2017 HEDS Conference: About the Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Carolyn Becker, PhD, FAED

Professor Carolyn Becker is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders and the use of exposure therapy to treat posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders.

The primary focus of her teaching, research, and clinical work is the implementation of scientifically supported prevention and treatment interventions in clinical and real world settings. She teaches a range of courses related to clinical psychology and regularly involves Trinity psychology students as research collaborators. In 2012,  Becker was awarded the Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship for excellence in teaching and advising.

Becker has systematically collaborated with the local sororities at Trinity University in studying strategies to improve body image and prevent eating disorders. One extension of this work has been the development of the United Kingdom-based Succeed: Body Image Program, which is now being deployed nationally in the UK by the Succeed Foundation. In addition, Becker has partnered with the department of athletics in the creation of the Female Athlete Body Project. This research has been funded by two grants from the National Institute of Health.

Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale, PhD, LMSW

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D. is the founder of the Peace of Mind foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD. Elizabeth was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 12 and she underwent treatment which included both inpatient and outpatient therapy and continues to engage in outpatient therapy to this day to manage her OCD on a daily basis. Elizabeth has made it her life mission to make a difference in the lives of those living with a mental illness. Elizabeth and her family were once told her OCD was too severe to be treated but today she stands before you as someone who successfully manages her illness. She is a national spokesperson for the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and is a licensed therapist in Texas. Elizabeth received her bachelors and masters in social work from Loyola University Chicago and her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Houston. Elizabeth proudly serves as an assistant professor at Baylor Universities Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Elizabeth and her family founded the Peace of Mind Foundation; a non-profit dedicated to OCD. Elizabeth’s foundation runs the ocdchallenge.org which is a free interactive self-help website for obsessive compulsive disorder based on the principles of exposure with response prevention. Elizabeth is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless; being a social worker allows her to continue her work in the field and to stamp out the stigma of mental illness everyday.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale 

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is a Texas-grown phenomenon who knows how to “Save You Money, TODAY!”

In 1981, Mack and his wife Linda started Gallery Furniture with five thousand dollars and a dream. Mack began television advertising early on and with his motto of “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise”, he quickly became a household name.

In 2009, Gallery Furniture opened a second store on Post Oak Blvd in the Houston Galleria area. This proved to be a blessing as Mack, Linda, and the entire Gallery Furniture family faced a horrific fire on May 21, 2009 at the flagship I-45 store location which destroyed the warehouse. By bringing their positive approach and “TODAY” philosophy to everything they do, Gallery Furniture re-built the “World’s Greatest Furniture Store” bigger and better than ever with a full Grand Opening less than four months later.

Gallery Furniture has seen a lot of expansion over the years with the re-build of the flagship store, the addition of the Galleria location and the third and largest store located in Fort Bend County on the Grand Parkway that opened in 2015, which features a 165,000 square feet showroom. Even with multiple locations, Gallery Furniture still lives up to its promise of delivering quality furniture, mattresses and home electronics TODAY.

The success of Gallery Furniture is mostly attributed to Mack’s “do-whatever-it-takes” approach to pleasing the customer. With three locations, Gallery Furniture sells the most furniture and mattresses in the nation per square foot including Gallery Furniture’s own line, Mack-O-Pedic, as well as other name brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Mayo, United Leather, American Leather, Lane, Broyhill, Flexsteel and of course solid wood furniture, made in America.

Mack’s strong work ethic is matched by his philanthropy and exceeded only by the commitment he has to his family.  Past charitable contributions include:

  • Co-founded the Peace of Mind Foundation for those affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • One of the largest contributors to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo with over $4 million given
  • Funded St. Luke’s Mobile Stroke Unit
  • Large contributor to Texas Heart Institute, Baylor College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School
  • Instrumental in getting Menninger Clinic to move to Houston to provide mental health care to Houston by providing a multi-million dollar donation
  • Annual Christmas give-away furnishing hundreds of housefuls of furniture for the past 30 years
  • Helped start and continuously fund the KickStart Kids Program in Houston
  • Furnished USO facilities around the world
  • Furnished George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M
  • Hosted events for and donated to the Salvation Army
  • Donated thousands of dollars of furniture to hundreds of teacher lounges in Houston area schools
  • Helped to raise over $12 million dollars for the Bush/Clinton fund to aid those affected by the Tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  • Underwrote YMCA playground at Reliant Stadium for Katrina Evacuees and housed several hundred evacuees during hurricane crisis
  • Underwrote National OCF Conference held in Houston
  • Recipient of Mental Health Association Award in 2005
  • Underwrote wolf exhibit for The Houston Zoo
  • Built and paid for tennis facility at Yates High School
  • Donated tennis racquets to inner city kids that would not otherwise have the opportunity to take tennis lessons
  • Sole sponsor of Pilgrimage of Faith sending 500 kids and chaperones from the Galveston/Houston Catholic Dioceses to Rome
  • Fed 25,000 people Thanksgiving dinner for several years
  • Bought 10,000 toys for needy children, distributed during the holiday

In addition to Gallery Furniture, Mack and Linda also own and operate Westside Tennis and Fitness and enjoy spending time with their children James, Laura, Elizabeth and Regina, and their three grandchildren.

2017 HEDS Conference Speakers

Melissa Cook, LPC-S

Melissa H. Cook is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in the treatment of Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders and Identity Disorders in the Memorial area.  In her practice, she combines DBT, CBT and Logotherapy along with her Christian faith to help clients who are in need.  Melissa has personal recovery from an Eating Disorder and feels that God has called her to this field specifically to help those who struggle as she did.

Melissa received her Master of Arts in Counseling at the Houston Graduate School of Theology.  For her undergraduate degree, Melissa studied at The University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications. She also has a Master’s in Education at the University of Houston.

She is married to Douglas and they have three children, ages 20, 18 and 16. 

Malak Saddy, RD, LDN

Malak Saddy, BS, RD/ LDN came to Center for Discovery Dallas from Center For Discovery Chicago where she was integral in the establishment and growth of the residential adolescent eating disorder program over the last two years. She graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing with her Bachelor of Science degree and has over five years’ experience in adolescent nutrition counseling, food cultures, and integrative nutrition education. Malak has lectured at universities to dietetic students as well as at local schools on the effects of eating disorders and challenging others to incorporate the All Foods Fit Philosophy into their own lives. She is passionate about providing individualized nutritional care and counseling support to clients and their families while being compassionate and is empathetic to their needs.

Melissa Spann, PhD, CEDS

Melissa Spann, PhD, CEDS is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in working with women and families to effectively engage them in the treatment process from their initial point of contact. Her previous clinical work has included serving as a primary therapist at Oliver- Pyatt Centers, The Renfrew Center and Life Counseling Services in Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and her doctoral degree from Drexel University. Dr. Spann has served as the Director of Admissions at Oliver-Pyatt since 2014.

Dr. Spann has presented nationally on topics related to adolescent development and body image issues. Her clinical interests include the intersection of trauma and eating disorders, body image development, proactively building for health, and women’s issues across the lifespan.

Nicole Siegfried, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Nicole Siegfried is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS), a licensed clinical psychologist, and is the Clinical Director of Castlewood at The Highlands Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. She served as an Associate Professor of Psychology at Samford University and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is an international speaker and has published research, magazine articles, and book chapters in the field of eating disorders and suicide. She is a member of the Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), and Co-Chair of the Eating Disorders and Suicide Prevention AED Special Interest Group. She is the president of the Alabama Regional Iaedp Chapter.

Nicole Garber, MD

Nicole Garber completed medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine. She completed her general psychiatry residency at Emory University and her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. After fellowship she worked at the Menninger Clinic on the Compass Unit. She also worked as the chief of the pediatric and adolescent program at Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorder. She is currently the medical director at Arizona’s Children Association. She has a strong interest in treating eating disorders and personality disorders using a biopsychosocial model.  She is extensively trained in Dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization based treatment, trauma focused CBT, and psychodynamic therapy.

Ovidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, F.iaedp, CEDS

Ovidio Bermudez, MD is the Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Services and Chief Clinical Officer at Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado and affiliates. He holds academic appointments as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Bermudez is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the Academy for Eating Disorders, and the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.  He is Past Chairman and Senior Advisor on Media to the Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Association.

Deborah Michel, PhD, CEDS

Beth Garland, PhD

Dr. Garland studies outcomes of group and individual behavioral interventions as well as common psychological co-morbidities across adolescents with obesity and eating-related disorders. In particular she is interested in adolescent motivaion for change and transition-related issues for adolescents.

Rachel Wolfe, PhD

As a member of the Adolescent Medicine interdisciplinary team, Dr. Wolfe provides inpatient and outpatient psychological services to teens and their families through individual, group, and family therapy. She primarily works with teenage girls and boys with eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Eating Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. She also is experienced in working with teens experiencing depression, anxiety, adjustment difficulties, and body image concerns.

Her research interests are also in the realm of adolescent mental health and eating disorders. Her current research endeavor is focused on eating disorders in Latino/Hispanic teens and how to best serve this population in treatment.

Dustin Rynders, M.P.Aff, J.D.

Dustin Rynders is the Supervising Attorney of the Education Team at Disability Rights Texas , which is a nonprofit law firm and member of the federally authorized Protection and Advocacy (P&A) network. He supervises a team of attorneys and advocates throughout Texas, who represent students with disabilities and their parents in disputes with school districts. His own cases have focused largely on issues faced by youth with disabilities who are also involved in the juvenile justice and child protection systems. Dustin received a Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University, cum laude, a M.P.Aff. from the L.B.J. School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and a J.D. from The University of Houston Law Center.

Connie Wiemann, PhD, FSAHM

Dr Wiemann is full-time research faculty and the Director of Research in the Section of Adolescent Medicine & Sports Medicine. Her research interests focus on life course transitions, including adolescent pregnancy and parenthood and the movement of youth with chronic medical or mental health concerns from pediatric to adult health care and from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Current areas of concentration include the prevention of teen pregnancy; intimate partner violence among adolescent and young adult couples; and the development of programs to help youth with chronic health care needs (YSHCN) learn the disease self-management and self-advocacy skills needed to engage in adult health care. Dr. Wiemann is also participating in several Quality Improvement projects to improve the capacity of health care systems to adequate prepare and receive YSHCN. In addition, Dr. Wiemann teaches a Research Core to adolescent medicine and psychology post-doctoral fellows, supervises masters-level graduate student research, and has served as Program Evaluator on several federally funded training and research projects.

Ed Tyson, MD

Dr. Tyson has been specializing in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders for over 25 years. After his Family Practice residency, he completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine, during which he had his first clinical training in eating disorders. Later, while Director of Clinics for the Adolescent Medicine Section, Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, he began to focus on eating disorders as a specialty.  After moving back to Austin, he opened his private practice specializing in eating disorders.

Dr. Tyson is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP), and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), among other organizations. He is also on the Advisory Board for AED and the Board of the Austin Foundation for Eating Disorders, a 501c3 advocacy organization.

In addition to being member of eating disorder professional meetings, Dr. Tyson speaks frequently nationally and internationally on various topics about eating disorders. He wrote the chapter on medical assessment for the recent text, “Eating Disorders—Bridging the Research-Practice Gap.” And as a member of the Medical Care Standards Task Force for the AED, he is a co-author of the AED’s medical guide on eating disorders, Critical Points for Early Recognition and Medical Risk Management in the Care of Individuals with Eating Disorders, of which over 100,000 copies have been distributed worldwide and in several languages. This document was developed to distribute to hospitals, emergency rooms, health care organizations, physicians, and other professionals and even sufferers and their families around the world to encourage improved assessment and treatment of those with eating disorders.

Advocating for those with eating disorders has been a priority and Dr. Tyson has worked to develop legislation in the state of Texas to mandate insurance coverage for eating disorders. Dr. Tyson also teaches residents, medical students, nurse practitioner students, as well as undergraduate and graduate classes at the University of Texas about eating disorders.

Jill Sechi, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD

Jill has been extensively trained in wellness coaching and has been a Registered and Licensed Dietitian since 1996.  She is one of the only dietitians in Houston who is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD), and currently supervises other CEDRD candidates. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from Texas A&M University. She also obtained a Master of Science degree in nutrition and food management from The University of Central Oklahoma.

Jill has gained experience in most areas of Medical Nutrition Therapy and has worked at various hospitals as a clinical dietitian. Her primary focus the last decade has been disordered eating, eating disorders, and weight management. For 5 years, she worked at The Methodist Hospital’s Weight Management Center facilitating groups and providing individual nutrition therapy. Additionally, Jill works with eating disorder clients providing nutrition therapy, meal support, and runs a binge eating and anorexia and bulimia group with Meredith Cook, LPC through The Collaborative Approach.  She has also worked with Houston Eating Disorders Center, now ERC – Houston, providing medical nutrition therapy for the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) clients.

Jennifer Nagel, RD, LD, PA-C

Jennifer has been a Physician Assistant for the past 7 years and a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years. Her work experience includes primary care, urgent care, weight management, and psychiatry. Jennifer specializes in the medical evaluation and treatment of eating disorders. She discovered her passion for the field when she worked as a Physician Assistant providing medical care for the Residential and Partial Hospitalization Programs at an eating disorder treatment center in San Diego, CA. She found great benefit in working as part of a treatment team and encourages a collaborative approach with other professionals caring for eating disorder patients.

Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS

Kari Anderson, DBH, LPC, CEDS is a binge & emotional eating specialist who uses mindfulness-based therapies to treat disordered eating patterns.

Having struggled with binge eating and weight stigma herself, Kari’s professional career has a personal passion driving it. She has been working with eating disorders for 25 years, with particular emphasis on Binge Eating Disorder. Kari has the unique ability to lead organizational teams and at the same time connect with individuals on a very real and compassionate level. Often referred to as someone who “gets it” by participants, she creates a safe environment.

Prior to coming to Green Mountain, she positioned herself as a respected clinician and leader in the field of eating disorders. Having worked for treatment centers such as Remuda Ranch and The Rader Institute, she had the opportunity to help thousands of patients and their families. She earned her Doctorate of Behavioral Health with her research project The Mindful Eating Cycle: Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder at Arizona State University in 2012. Co-creator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating for Binge Eating Program, Kari also co-authored the acclaimed book, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating: A Mindful Eating Program for Healing Your Relationship with Food and Your Body. Kari leads the Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Dana Notte, MS, RS, CD

I work as a nutrition consultant to a variety of programs that focus primarily on behavioral weight management. In my consulting roles I offer in-person and phone based nutrition counseling to individuals and groups. I also run wellness workshops for worksite wellness programs. In addition to my consulting roles I teach at the Community College of Vermont and University of Vermont.