Keynote and Plenaries


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Keynote and Plenaries Information

Keynote Speaker

Anne E. Becker, Phd, MD, SM, FAED
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Anne Becker
Why Have Eating Disorders Been Marginalized in Global Health?
Reimagining Inclusion and Belonging in the Clinic, the Global South, and Beyond

Although eating disorders appear to have global distribution, an appreciation of their relevance and epidemiology in the Global South has not yet fully informed opportunities to understand cultural and social drivers of risk or to respond to emerging need in low- and middle-income countries. How do conventional approaches and metrics for health burden assessment limit the visibility of eating disorders, obscure the diversity of their presentation, reinforce their marginality, and reproduce and entrench narratives about which populations are at risk? Likewise, what factors undermine the detection of eating disorders in clinical and community settings and might thereby exacerbate health disparities? And, importantly, how can we recognize and undo these constraints: How can social structural factors that limit access to quality care be recognized, redressed, and systematically dismantled? Can we broaden our understanding of cultural factors underlying regional differences to also encompass the “cultures” of the clinic and public health surveillance that subvert inclusivity and belonging in the clinic and in prioritization on a global health agenda?  Finally, how can clinicians, investigators, policymakers, and caregivers interrogate the all-too-frequent invisibility of eating disorders, absorb important lessons from the broad spectrum of lived experience and communities, and incorporate these to create a more inclusive space to respond to eating disorders across diverse settings?

Learning objectives:

  • Identify approaches and gaps in public health surveillance that may limit the visibility of eating disorders and underestimate their prevalence and associated health burdens in the Global South
  • Describe social structural drivers of inequities in access to quality care for eating disorders
  • Consider how clinical settings can better promote inclusion and belonging for patients living with an eating disorder


Biology Plenary

Development Matters: Biological Effects on Pathological Eating

Co-Chairs: Kristen M. Culbert, PhD & Kazuhiro Yoshiuchi, MD, PhD


Despite recognition of developmental shifts in risk for eating disorders, relatively little research has focused on developmental biological processes that program the central nervous system and shape changes in motivational and reward-based behavior, like pathological eating. This plenary will highlight developmental research on biological factors that could enhance risk for eating pathology across the lifespan and may contribute to observed increases in risk during adolescence. Maternal nutrition during pregnancy, particularly the consumption of highly palatable foods, exerts long-term effects on the “hedonic” neural system and ingestive behavior of offspring which may impact vulnerability for later development of an eating disorder. The central nervous system can be further shaped by sex steroid hormones, and between-person and within-person changes in hormonal status/milieus have been shown to contribute to differential risk for pathological eating behavior (e.g., binge eating) after pubertal onset and during adulthood.  Neurobiological systems involved in cognitive control and reward processing may have particular relevance to eating disorder risk and its peak onset in adolescence given that these systems are impacted by maternal nutrition, modulated by sex steroid hormones, involved in the regulation of eating (and other appetetive behaviour), and undergo substantial maturation during adolescence.

Learning Objectives

The goals of this plenary are to:

  1. Highlight the importance of developmental considerations when exploring biological risk for eating pathology.
  2. Describe biological effects that alter individual differences in cognitive control and motivational/reward-based eating behavior (e.g., altered preference/consumption of highly palatable food; differential risk for binge eating or restriction) across development.
  3. Provide insight into biological factors that may underlie heightened risk for eating disorder onset during adolescence, or other developmental periods of substantial biological change (e.g., menopause).
Presenters & Talk Titles

Claire-Dominique Walker, PhD
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Impact of Maternal Consumption of a High Fat Diet and Its Effects on Reward Pathways and Eating Behavior in Offspring

Jessica Baker, PhD, FAED
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Ovarian Hormone Effects on Risk for Eating Pathology during the Menopause Transition

Stefan Ehrlich, MD, PhD
University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Germany
Neural Alterations in Cognitive Control and/or Reward Processing and Implications for Eating Disorder Risk in Adolescents

Angela Favaro, MD, PhD
Padova University School of Medicine, Padova, Italy
Discussant: Advancing Biological Research on Eating Disorders, with a Consideration of Developmental Effects and Multi-Method Approaches


Sociocultural Plenary

Hidden in Plain Sight: Eating Disorders in Underrepresented Populations

Co-Chairs: Leslie Anderson, PhD, FAED; Guillermina Rutsztein, PhD, FAED; and Eva Trujillo, MD, FAED


Recognizing that most of us are suffering from zoom fatigue, this plenary seeks to engage the audience from a multicultural perspective and through an active discussion among panelists lead by Dr. Kathleen Pikes about how stigma, under-diagnosis, under-research and under-treatment have been prevalent for individuals who identify as a sexual and/or gender minority, in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, and in individuals with higher body weight. Our speakers will guide the audience to recognize these issues and talk about some ideas to close these serious gaps in our field. This will be followed by a structured Q&A and discussion with the audience. Our panelists include Dr. Allegra Gordon, Dr. Montserrat Graell and Dr. Janet Lydecker.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this plenary, attendees will be able to:

  1. Recognize how these populations have been underrepresented with regard to theories, research, and treatment in the eating disorders field
  2. Identify stigmas related to eating disorders in these underrepresented populations.
  3. Understand the nature and potential consequences of under-diagnosis and under-treatment of eating disorders in these underrepresented populations.
Presenters & Talk Titles

Allegra Gordon, ScD, MPH
Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA
Eating Disorders Know No Gender, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity

Montserrat Graell, MD, PhD
Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, Madrid, Spain
Understanding the Intersection of Feeding/Eating Disturbances and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Janet Lydecker, PhD
Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Disordered Eating in Populations Living in Larger Bodies

Kathleen Pike, PhD, FAED
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Discussant: Eating Disorders in Underrepresented Populations from a Global Perspective 


Treatment Plenary

Structural Perspectives of Training & Dissemination Factors that Influence Implementation of Evidence-Based Treatments (EBTs) 

Co-Chairs: Eva Martins Conceição, PhD & Karen Jennings Mathis, PhD, CNP, PMHNP-BC, FAED

Despite awareness that evidence-based treatments can achieve positive therapeutic outcomes for individuals suffering from eating disorders, relatively little attention has focused on the global accessibility and adaptability of these treatments for clinicians. Indeed, treatment intervention effectiveness is significantly dependent on whether clinicians have access to training opportunities and can successfully implement evidence-based interventions to meet the needs of their unique clinical populations and settings. This plenary strives to present various perspectives on optimizing access to evidence-based treatments and to address structural factors to better understand the global context into which evidence-based treatments are likely to be disseminated.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this plenary, attendees will be able to:

  1. Discuss dissemination and access to alternative training platforms on evidence-based treatments
  2. Describe perceptions and attitudes of clinicians related to implementation and assessing outcomes of EBTs
  3. Identify strategies to improve access to evidence-based treatments for clinicians across different healthcare systems globally

Presenters & Talk Titles
Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, PhD, FAED
University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Evaluating How to Promote Evidence-Based Treatments among Clinicians with Limited Access to Training

Ulrike Schmidt, MD, PhD, FRCPsych, FAED
Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
Challenges to Implementation of EBTs: Perceptions and Attitudes of Clinicians

Richard Dalle Grave, MD, FAED
Villa Garda Hospital, Garda, Italy
Perspectives on Adapting and Optimizing Use of Evidence-Based Treatments across Countries

Farooq Naeem, MBBS, MRCPscych, PhD
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Discussant: Adapting and Modifying Evidence-Based Treatments for Global Utilization and Representation across Different Cultures and Settings


Wildcard Plenary

Consequences of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go from Here?

Co-Chairs: Kym Piekunka, April Smith, Katie Loth

In addition to the direct morbidity and mortality associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic, it has also indirectly affected countless other facets of life (e.g., social/family functioning, education, mobility, economics, social safety nets). With the goal of reducing community spread of the coronavirus, physical distancing has been widely recommended and at times has been required in various localities. Access to healthcare has been interrupted for many, and medical and mental health providers have had to quickly pivot toward alternative methods of treating patients (i.e., telehealth). Many families also have struggled with increased stress, job losses, food insecurity, and greater childcare responsibilities. The goal of this plenary is to illuminate some of the challenges faced by individuals with eating disorders and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lessons that have been learned that may offer insights into future considerations for the field.

Learning Objectives

The goals of this plenary are to:

  1. Address the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected patients with eating disorders in terms of their symptoms and other clinically relevant experiences.
  2. Highlight challenges associated with navigating eating disorder treatment during the COVID-19 global pandemic and identify lessons learned.
  3. Describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from a lived experience perspective focusing on familial challenges and difficulties with accessing treatment.

Presenters & Talk Titles
Christine Peat, PhD, FAED
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
The Global Pandemic’s Effects on Eating Disorder Symptoms and Patient Experiences

Stephen Touyz, PhD, FAED
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Navigating Eating Disorder Treatment during a Global Pandemic

Carolynn Moon
Banff, AB, Canada
An Expert by Experience’s Perspectives on the Mental Health and Treatment Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Paulo Machado, PhD, FAED
University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
Discussant: Identifying and Treating Eating Disorders during the Pandemic