African American Eating Disorders Professionals (AAEDP) Committee

People of Color (POC-AAEDP) Subcommittee

Professional Membership Directory

~Message from CO-CHAIRS~

Our mission has expanded.  In keeping with the mission of iaedp™’s African American Eating Disorders Professionals (AAEDP) Committee dedicated to identifying, attracting, and engaging African-American Eating Disorders Professionals and providing training and conducting research focused on the unique societal challenges impacting eating behavior and African-Americans, and the barriers to the professional advancement of African-Americans in the field, we recognize that other groups experience similar barriers.

Because African Americans are representative in various groups including People of Color, the AAEDP Committee is proud to model inclusivity with the establishment of a People of Color subcommittee of the AAEDP. In so doing, we recognize the complex cumulative challenges of racism, sexism and classism and how they combine, overlap and/or intersect.

We would like to pay a special tribute to the founding co-chairs of AAEDP – Mazella Fuller, PhD, MSW, LCSW, CEDS-S and Charlynn Small PhD, CEDS-S who spearheaded the growth and development of the AAEDP, since its inception in June 2016.

With our expanded mission, we look forward to be able to engage and attract African American and other professionals of color to model inclusivity and diversity within iaedp.  Our mission is to spread the word about AAEDP and about the prevalence and unique characteristics of eating disorders as they present in African Americans and people of color.

AAEDP Committee CO-CHAIR Carolyn Coker Ross, MD, MPH, CEDS is a physician, internationally recognized speaker and expert in the use of integrative medicine to treat eating disorders and addictions.  She is board certified in both Preventive Medicine and Addiction Medicine.  She is the author of four books, the most recent of which is “The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook.”  Earlier books include “The Overcoming Binge Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating Workbook” and “The Emotional Eating Workbook.” She is also the co-presenter on an audio with Dr. Andrew Weil, “The Joy of Eating Well.”

Dr. Ross completed a two-year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, studying with Dr. Andrew Weil. Her path then led her to work as the head of the Eating Disorders Program and the Integrative Medicine Department at world-renowned inpatient hospital, Sierra Tucson where she pioneered the Integrative Medicine approach to eating disorder and addiction treatment.  Dr. Ross is also an addiction medicine specialist and Suboxone doctor who specializes in opioid addiction treatment. She is a consultant for treatment centers across the country on eating disorders, addiction medicine and integrative medicine.

Currently, Dr. Ross is the CEO of The Anchor Program™, an online non-diet telemedicine coaching program for individuals with binge eating, compulsive overeating and food addiction.  The Anchor Certification Program(TM) also offers a certification program for therapists and other providers in the use of her unique approach in working with individuals who struggle with food and body image issues.

Contact: (520)-440-0079/Email: – ~

AAEDP Committee CO-CHAIR Paula Edwards-Gayfield, LPCS, LPC, CEDS, NCC  is the Regional Assistant Vice President at The Renfrew Center, overseeing clinical and administrative operations at the Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; Ridgewood, NJ; and West Palm Beach, FL locations. A Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma and LPC Supervisor in North Carolina, she received her Master’s degree in Counseling from the UNC at Charlotte. Ms. Edwards-Gayfield has extensive experience working with adolescents, adults and families, with special interest in the treatment of eating disorders, women’s issues, relationship concern, mood and anxiety disorders, and life adjustments.

A National Certified Counselor, she is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Oklahoma Counseling Association, Oklahoma Eating Disorder Association, and is certified with the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp™).

Ms. Edwards-Gayfield is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences with a primary focus on eating disorders and diversity.

Contact: (704)-285-7644 / Email: –

iaedp™ Board Liaison Gayle Brooks, PhD, CEDS is Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for The Renfrew Center. Dr. Brooks leads the Renfrew Clinical Excellence Board and the Clinical Training Department. She has clinical and administrative oversight responsibility for Renfrew’s residential facility in Florida and for the non-residential sites in TN, TX, NC, FL, GA and CA. For the past 25 years, she has treated patients from diverse backgrounds who suffer from eating disorders.

Dr. Brooks served as the eating disorders specialist in the HBO film Thin, has appeared on Good Morning America and has been featured in the following publications: The New York Times, People Magazine, Essence Magazine and Perspectives, The Renfrew Center Foundation’s journal for professionals. A frequent presenter at conferences and workshops, Dr. Brooks speaks on topics such as the Unified Treatment of the complex patient, eating disorders and cultural diversity, the interplay between eating disorders and trauma, and eating disorders in mid-life women. Dr. Brooks is a member of the iaedp Board of Directors and is Co-Chair of the AED Diversity SIG.

Contact: (954)-671-6165 / Email: –

Co-Chair People of Color (POC-AAEDP) Subcommittee Marvice Marcus, PhD has the great fortune of serving as a Staff Psychologist and member of the administrative team at Duke University. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University, and completed a predoctoral internship at Duke University CAPS. He primarily worked in university mental health, spanning three regions of the United States and views clinical work as both a place of refuge for clients and an avenue for activism. Dr. Marcus enjoys working with students who present with concerns related to adjustment, mood and anxiety disorders, social and familial conflict, and identity development (e.g., racial, sexual and gender expression). His approach to therapy is integrative, mostly composed of interpersonal/relational interventions, emotional-focused strategies, and behavioral elements. He is especially interested in developing ways to effectively use cultural studies to contextualize human suffering, as well as to elucidate the underpinnings of thought processes and behavior.

Other professional interests include men and masculinities, race and gender politics, and issues of diversity, inclusion and mattering in institutions of higher education.

Contact: 919.660.1000/Email:

Co-Chair People of Color (POC-AAEDP) Subcommittee Norman H. Kim, PhD completed his B.A. at Yale and his Ph.D. in Psychology at UCLA. His research and clinical interests include the neurobiology and social development of people with autism, the developmental course of bipolar disorder, and the treatment of anxiety disorders.  In conjunction Norman has developed an expertise in treating and teaching about psychiatrically complex populations, multi-modal treatment, and diagnostic assessment with a particular focus on Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Bipolar Disorder. He is a regular national speaker, educator, and passionate advocate for eating disorder awareness and legislation with a particular focus on marginalized communities.  He is on the Board of Directors of the Eating Disorders Coalition and is the co-chair of the Transcultural SIG for the Academy of Eating Disorders. Norman is the co-founder and National Director of the Reasons Eating Disorder Center.

Contact: (917)-565-1381/ Email:

AAEDP Founding Co-Chair Charlynn Small, PhD, CEDS-S, is a native of Washington, DC, and is a licensed clinical psychologist (LCP) on staff at the University of Richmond’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Center in Virginia, where she serves as Chair of the University’s Eating and Body Image Concerns Team. Dr. Small received her MA in Clinical/Community Psychology at the University of the District of Columbia, and her PhD in School Psychology at Howard University. She completed her clinical training at the University of Richmond. Dr. Small is also a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Washington, DC, and has been certified as a school psychologist in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

She is a frequent speaker at international and national conferences, and is an educator and advocate for the awareness of eating disorders affecting African-Americans, and other persons of color and underrepresented groups. Published journal articles focus on multicultural education. Dr. Small is a certified (CEDS-S) Approved Supervisor member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp™). She has served as a member of the Advisory Board for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), and currently serves as Certification Chair of the Richmond, Virginia iaedp™ Chapter.

Contact: (804)-289-8566 /Email:

 AAEDP Founding Co-Chair Mazella B. Fuller, PhD, MSW, LCSW, CEDS-S is a Clinical Associate on staff at the Counseling and Psychological Services of Duke University.  Dr. Fuller provides clinical services, consultation and training for social work and psychology interns.  She has worked in education for many years as a high school teacher, adjunct instructor, consultant and clinician.  Dr. Fuller is an Integrative Health Coach, and graduate of Duke Integrative Medicine.  She is a certified (CEDS-S) Approved Supervisor member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp™) and completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program through the Duke Integrative Medicine/Duke University Medical Center.  Clinical focus areas are brief individual/student developmental framework, couples, gender and social justice, equity and inclusion, and women’s leadership development.

Dr. Fuller is a graduate of Smith College for Social Work in Northampton, MA and completed her clinical training at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.  Dr. Fuller has served as a member of the Advisory Board National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).

Contact: (919)-660-1067/Email:

Supporting Professional Member Dr. Lesley Williams, CEDS is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and board certified Family Medicine physician. She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University Kentucky College of Medicine and completed her Family Medicine residency training at Mayo Clinic Arizona. She has worked exclusively with eating disorders for over 15 years in the full spectrum of treatment settings.

Dr. Williams is founder of Williams Wellness Medical Group, an outpatient eating disorder practice in Phoenix, AZ dedicated to providing expert medical care for those struggling with all forms of eating disorders and disordered eating. She has previously served as the Co-Founder and CEO for Liberation Center eating disorder treatment center and is currently the Medical Team Lead for Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Williams is a dynamic speaker who has given numerous lectures at national professional conferences. Her areas of special interest and expertise include: Diabetes and Eating Disorders, Gastrointestinal Illnesses and Co-Occurring Eating Disorders, PCOS & Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Inclusivity in Eating Disorder Treatment, Diabetes and Eating Disorders as well as Health at Every Size Advocacy.

Dr. Williams is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp™). Due to her hard work and dedication to the field in 2018 Dr. Williams was named as one of the Top 80 Female Eating Disorder Leaders in the United States and just selected for AED’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. I am hopeful it will be a platform to expand diversity and inclusion efforts in the field.

Contact: (602)-708-7877/Email: –

 Supporting Professional Member Melodie Simmons, MS, LPCa is the Clinical Director of Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders in Wickenburg, Arizona. Melodie is the clinical care leader and drives treatment for each patient from admission to discharge. She develops and coordinates all programming for the inpatient, residential and partial hospitalization levels of care in both the adolescent and adult units.

Before joining Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, Melodie served in multiple capacities for one of the largest nonprofit healthcare organizations in the nation. She has treated patients across the lifespan from early adolescent to geriatric, including patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Melodie has been employed as a clinician since 2008. During her tenure, she has treated many patients with eating disorders, co-occurring disorders/chemical dependency, personality disorders, and medically complex patients.

Melodie is a registered Licensed Supervisor on the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Registry. She currently holds an unrestricted independent license in professional counseling. Melodie studied advanced practice psychiatric nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She received her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and received her undergraduate degree from University of Alaska in her hometown of Fairbanks.

Melodie is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, Phoenix chapter. She has a passion for learning and is in the process of obtaining her certification as an eating disorder specialist. Her long-term goal is to obtain a doctorate in behavioral health management.

Contact: Cell (907)-590-5015 – Office (928)-684-9594 ext. 1131/ Email:

Supporting Professional Member Kena Watson, LPA is a Master’s level psychologist and owner of Still Frames Therapy and Wellness, PLLC, based out of Chapel Hill, NC. She provides therapy for young adults and young adult couples and has a passion for working with women of color, especially college and early career professionals.

Her specialties include body image and eating disorders among people of color, anxiety and coping with life transitions particularly those affecting the Gen Z and Millennial demographic. She has 4 years of experience with working at Carolina House-an eating disorder treatment facility where she provided individual and family therapy as well as facilitated Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Body Image, Self-Care and Media Awareness groups for patients. In addition to therapy, Kena also hosts private therapeutic vision board events that are geared to help individuals and couples connect with their values as they plan for their vision for the year.

Kena is a co-owner and administrator of an eating disorder culinary consulting company, Kalon Collective, LLC. At Kalon Collective the mission is to provide support to those in eating disorder recovery with assistance with meal support, grocery store shopping, basic cooking skills, fear food exposure and restaurant meal support. It is an outpatient service that requires a referral from a dietitian.

Contact me at: (919)-378-1720/ Email: – or

Supporting Professional Member Carlus M. Houston is the Founder and an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach and Interventionist at Fidelis Treatment Consultants based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has spent the past 23 years working in many facets of mental and behavioral health, providing crisis stabilization, intake coordination, group, individual and family counseling and mental health education and advocacy.

For the past 5 years he has worked primarily with eating disorders as a Professional Relations Manager for Veritas Collaborative, educating medical and therapeutic providers, schools, patients and families of ED diagnosis, treatment options and resources. He has worked to set himself up as the “go to” person for ED resources by providing sincere, reliable guidance to all account types and for all levels of care.  Leading you toward brighter paths.

Contact: (678) 469-5913 /Email: 

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