What is Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS)? HDFS is the study of how individuals develop across the lifespan in the contexts of relationships, families, schools, and communities. Although my specialty lies in early childhood, I have expertise in various ages and stages of the lifespan.
What can you help me with? What topics or issues do you address? You have come to the right place if you are looking for ways to tap into the wisdom you already carry to foster resilience and optimal mental health for you, your family or team. You will decrease your stress, strengthen your relationships and feel healthier and happier in your role. You will achieve those same things for your child, family, or group. All of my work is trauma-informed and culturally responsive. I offer cooking classes for mental and overall health, workshops, and 1-on-1 coaching. For more specifics and for a conversation about whether working with me would be a good fit for your needs, email me.
What ages do you work with? Though my focus is on the earlier part of the lifespan, I work with all ages. My work has ranged from working with new parents of days-old infants to individuals in their 60s and beyond who want to support their gut, immune, and mental health through learning about the science behind the brain-gut-stress axis and the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Contact me so we can discuss how I can help you, your family, or group.
Do you work with parents or children? I work with both. Parents and children give their own perspectives on what the current challenge is and we work as a team to problem-solve together in context. We tweak as we go, depending on how things are going. In addition to one-on-one coaching, you can join one of the cooking groups aimed at your health issue of interest. These range from brain health (ADHD, ASD, picky eating, sensory sensitivity, etc.) to hormone health (stress, PMS, IBS, osteoporosis, Hashimoto's, acne, etc.) to immune health (allergies, autoimmune conditions, cancer, diabetes, etc.) Email me to schedule a conversation.
How do you work with clients? I teach group cooking classes, work one-on-one with individuals or families during long-term coaching, and as a trainer/facilitator in my workshop and keynote work. My trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive focus is always on relationships, perspectives in context, social and emotional well-being, and food as medicine. I tailor the work to your needs and the specific expectations and goals we set together. Contact me to discuss how we can work together.
How do you work with educators, schools, programs, and other professionals who work with children and families? I provide workshops and keynotes focusing on social and emotional wellness, the brain-gut connection to mental health, and food as medicine with the Mediterranean diet. Contact me to talk about your needs.
Why is focus on the gut so crucial for mental and overall health? We often think of mental health as starting as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Recent research shows that the gut is the source of many chronic illnesses as well as emotional, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This means that we have an important role to play and quite a bit of control over ours and our family’s overall health and well-being. If you are curious about how I can help you, your family, or your group, contact me for a conversation.
What makes you qualified to help me? What is your training and professional work background? I hold a Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, one of the top HDFS programs in the United States, and completed a minor in developmental psychopathology at Penn State's Department of Psychology. My doctoral program was multi-disciplinary and afforded me the opportunity to be taught by not only psychologists but also anthropologists, sociologists, demographers, behavioral geneticists, and statisticians. This varied experience as well as my interests in medicine, neuroscience, nutrition, and equity work has helped me develop a unique perspective that helps you connect the dots and provide actual solutions. While I was a professor, I helped to prepare new and experienced educators, as well as social workers and Child Life Specialists. More recently, I have done deep research into the stress-brain-gut axis and its connection to mental health and am writing a book on this topic.
Though I do not conduct therapy and do not dispense medication, our work together is therapeutic. I hold an a new credential in early childhood mental health from MassAIMH and all my work is trauma-informed. Adults who work with me walk away empowered, more confident in their parenting or professional role, more skillful, less stressed, happier, and healthier and they spread that knowledge and mindset to those around them. Children, young, and emerging adults who work with me feel less anxious, more in control, more focused and successful at learning, and report stronger relationships with their families, friends, and teachers. Check out my Testimonials page to see what people are saying about working with me. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, please contact me.
With whom have you worked in the past? Some past and present affiliations include the Town of Lexington, MA, Wheelock College, the Freedman Center and Continuing Education at William James College, MAAEYC, Compass for Kids, Families First, Children's Trust Fund, Maryland Family Network, FUSE, Fusion Academy, Montclare Children’s School NYC, Boston College Children’s Center, Little Halos Bilingual Preschool, Children’s Connection, Parent-Child Home Program and many groups and individual local families.
Do you take insurance and how much will working with you cost me? I do not take insurance. My primary goal is to be of service to you without financial obstacles. We are always able to agree on a fee that is feasible for you or your group. Please email me to schedule a conversation.