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Families and Weight Management (FAWM) Lab (PI: Keeley Pratt)

Principle Investigator (PI): Keeley J. Pratt, PhD, IMFT-S, Associate Professor

Background

Dr. Keeley Pratt is an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Science Program, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU). She also has an appointment with the Department of Surgery in the Ohio Wexner Medical Center where she oversees the Behavioral Health and Family Therapy programming for the Comprehensive Center for Adult Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery. She also has a 15% appointment with the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center (OARDC) to develop community and healthcare extensions for child and adult weight management interventions. Dr. Pratt works with the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to research family-based treatment methods and family factors that predict/associate with behavior change and weight loss over time.

Dr. Pratt completed her doctorate in Medical Family Therapy at East Carolina University, where she worked in a variety of weight management, healthcare, and community settings with rural, low-income racial/ethnic minority families. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) in an Obesity Signature Program. Dr. Pratt is an Independently Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Families, Systems, and Health (https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/fsh/).

For over a decade, Dr. Pratt has worked with pediatric weight management programs and clinics, residential healthy lifestyle camps, adult outpatient weight management and bariatric surgery, and school-based settings as a therapist, supervisor, and researcher. Dr. Pratt has received funding for her work and has conducted over 150 presentations at local, national, and international conferences and has produced over 45 peer-reviewed works. As a family scientist and licensed couple and family therapist she uses the Scientist-Practitioner Model- where her clinical work informs her research, and her research informs her clinical work. Thus, all her research has direct  implications for families in weight management.

Research Interests

Approximately one-third of youth and half of adults living in the United States have an overweight or an obese weight status. A variety of treatment options are available for weight loss and maintenance that target changes in dietary and physical activity behaviors. However, treatment has proven challenging for both youth and adults to initially lose weight and maintain their weight loss long-term. Researchers and providers have turned to family-based treatment models in the hope that changing behaviors and dynamics at the family/household level will lead to long-term behavioral changes and weight loss. Family systems interventions utilize family systems theory to expand the treatment plan beyond individual behaviors to the relationships and dynamics among family members and behavior change at the family/household level. Research is needed to determine which family members and family-level variables to target in family systems weight management interventions. Further, there is an urgent need to investigate effective treatment modalities that are both feasible and acceptable to families in treatment, especially among racial/ethnic minority families who experience the greatest burden of obesity and the highest attrition rates in treatment.

My research aims to determine which family, couple, and parent-child variables predict short and long-term behavior change and weight loss, in order to develop and implement family systems interventions for youth and adult weight loss and management.

My research addresses the following areas of family-based obesity intervention and treatment:

  1. Describe family level outcomes from integrated, multidisciplinary care models in the treatment of youth and adult obesity and bariatric surgery.
  2. Develop culturally-tailored treatment interventions for racial/ethnic minority and under-served families in weight management.
  3. Determine methods for inclusion of partner/spouse and family members in adult weight management and bariatric surgery .
  4. Expand mental and behavioral health education to address weight stigma and bias, and  include provider training for the systemic treatment of patients experiencing overweight and obesity.

Additional Research/Clinical/Training Interests

  • Family-based child/adolescent and adult weight management
  • Urban and rural weight management interventions
  • Parenting and family factors associated with childhood obesity
  • Medical family therapy
  • Supervision in behavioral healthcare
  • Integrated pediatric health care
  • Weight stigma and bias
  • Play and filial therapy intervention in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity
  • Early childhood (0-5) obesity prevention in community and early childcare settings
  • Clinician training on systemic weight-related behaviors in families
  • Culturally tailoring and adapting dietary and physical activity interventions for ethnic minority and under-served families

Education/Employment

  • 2018-current Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Science Program Area, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization, Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human  Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2018-current Associate Professor (courtesy appointment), Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2013-current Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Science Program Area, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization, Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human  Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2015-current Assistant Professor (courtesy appointment), Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2012-2013  Visiting Assistant Professor, Couple and Family Therapy, Department of Human Development and Family Science, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2010-2012 Post-doctoral Fellow, Obesity Signature Program, Research Triangle Institute International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
  • 2007-2010 Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Medical Family Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
  • Dissertation: Biopsychosocial Changes in Youth and Caregivers Participating in an Integrated Pediatric Obesity Treatment
  • 2005-2007 Master’s (M.S.) in Marriage and Family Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
  • Thesis: A Biopsychosocial Glance of Overweight Youth and their Caregivers.
  • 2001-2005 Bachelor’s (B.S.) in Applied Health Science, Human Development and Family Studies (major), Psychology (minor), Sociology (minor), Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Leadership Positions

  • 2018-current Faculty Mentor, Second-Year Transitional Experience Program (STEP), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  • 2016-current Faculty Affiliate, Research Methodology Center, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2016-current Faculty Affiliate, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2014-current, Advisory Board Member, Good 4 Growth, American Academy of Pediatrics – Ohio Chapter, Ohio, USA
  • 2013-current, Coordinator, Obesity Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2013-current, Selected Mentor, American Academy of Marriage and Family therapy Minority Fellowship Program, USA
  • 2013-current, Elected Board Member, Ohio Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Ohio, USA
  • 2012-2015, Clinic Coordinator, Couple and Family Therapy Clinic, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2012-current, Internship Coordinator, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2010-2012, Elected Secretary, North Carolina Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, North Carolina, USA
  • 2008-2010, Elected Student Representative, North Carolina Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, North Carolina, USA

Licenses and Credentialing 

  • 2011-current, Approved Supervisor, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • 2013-current, Ohio Independent Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (IMFT, #F1300008)
  • 2009-2013, North Carolina Independent Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT, #1298)