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Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Austin is an award-winning researcher, teacher, and mentor. She is Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; S. Jean Emans, MD, Endowed Chair in Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Research Scientist in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the Founding Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders: A Public Health Incubator (STRIPED), based at the Harvard Chan School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Her program STRIPED is the first research and training program dedicated to eating disorders prevention based at a school of public health and with a specialization in research-to-policy translation. She was also the Founding Director of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Health Equity Research Collaborative (SOGIE), based at the Harvard Chan School and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Austin is a social epidemiologist and behavioral scientist with a research focus on health inequities, especially those affecting socially and structurally marginalized adolescents, and she has received numerous grants funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and other government, foundation, and philanthropic funders to support her research.

She leads two primary research programs: One focuses on environmental influences on eating disorders risk and public health approaches to primary and secondary prevention of eating disorders with an emphasis on policy translation research and advocacy. The second focuses on determinants of sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in a range of health domains, including disordered weight-related behaviors, substance use, bullying victimization, and other health risk indicators. Dr. Austin is a current Mental Health Policy Fellow with Inseparable, Past President of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and Past President of the Eating Disorders Coalition, the leading community advocacy organization dedicated to U.S. federal policy on eating disorders. She serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention and as a guest editor for two recent special issues of the Journal of Eating Disorders.

A unifying goal of her academic career has been to advance innovations in transdisciplinary science applied to eating disorders prevention and the study of health inequities adversely affecting socially and structurally marginalized youth to inform effective policy change. Across her research and teaching initiatives, her aim is to offer mentorship and opportunities that will help the next generation of talented junior scientists excel in their pursuit of health equity for all.

Researcher | Publications