Maureen Dymek-Valentine, PhD
Each year CEED is privileged to work with a new group of advanced clinical trainees. This year, we are thrilled to announce our newest clinical training cohort: Marina Harris, Ph.D., our clinical psychology fellow, Amanda Bruening, M.A., our clinical psychology intern, and Emily Walsh, B.A., and Rachael Flatt, M.A., our graduate level clinical psychology practicum students. Read on for more information about their backgrounds, interests, and roles at CEED.
Dr. Marina Harris originally hails from Cary, N.C. Marina was a competitive gymnast and earned a full scholarship to West Virginia University. After a career-ending injury in college, she became a volunteer coach and majored in sport and exercise psychology. Through her experiences, she became interested in helping athletes optimize their wellness. She was drawn to the field of eating disorders given the pervasiveness of these disorders in the culture of certain sports. Marina earned her M.S. in kinesiology from Miami University, her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UNLV, and completed her clinical pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. In her work, she has consulted with youth and college athletes, professional and student circus artists, and received specialized training in eating disorders, mindfulness, trauma, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She plans to build a career that will allow her to both treat individuals with eating disorders and work with athletes. In her position at UNC, Marina conducts clinical work in our inpatient and outpatient levels of care at CEED, provides services within Sports Medicine, and assists with the UNITE clinical trial (couple based treatment for binge-eating disorder). In her free time, Marina is also a writer. She writes to inspire hope and healing and writes on a variety of topics, including general mental health, eating disorders, body image, perfectionism, mindfulness, and tips for living a more fulfilling life. You can find her on Medium — https://medium.com/@marinaharris20 – and her website, www.drmarinaharris.com.
Amanda Bruening, M.A., was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and raised in a suburb of Flint, Michigan. Amanda earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and classical civilizations from the University of Notre Dame. During her undergraduate career, she lived and studied on-site with archeologists in Athens, Greece! She is currently a graduate student in clinical psychology at Arizona State University, and is on track to complete her Ph.D. in 2021. Amanda first became interested in eating disorder work upon enrolling in a focused seminar in college. Amanda states, “It was so eye-opening to learn the ways in which social and cultural ideals can mold our most intimate relationship, that with our own body, in a negative way. Not to mention this feeling negative about our bodies is considered normal! That really bothered me and continues to fuel my passion for this field.” Amanda’s research has focused predominantly on the etiology and coupling of disordered eating and substance use across important developmental transitions, and she is particularly drawn to implementation and dissemination work. A career goal is to work in adolescent medicine within an academic medical setting, where she can use her research background to develop and adapt early intervention programs for adolescents. Amanda is the Women’s Mental Health pre-doctoral intern at UNC, where she works in both the inpatient and outpatient levels of care at CEED, the UNC Women’s Mood program, and several other clinical sites throughout the medical center.
Emily Walsh, B.A., was born and raised in Massachusetts, earned her B.A. in psychology and studio art from Bard College, and worked for five years as a clinical research assistant in Providence, Rhode Island and New York City before starting her doctoral training in clinical psychology at UNC. Emily’s enduring interest in eating disorders is driven by a desire to improve treatment accessibility and outcomes for those struggling with their relationship to their bodies. Her research examines the developmental trajectories and treatment of restrictive eating, and she is beginning to explore the complex interrelationships among body image, embodiment, and sexuality. She is passionate about clinical work with adolescents and young adults. Upon completing her Ph.D., Emily hopes to pursue a clinical research career in a community mental health setting (serving individuals with eating disorders and survivors of sexual/domestic violence), contributing to projects related to treatment development, and providing psychotherapy for un- or underinsured community members. At CEED, Emily is involved in clinical work within both the inpatient and outpatient levels of care. Outside of her academic and clinical work, Emily loves sewing, drawing, reading, dancing, and running outdoors.
Rachael Flatt, M.A., grew up in San Diego, CA and Boulder/Colorado Springs, CO. Prior to college, Rachael had a distinguished career in figure skating, in which she was a three-time US National champion and represented the US in the 2010 Winter Olympics on the women’s figure skating team. Rachael went on to earn her B.S. in biology at Stanford University and is presently a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at UNC. Rachael is fascinated by the science of eating disorders at both a biological and psychological level. She is particularly interested in the athlete population and is eager to improve the science and change the culture around eating disorders within the sports community. One of Rachael’s goals within the field is to blend digital mental health tools with existing treatment. Rachael states, “We will likely never be able to train enough clinicians to meet the need of our population, and I see tailored digital tools as a potential solution to that problem.” Rachael hopes to eventually work towards a position doing applied research and clinical work as a mental health director for a sports governing body or an athletic department. Rachael is actively involved in several research endeavors at CEED and is working clinically at both the inpatient and outpatient levels of care. On a personal note, Rachael has become an avid gardener this summer, and states, “My husband and I grew a lot of our own vegetables—some of which were part of our wedding dinner when we got married in my parents’ backyard in Colorado this summer.” Rachael also enjoys spending time with her “goofball” 4-year-old husky, Jax.