Norman Kim, PhD & Paula Gayfield, LCMHCS, LPC, CEDS-C & Carolyn Coker Ross, MD, MPH

Presentation Title:

“Dismantling Whiteness in Eating Disorders: Navigating Towards Culturally Responsive Practice”

Presentation Overview:

With an increasingly diverse nation, fast becoming a majority minority country, decentering whiteness in psychotherapy is critical to cultivating a more culturally attuned therapeutic approach. Systemic racism has pervasive impacts on those suffering from eating disorders as well as those engaged in trying to alleviate that suffering. A stance of clinical neutrality and an individualistic focus are not only inadequate, they are harmful. By deconstructing dominant cultural norms and biases underlying therapy practices, we endeavor to disrupt these harmful dynamics. We explore the urgent need within eating disorder treatment to address the systemic nature of barriers to accessing care, stigma, lack of representation among providers and mistrust of providers who do not possess an adequate understanding of cultural factors. We will explore structural and institutional, as well as interpersonal, manifestations of racism essential for an antiracist foundation to our work caring for those with eating disorders. Through a social justice lens, participants will explore privilege, bias, and the importance of intersectional identities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will be able to increase their own awareness about the role of whiteness and privilege in sharping therapeutic dynamics
  2. Attendees will be able to generate two ways which providers can actively engage in antiracist practices to recognize and address biases in their practice
  3. Attendees will be able to identify and understand the role which providers’ own facial consciousness, awareness of privilege and understanding of bias play in their work with clients from marginalized groups and minoritized identities

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Norman Kim, PhD is the inaugural DEI Officer for the Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Department of Psychiatry, the co-founder of the Institute for Antiracism and Equity, a social justice focused consultancy, and adjunct faculty at NYU. He completed his B.A. at Yale and his Ph.D. in Psychology at UCLA. He is a regular national and international speaker, educator, and passionate advocate with a particular focus on health equity, systemic racism, eating disorders and anxiety, evolutionary frameworks for psychopathology, and anti-Blackness. He advises health tech startups in the UK and US, professional organizations, and providers.



Ms. Paula Edwards-Gayfield, LCMHCS, LPC, CEDS-C (she/her/hers) is the Regional Assistant Vice President for the Renfrew Centers. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from UNC at Charlotte. Ms. Edwards-Gayfield has extensive experience in the treatment of eating disorders with special interest in women’s issues, relationship concerns, depression and anxiety, self-esteem and body image. Ms. Edwards-Gayfield is an advocate for the awareness of eating disorders affecting Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Ms. Edwards-Gayfield is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist & Approved Consultant (CEDS-C) of iaedp™ and is the former Co-Chair of the African American Eating Disorder Professionals Committee (AAEDP).


Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross, MD, MPH, is an African American author, speaker, expert in using Integrative Medicine for the treatment of food and body image issues and addictions, and the CEO of The Anchor Program. Dr. Ross is a graduate of The University of Michigan Medical School, has an MPH from Loma Linda University and completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil. For the past 4 years, Dr. Ross has been an international speaker and consultant on issues of cultural competence, antiracism and diversity in mental health with a particular emphasis on the treatment of eating disorders in women of color.

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