Valentina Ivezaj, a pre-doctoral intern with Butler University Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS), has accepted a postdoctoral associate position at the Yale University School of Medicine Program for Obesity, Weight, and Eating Research (POWER), beginning next fall.
She began her one-year clinical internship at Butler in July 2011, as the final step in obtaining her doctoral degree from Eastern Michigan University. She has conducted CCS outreach on the topic of eating disorders and body image, individual therapy with students, and clinical work at Charis Center, an Indianapolis eating disorders clinic.
Ivezaj is one of three pre-doctoral psychology interns working for Butler Counseling and Consultation Service this academic year, under a program that dates back to 1988. “We’ve had excellent doctoral candidates serving in CCS, and Valentina is a great part of the staff,” said CCS Director Keith Magnus. “Yale chose her for the only postdoctoral position available in its obesity research program in 2012. We’re lucky to have her working with us.”
Ivezaj and other CCS and Butler staff are developing campus programming for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 26-March 3.
Activities will include films in residence halls and “Mirrorless Monday” on Feb. 27. That day, all mirrors in the Butler Health and Recreation Center will be covered, Ivezaj said, to remind center patrons to look beyond physical appearance and value positive aspects of themselves.
“It is imperative to reach out to college students because eating disorders are prevalent among this age group,” Ivezaj said. Data from the Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders indicates that 25 percent of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging behavior to help control weight.
“This is concerning, given that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate relative to other mental health conditions,” she said.
There’s no single reason for the prevalence of disorders in this population, according to Ivezaj. “It’s not just about the food or body image,” she said. “There are biological, psychological and social determinants that may collectively lead to eating-disordered behavior.”
Ivezaj looks forward to working with some of her “heroes” in the Yale research program, including Carlos Grilo, Robin Masheb and Marney White.
“These are the researchers I’ve been citing in my own doctoral research,” she said. “The POWER program at Yale receives grants to conduct randomized control trials, comparing different treatments for binge eating.” Data coming out of such research will inform better treatment of patients in clinical settings, she said.
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson