Featured Presenters

Angela Alberga

Dr. Angela Alberga is a Banting CIHR Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Calgary pursuing research aimed to reduce weight stigma in education, healthcare and public policy. Dr. Alberga comes to her interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship with over 15 years of experience working with children and youth as a camp counsellor, sports coach, personal trainer, clinical exercise physiologist, educator and mentor in academic and community settings across Canada. She obtained her BSc in Exercise Science at Concordia University and her MSc and PhD in Human Kinetics, specializing in Exercise Physiology at the University of Ottawa. She was awarded a Canadian Diabetes Association Doctoral Research Award for her research focused on improving the cardiometabolic health of children and adolescents with obesity through exercise. It is through these experiences that she learned how prevalent and harmful weight-based stigma and discrimination is among children and youth and has since been devoted to research, teaching and knowledge translation efforts to reduce weight bias in society.

Anna Aylett

Anna Aylett is a registered dietitian with the Centre for Healthy Active Living (CHAL) at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Anna studied human kinetics and nutrition at the University of Guelph and completed her dietetic internship with The Ottawa Hospital. Early in her dietetic career Anna developed an interest in pediatric and family nutrition which led her to Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding. The parent-child feeding relationship often becomes strained in families living with obesity and Anna helps parents re-establish and nurture both their own eating competence and that of their children. Anna realized that her best fit was within pediatrics because you don’t need an excuse to wear a costume to work and children are more likely than adults to match her energy levels when talking about food.

Annick Buchholz

Dr. Annick Buchholz is a clinical psychologist and lead in outcomes management and research at the Centre for Healthy and Active Living (CHAL). Dr. Buchholz co-lead the development and evaluation of the prevention program ‘BodySense’, a program aimed at promoting healthy body image in athletes. Dr. Buchholz is also a co-investigator on the Research on Eating Disorders and Adolescents Lifestyle (REAL) study, a longitudinal study examining shared risk factors between eating disorders and obesity in a sample of Canadian youth from the Ottawa region. She has been part of several CIHR team grants focused on pediatric obesity. More recently. Dr. Buchholz has been co-leading the newly formed Pediatric Research on Eating Disorders and Obesity (PREDO) unit, the first collaboration of its kind in Canada, unifying researchers and clinicians; the overarching goal of this endeavor is to build a strong program that informs prevention, policy, research, and treatment regarding the joint risk factors associated with eating disorders and obesity.


Jean-Philippe Chaput

Dr. Chaput is a Research Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on obesity prevention and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. He is also interested in new determinants of obesity such as lack of sleep and mental stress. Dr. Chaput has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, has an h-index of 28 and 2705 citations according to Scopus. He has been able to secure over 1.5 million dollars in research funding over the last 5 years as Principal Investigator. He serves on many editorial boards and advisory committees, and has contributed to a large number of conferences around the world (>100 lectures). He received several awards for his research, including the Roger Broughton Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Sleep Society (2015), the International Journal of Obesity New Faculty Award from World Obesity (2014), the New Investigator Award from the Canadian Obesity Network (2011) and the New Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (2010).


Elizabeth Dettmer

Dr. Elizabeth Dettmer is licensed as a clinical psychologist with a specialty in health psychology in the U.S., Canada, and Botswana. She is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, a Project Investigator with the Sickkids Research Institute, and the Mental Health lead of the Sick Kids Team Obesity Management Program. Dr. Dettmer’s research focuses on how psychological factors impact the development and treatment of obesity as well as psychological issues related to adolescent bariatric surgery. She has been part of several CIHR team grants focused on pediatric obesity and recently received funding as a Co-Principle Investigator to explore intensive treatment options for severely obese teens. Dr. Dettmer is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and is experienced in providing cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing in individual, family, and group therapy contexts.


Kathy Georgiades

Kathy Georgiades is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University, the Offord Centre for Child Studies and McMaster Children’s Hospital. She holds the Dan Offord Chair in Child Studies and a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Using population based studies, her research focuses on quantifying and reducing social inequalities in child and youth mental health, with a special emphasis on migrant populations. She currently co-leads 2 provincial studies –the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study and the School Mental Health Surveys – that will provide up-to-date evidence on the epidemiology and socio-contextual determinants of child and youth mental health in Ontario.


Gary Goldfield

Dr. Goldfield is a Senior Scientist with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. He is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology, Human Kinetics and Population Health at the University of Ottawa, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Goldfield is a clinical psychologist in the community and provides psychological services to children, youth and adults. His research program focuses on identifying and evaluating the various psychosocial and bio-behavioural determinants, consequences, and intervention strategies in the treatment and prevention of obesity in children and adolescents.


Stasia Hadjiyannakis

Stasia Hadjiyannakis is a pediatric endocrinologist and the Medical Director of CHEO’s Center for Healthy Active Living. She is an associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa and has been an active member of the Department of Pediatrics at CHEO in the division of endocrinology since 2001. Her clinical, advocacy and research interests are in the area of pediatric obesity and related co-morbidities.


Kathy Kater

Kathy Kater has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years, and is an internationally respected authority on treatment and prevention of the full range of body image, eating, fitness, and weight-related concerns. Frustrated that progress in understanding the basis for these problems was not resulting in effective prevention, she developed the Healthy Bodies: Teaching Kids What They Need to Know curriculum. This evidence-based lesson plan was published by the National Eating Disorder Association in 1998, and fully updated in 2005 and 2012. The Healthy Bodies curriculum challenges the harmful assumptions of weight bias and stigma, and aims to promote health instead of size through lessons that inspire kids (and adults) to stay connected to, care for, and take care of their diverse-sized bodies from the inside out. Kathy is a dynamic speaker whose presentations always earns the highest praise from professional and lay audiences alike.


Barry Lavallee

Dr. Barry Lavallee is a member of Manitoba First Nation and Métis communities, and is a University of Manitoba trained family physician specializing in Indigenous health and northern practice. His clinical work has focused on the health and healing needs of First Nation and Métis communities. He has a Masters of Clinical Sciences from the University of Western Ontario. His research and clinical areas are chronic diseases, transgenerational trauma, impact of colonization on Indigenous communities and international Indigenous health. He is the Director of Student Support and Education for the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education, University of Manitoba and Indigenous Health UGME Curriculum Lead for the University of Manitoba.


John S. Lyons

John S. Lyons, Ph.D. is a Senior Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. After receiving his doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Statistics from the University of Illinois and postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago, Dr. Lyons served on the faculty at Northwestern University for 24 years and became a Professor of Psychiatry & Medicine and the founding Director of the Mental Health Services and Policy Program. In 2008, he became the inaugural Endowed Chair of Child and Youth Mental Health Research at the University of Ottawa. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed publications and six books including Redressing the Emperor: improving our children’s public mental health system and Communimetrics. He has created an supported the use of evidence-based assessments that are used around the world including the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS), Family Advocacy and Support Tool (FAST) and Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment (ANSA). He actively works at the interface between practice and policy in mental health, child welfare, education, and justice.


Amy McPherson

Amy is a Scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital where she leads the ProFILE lab (Promoting Fitness and Healthy Lifestyles for Everyone). She is also Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. She brings a health psy¬chology perspective to exploring the psychological impact of long-term conditions on children and their families, with a particular focus upon health promotion for children and youth with disabilities. Amy is the founder of the Disability and Obesity in Canadian Children Network (DOCC-Net) which aims to chart the way of future research on obesity and weight-related issues with children with disabilities.


Gail McVey

Dr. McVey is Director of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders at the University Health Network and Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Throughout McVey’s prevention research career, attention has been given to program development, community capacity building and partnership development, as well as implementation and knowledge translation. McVey has hosted national and international knowledge exchange events designed to integrate prevention research and work across the spectrum of weight related disorders. In doing so, she has brought together stakeholders from the fields of eating disorders and obesity prevention to encourage dialogue among researchers, practitioners, advocates and policy makers. She is senior co-editor of a 2012 edited volume entitled Preventing Eating and Weight-Related Issues: Collaborative Research, Advocacy, and Policy Change (with Drs. Michael Levine, Niva Piran, and Bruce Ferguson). Dr. McVey, in partnership with Sudbury & District Health Unit, has led professional development intervention research in Ontario with a focus on self-reflection about one’s own weight bias and its influence on interactions with children, youth, and families, strategies to avoid the triggering of weight and shape preoccupation by promoting self-care for all, and skill building in mental health promotion to optimize health outcomes in children and youth. McVey is the recipient of the US National Eating Disorders Association’s Lori Irving Award for Excellence in Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness and has been awarded the status of fellow by the International Academy of Eating Disorders in recognition of her distinguished contributions in research-based scholarship, clinical practice and advocacy.


Christopher Mushquash

Dr. Mushquash is Ojibway and a member of Pays Plat First Nation. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University and the Division of Human Sciences at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. Mushquash is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction. In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Mushquash is a clinical psychologist at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, providing assessment, treatment, and consultation services to First Nations children, adolescents, and adults.


Dina Panagiotopoulous

Dr. Dina Panagiotopoulos is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia and an Endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital where she also serves as the Medical Director for both the Type 2 Diabetes/Insulin Resistance Clinic and the Provincial Mental Health Metabolic Program. She completed her medical school training at Queen’s University, Pediatrics Residency at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto and Endocrinology fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Her research spans both forms of diabetes. In the area of type 2 diabetes, her research focus is on vulnerable and “at-risk” populations – including Aboriginal youth, and children with mental health challenges. She led the first Canadian studies documenting the high prevalence of metabolic side-effects secondary to second-generation antipsychotic treatment in children and youth with mental illness. These data were so compelling that the Provincial Health Services Authority funded the Provincial Mental Health Metabolic Program at BC Children’s Hospital, the first clinic of its kind in the world where children with mental illness can now receive comprehensive multidisciplinary physical and mental health care. As co-founder and Medical Director of this Program, she has led the development and evaluation of many educational resources for mental health professionals and families used both nationally and internationally, the most notable being the Healthy Living, Healthy Minds Toolkits.


Lisa Pont

Lisa Pont started at the Problem Gambling Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as the Older Adult Specialist in 2007. Prior to that, she was hired at CAMH in 2002 to develop and coordinate the Telephone Support Line. Lisa’s experience in counseling, outreach, community work and training led her to her position as a Trainer/Therapist at the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at CAMH. Currently, she is involved in responsible gambling industry training and specializes in the area of online gaming, gambling and Internet overuse. Lisa continues to provide group and individual counseling and develops and delivers customized training programs. Lisa teaches both in professional development and continuing education programs at two Ontario Universities and presents at domestic and international conferences. Her expertise has been sought-out for print, radio, and television. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and a Master of Social Work from York University.


Joesph Skelton

Joseph A. Skelton, MD, MS is Director of Brenner FIT (Families In Training), an interdisciplinary, multi-component, family-based weight management program, a part of Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and of Epidemiology and Prevention at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Skelton is an Appalachian native and received his undergraduate degree at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and his medical degree at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. He completed his pediatric residency training, chief residency, and Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He was selected in 2007-2016 as one of the Best Doctor’s in America for his care of children and families who struggle with weight. His research interests are attrition from weight management, innovative approaches to family-based treatment, investigation of family function and health behaviors, and family experience in multidisciplinary programs. He is married to a clinical pharmacist and is the father of two boys, and is known for his authentic Southern-style BBQ.


Judy Swift

Judy is an Associate Professor of Behavioural Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, and her research mainly focuses on developing ways in which we can talk about obesity sensitively yet effectively. Obesity is a complex, value-laden subject and people who have obesity deserve to be treated with respect. However, healthcare professionals and the wider healthcare system also have an important obligation to provide accurate medical information and promote healthy behaviour change. These seemingly competing demands can result in tensions for healthcare professionals. Judy’s work describes and evaluates different methods of communicating about, and framing of obesity, particularly between healthcare professionals and clients, and between adults and children. Her work has been cited in the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence obesity guidance, and she has been instrumental in the Association for the Study of Obesity’s position statement on obesity. She collaborates with scientists from the UK (University of Newcastle, City University), Ireland (University College Cork), Canada (Bloorview Research Institute), and Australia (University of Wollongong, University of Canberra). More recently she has collaborated with the EveryBODY Matters collective, headed by Prof Sara Kirk and the Canadian Obesity Network, and formed by academics and patient representatives from across Canada and Europe.


Tracy Vaillancourt

Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt is a Canada Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa where she is cross-appointed as a full professor in Counselling Psychology and the School of Psychology. She is also an elected member of The College of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Vaillancourt’s research examines the links between bullying and mental health, with a particular focus on social neuroscience. She is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.


Anne Wareham

Anne Wareham is a Registered Psychologist and Program Lead of the Janeway Lifestyle Program. She obtained her clinical training at the University of Cambridge and British Psychological Society, with additional training at the University College London and Gestalt Awareness Training Experience, UK. Anne is the co-founder and co-chair of the Body Image Network, a provincial community organization which was founded in 2000 to promote eating well, being active and feeling good about oneself. She is the author of a children’s book used in the Grade 2 Health curriculum that promotes a positive body image for children of many shapes and sizes. Anne has over 22 years of clinical experience working with children and families in the areas of eating disorders, obesity, body image and psychiatry.


Meg Zeller

Dr. Zeller is a tenured Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her program of research aims to significantly improve the health and quality of life of youth who are obese by identifying psychosocial correlates of pediatric obesity at the child/adolescent, caregiver, or family level that are potential barriers to successful weight loss and maintenance. Dr. Zeller’s program of research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2001, with specific expertise in the execution of well-designed prospective longitudinal observational and multi-site studies, with data collected in school, home, and clinic environments. Dr. Zeller leads the field in studies on the psychosocial adjustment and risks associated with adolescent severe obesity as well as when adolescents undergo bariatric surgery. Dr. Zeller has also made significant contributions to the growth in the pediatric obesity health-related quality of life literature, including the development of three condition-specific instruments that are actively being used by clinical programs and within NIH and industry-sponsored outcome studies. Dr. Zeller serves on the Scientific Advisory Board, Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Team Grant to Address Bariatric Care in Canadian Children (Team ABC3).