My specialization within clinical psychology is health psychology, the study of how our behavior and emotions impact our physical health. At the University of Massachusetts Medical School, I run a federally-funded program of research on behavioral determinants of and interventions for obesity and its related chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
I am especially interested in issues such as stress and depression, which often affect physical health including the ability to manage weight. I have published about 60 papers, several chapters, and 1 soon-to-be-released academic book on these topics. I also counsel patients in an outpatient behavioral weight loss program in our medical center. I am passionate about using social media as a mechanism to disseminate information gleaned from research to the general public. I am also an avid runner and, last but not least, Mama of a feisty little 3 year old girl who is highly likely to take over the world.
My most troublesome weakness is... in terms of fitness, my weakness is As ab work! I really really need it, but really really hate it. I started a fun initiative on Twitter called #PlankADay where I along with anyone who wants to join in commit to doing abdominal planks daily and tweeting them with the hashtag. I find that the camaraderie of others is so helpful in keeping my exercise going. In terms of health and happiness, my greatest weakness is that I love my work so much that I work all the time. I could probably use to take more time off, unplug, and recharge… but what I do is just so darn fun.
I'm looking forward to learning more about... what motivates people to make healthy lifestyle changes, why it’s so easy to get off track, and strategies for getting back on track. I am very curious to study more about how social media can be used as a tool to improve motivation and increase support for a healthy lifestyle.