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For the past 16 years, I have studied cultural adaptation of instruments and interventions for depression and eating disorders and conducted epidemiologic studies of eating disorders in Puerto Rico. Since 2008, I have conducted research focused on the development of culturally sensitive treatment of eating disorders in Latinas in the United States. The focus of my research is on the development of culturally appropriate interventions for Latinas with eating disorders with a specific emphasis on developmentally and culturally appropriate incorporation of family members into treatment. Studies with Latinas have underscored the importance of the family as a cultural value affecting recognition of the eating disorders as well as the centrality of the role of the family and its relationship to food and body image in Latino culture. I'm the principal investigator of the NIMH funded study, “Engaging Latino Families in Eating Disorders Treatment” (K23 MH087954). The specific aims of this study are: 1) to gather comprehensive qualitative information about the appropriate role for family members in the treatment of eating disorders in Latino adults; 2) to develop and manualize an adjunctive family intervention to augment Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for eating disorders for Latinos adults; 3) to pre-test the family intervention adjunctive intervention; and 4) to compare the individual CBT + Family Enhancement versus individual CBT in a proof-of principle study.
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