Eating and Weight Behaviors

Uniformed Services University

Developmental Research Laboratory on Eating and Weight Behaviors

Tanofsky-Kraff Lab

Graduate Students

Jennifer BakalarJennifer Bakalar, M.S. is a doctoral candidate in the Medical and Clinical dual-track Ph.D. program (2010 Cohort). Jen graduated from Cornell University in 2008 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in French. From 2008-2010, she completed a post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award fellowship in Child Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. At USUHS, Jen's research interests center on the impact of early adversity on the psychological and physical health of U.S. military personnel. In 2011, she was awarded the American Psychological Association, Society for Military Psychology (Division 19) graduate student fellowship for her Masters research. In 2015, she was awarded a Henry Jackson Foundation Fellowship in the Medical Sciences. For her dissertation, she is investigating the association between pre-service adverse life events, eating disturbance, and body mass index in U.S. service members.

Contact: jennifer.bakalar@usuhs.edu

Edny BryantEdny "Joey" Bryant is currently on internship at Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews AFB. She earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2006. Prior to receiving her commission in 2010, Joey served as an enlisted Air Force Intelligence and Adversary Tactics Analyst from 1997-2010. She is interested in the effects of parental combat deployments on children and her dissertation was focused on investigating the effects of parental combat deployments on the eating behaviors of military adolescent dependents.

Contact: edny.bryant@usuhs.edu

Omni CassidyOmni Cassidy matriculated into the Medical and Clinical Psychology dual-track program in 2012. In 2010, she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. As an undergraduate, Omni volunteered with the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Program. She also worked as an intern at the Jackson Heart Study in Jackson, MS, investigating African Americans with Type II diabetes. Before beginning her graduate studies, Omni worked as a research assistant at the NIH and USUHS on a study examining the effect of interpersonal psychotherapy on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescent girls and also coordinated a pilot study to adapt interpersonal psychotherapy to be culturally appropriate in preventing excess weight gain in racial/ethnic minority groups. She is interested in factors that may promote disordered eating and excessive weight gain in African American youth and how such research may be used to inform policy.

Contact: omni.cassidy@usuhs.edu

Allison ConforteAllison Conforte is a fourth year Navy student working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She earned her B.S. in elementary education from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. She also earned her M.Ed. and Ed.S. in School Psychology from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. As a School Psychologist Intern in Norfolk Public Schools, Allison gained experience in assessment, counseling groups, and child study. Working near one of the country’s largest Navy bases, Allison had the opportunity to work with many military families. Allison is currently interested in examining the relationship of perceived military community support and psychosocial difficulties in military children.

Contact: allison.conforte@usuhs.edu

Alexandria MorettiniAlexandria Morettini is a 1st year Navy student working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.  She earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, San Marcos in 2005.  Prior to commissioning in the Navy, Alex served in the Air Force as a Mental Health Technician and Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) from 2006-2014, working in Mental Health and ADAPT Clinics and at the Brig. She also deployed with the Army to Afghanistan where she spent time at Combat Stress Control and the Freedom Restoration Center, and travelled to FOBs without dedicated mental health services. Alex is currently interested in exploring the stigma attached to various labels and issues faced by military members, particularly suicidal ideation.

Contact: alexandria.morettini@usuhs.edu

Rachel MillerRachel Miller Radin is a student in the Medical and Clinical Psychology dual-track program (2009 cohort). Rachel graduated in 2005 from the George Washington University with a B.A. major in psychology and minor in dance, and then received her Master's in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Rachel worked as a research assistant, first in a program evaluation for at-risk youth, then at the Obesity Research Center at Columbia University before beginning graduate school at USUHS. Rachel's research interests include prevention programs for youth at-risk for disordered eating and obesity, as well as physiological correlates of binge eating. Her masters thesis examined the relationship between binge eating, cortisol, and metabolic dysfunction in youth. Her dissertation examines stress reactivity and psychobiological correlates such as salivary cortisol, leptin, and heart rate variability, among youth with and without loss of control eating.  Rachel is currently completing her predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital in Baltimore, MD.

Contact: rachel.miller@usuhs.edu

Lisa ShankLisa Shank entered the Medical Psychology program in the 2013 cohort. In 2008, she received her B.S. in Management Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After briefly working as a business analyst, Lisa decided to pursue a career in research, working as a clinical research coordinator and data manager at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2013, she completed her M.S. in Psychology at Drexel University. At USUHS, Lisa’s master’s thesis examined attentional bias to food cues in youth with loss of control eating. Lisa’s research interests include disordered eating and obesity across the lifespan.

Contact: lisa.shank@usuhs.edu

Tanofsky-Krarff Lab

Fellows

Natasha L. BurkeDr. Natasha L. Burke is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Burke works jointly at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2015 from the University of South Florida and completed her clinical internship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Burke’s research interests broadly include the prevention of obesity and disordered eating in children. Her specific interests revolve around the complex interplay among weight status, demographic characteristics, psychological comorbidities, and associated risk factors. Dr. Burke’s current work with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff focuses on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescents from military families. Her long-term goals include developing a grant-supported line of research to develop and test culturally-sensitive interventions focused on the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity.

Contact: natasha.burke.ctr@usuhs.edu

Nichole KellyDr. Nichole Kelly is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Kelly works jointly at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her B.S. in psychology from the University of Virginia in 2004, her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 2013 from Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed her clinical internship at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI. Dr. Kelly's research interests broadly include disordered eating and obesity. She has specific interests in clarifying the neuropsychological, behavioral, emotional and sociocultural processes that contribute to the onset and maintenance of disinhibited eating behaviors.

Contact: nichole.kelly@nih.gov

Natasha SchveyDr. Natasha Schvey is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology. She works jointly at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2014 from Yale University and completed her clinical internship at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Schvey’s research focuses broadly on obesity and eating pathology, and more specifically, weight stigmatization. Dr. Schvey has developed a programmatic line of research investigating the behavioral, clinical, physiological, and legal consequences of weight stigmatization, which has received national and international media attention. Dr. Schvey’s clinical interests include the treatment of adults and adolescents with a range of eating disorder symptoms.

Contact: natasha.schvey.ctr@usuhs.edu

Monika Kardacz StojekDr. Monika Kardacz Stojek is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology.  Dr. Stojek works jointly at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2015 from University of Georgia and completed her clinical internship at Medical College of Georgia/Charlie Norwood VA in Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Stojek’s interests center around dysregulated eating patterns and their intersection with addictive behaviors. Her work has focused on clarifying the motivational, psychosocial, and temperamental underpinnings of dysregulated eating using innovative laboratory paradigms (e.g., cue exposure, stress induction) and measurement methods (e.g., behavioral economics).

Contact: monika.stojek.ctr@usuhs.edu

Research Assistants

Marissa BarmineMarissa Barmine received her B.S. in Public Health from the University of South Carolina in 2014. As an undergraduate, Marissa worked as a pre-medical intern at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where she shadowed Physicians and medical students in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine and in the Palmetto Health Physicians Practices. She also worked as a patient care coordinator at Friendship Pediatrics, P.A in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she where she gained experience working directly with children and adolescents. Marissa currently works as a research assistant at USUHS with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff on three separate randomized-controlled trials for the prevention of obesity in children of military service members and their families.

Contact: marissa.barmine.ctr@usuhs.edu

Jenna GorlickJenna Gorlick received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. As an undergraduate, Jenna worked as a research assistant on studies involving defining stages of recovery from eating disorders across time. Jenna was also involved in researching the role social media plays in body satisfaction and eating behaviors among college students. Jenna currently works as a research assistant at USUHS with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff on a study for obesity prevention in military dependent adolescents.

Contact:jenna.gorlick.ctr@usuhs.edu

Rachel RessRachel Ress received a B.A. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies with a focus in global health from the University of Michigan in 2014. As an undergraduate, she worked in a clinical psychology lab studying resiliency in military families focusing on parenting intervention and parent-child attachment. She also worked as an intern for the Fair Food Network, where she assisted in improving healthy food access and educating the community on incorporating fresh produce into their daily food intake. Rachel currently works as a research assistant at USUHS with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff on a study for the prevention of obesity in children of military personnel.

Contact: rachel.ress.ctr@usuhs.edu