Advancing Research on Emotional Well-Being and Regulation of Eating

Speaker: Elissa Epel, Ph.D. Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry Director, Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center Director, Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST) University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA Date: June 23, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. ET to 1:00 p.m. ET Location: This virtual lecture will be streamed live and archived at NIH VideoCast and Facebook.


Event Description Given the rising levels of global stress, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness and mental health problems are on the rise, adding to the burden of chronic diseases. Most health-oriented research takes a harm-reduction approach, i.e., identifying and mitigating problems to reduce disease burden. Understanding and promoting emotional well-being (EWB) may yield another important strategy to accomplish this and significantly improve people’s health. Little has been known about how to best increase EWB in ways that also improve health.

Dr. Epel is principal investigator of a new research network to develop resources and a multidisciplinary community of scholars focused on researching EWB—its links to physical health, interventions that could best increase it, and the processes that explain how EWB impacts health. In addition to this work, Dr. Epel will discuss how stress and compulsive eating are interrelated, a longtime research focus for her. She and her team have developed interventions, including mindfulness-based training modules, as adjuvant components of treatment. Dr. Epel will review findings and lessons learned from clinical trials, the lab, and the field.

Biosketch At the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Elissa Epel is professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry; director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center and the Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST); and associate director of the Center for Health and Community. For the past 25 years, her research has focused on understanding how psychosocial stress influences health behaviors and biological indices of aging (e.g., inflammation, telomeres, and telomerase). Her other research interests include the long-term effects of adverse states on chronic disease; cellular aging; interconnections between stress, addiction, eating, and metabolic health; and the reduction of health disparities.

Dr. Epel received her Ph.D. in clinical and health psychology from Yale University and her B.A. from Stanford University. She completed a clinical internship at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology and medicine at UCSF. She is past president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and co-chair of the steering council of the Mind & Life Institute. The National Institutes of Health funders of Dr. Epel’s research include NCCIH; the National Institute on Aging; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the National Institute of Mental Health. Her publications include a bestselling book, The Telomere Effect, coauthored with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn.

About the Series This lecture is part of the spring 2022 season of NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series, which provides overviews of the current state of research and practice involving complementary health approaches and explores perspectives on integrative health. To find out more, visit https://www.nccih.nih.gov/news/events/imlectures. Reasonable Accommodation

Sign language interpreting services are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact the NCCIH Clearinghouse at info@nccih.nih.govor 1-888-644-6226 by June 16, 2022.

This event was originally published on the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Website. View the webpage here.