c) sought feedback from content experts, and (d) chose the types of analyses to investigate our scales (factor analyses, validity, reliability). Throughout the training, we will engage attendees in various interactive activities—have attendees work as teams to identify meaningful constructs, generate a set of initial items, present their scale/items with other attendees for feedback, while incorporating the techniques and best practices we reviewed (e.g., simplicity, readability, avoiding double-barreled items, reverse scored items, etc.). Attendees will also identify a study investigation plan whereby they select variables for construct (convergent, discriminant, incremental) validity and select potential analyses to investigate factor structure (exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, exploratory structure equation modeling, bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling), reliability (omega vs alpha, intraclass correlation), and validity (correlation and regression analyses). Registering a scale development study with the Center for Open Science will be reviewed. We will end with a discussion of ethics and best practices involved with scale distribution, scale translation, and application within other research groups. Attendees will leave with an understanding of how to construct a measure, gather psychometric evidence, and implement recommended practices of scale development and validation, all while avoiding common problems.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Construct items that simply and clearly represent the construct they want to assess.
  2. Develop a plan to psychometrically investigate a scale, including identifying the sample(s) to complete their scale, the measures to include to validate their scale, the different types of factor analyses that are best used for their scale.
  3. Identify and use best practices for constructing, distributing, and translating scales that would support sound research on the construct they want to measure.

Research Training Day | Session 2

Wednesday, March 13, 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM ET

Promoting Research on Risk and Maintenance Mechanisms in Eating Disorders

Steve Wonderlich, PhD, Sanford Research 
Ross Crosby, PhD, Sanford Research
Scott Engel, Sanford Research
Kathryn Lancaster, Sanford Research 
Kristine Steffen, North Dakota State University
Lauren Schaefer, Sanford Research 
Gail Kerver, Sanford Research 

Abstract: This Research Teaching Day will focus on contemporary scientific strategies for studying risk and maintenance mechanisms in eating disorders. The multi-component teaching session will highlight methodological advances facilitated by a new NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in the area of eating disorders. The Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior (CBM-EB) hosts several key research-related components:  1) three research cores (i.e. Biomedical Statistics, Research Assessment Services, and Human Subjects), 2) a Clinical Research Training and Professional Development Program for early career investigators, and 3) an annual Pilot Project Program to fund eating disorder research projects. Additionally four longitudinal research projects and four pilot projects are currently underway. In the proposed Research Teaching Day, senior scientists from CBM-EB will discuss the scientific procedures and processes inherent in the Center and early career investigators will describe the studies they have been conducting as part of the CBM-EB. Furthermore, both senior and early career staff will be available during the session for breakout consultations in which research related questions and topics will be addressed. 

Summary: This teaching day will offer several components: 1) an overview of contemporary methods for eating disorder risk and maintenance research, 2) a review of the Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior, and 3) the provision of consultation for scientists, early career investigators, and students interested in eating disorder research.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will become familiar with the scientific concept of risk and maintenance mechanisms for eating disorders.
  2. Participants will become familiar with the research infrastructure, early career investigator training program, and funding for pilot research projects, in the NIH-funded Center of Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior.
  3. Participants will be able to consult with senior scientific staff and early career investigators about research on eating disorders and optimal strategies for facilitating a research-oriented career.

Implementing Meaningful, Effective, and Strategic Collaborations in Research

Stephanie Miles, BA, BPsych(Hons), PhD, Orygen
Shannon Calvert, University of Melbourne, Australian Eating Disorder Research & Translation Centre
Erica Neill, Orygen
Genevieve Pepin, Deakin
Andrea Phillipou, Orygen


This training day session, led by facilitators with diverse expertise, aims to provide participants with the tools to establish and sustain compelling and authentic research collaborations. The four-hour session will include a range of presentations, group activities and discussions led by the facilitators. Importantly, this session will cover working with people from diverse disciplines (e.g., psychologists, dietitians, pediatricians) and building partnerships with people who have lived/living experiences of eating disorders.

This session will cover the following key topics:
- Authentically growing your network – how to find potential collaborators and meet new people (including social media tips)
- How to approach potential collaborators and build the right team for a project/grant
- How clinicians can become involved or lead a research project
- Skills to navigate relationships and avoid conflict
- Managing authorship and intellectual property
- Considerations for partnering with people with lived experience in research projects 
- The differences between co-creation, co-design, and co-production

Activities will include:
- Interactive activities
- Group discussion on how to get involved in research and what does and doesn’t work
- Brainstorming new approaches and ideas for networking, finding funding, and developing helpful collaborations
- Q&A
- A Google Drive folder supplied to all participants with practical resources and information to guide further learning after the training day

Target Audience: Academics and researchers at all career stages (in particular, PhDs and ECRs), clinicians with an interest in research, and people with lived/living experience who want to be involved with research. 

Learning Objectives:
  1. Confidently develop new relationships and further build their network. 
  2. Manage collaborations and establish processes for funding, communication, and authorship. 
  3. Implement the principles of co-design and co-production to meaningfully work with people with lived experience of an eating disorder.