Obesity and Mental Health in Older Adults: How to Beat Stigma and Seek Help


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This session will look at the prevalence and risk factors for obesity as one ages. It will discuss how excess weight impacts our mental health with a focus on marginalized and minority populations and where to seek help.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

1. Describe the connection between obesity and mental health in older adults, including the role of stigma, bias, stress, and past trauma.

2. Recognize the policy implications with respect to treatments for obesity and mental health for older adults, including equitable access and Medicare Part D coverage. 

 3. Identify resources for older adults to seek help and highlight solutions, such as the benefit of social connection.

Session Sponsored by Novo Nordisk 

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Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

Tiffani Bell Washington, MD, FAPA

Diplomate of American Board of Obesity Medicine, Diplomate of American Board of Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Bell Washington is a Quadruple Board Certified Physician who specializes in Adult Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lifestyle Medicine, and Obesity Medicine. She will graduate with her MPH in Health Policy with a concentration in leadership and minority health policy in May 2022. In 2020, Dr. Bell Washington received the Outstanding Teaching Faculty of the Year Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Wake Forest School of Medicine and the National Medical Association’s Post-Graduate Section’s “Top Physician under 40” Emerging Leader award. She was named one of the 40 under 40 Leaders of Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in April 2022 and is a trustee for several national organizations including; currently serving as a Delegate from the American Psychiatric Association to American Medical Association Young Physicians' Section, AMA ambassador leadership steering committee for the past two years, and as an executive member on several national organizations such as the Black Psychiatrists of America (501c3), Council of Black Obesity Physicians and African American Wellness Project (501c3). Dr. Bell Washington is passionate about advocacy, research, improving diversity and equity in leadership and decreasing stigma and bias surrounding chronic illnesses such as mental health disorders and obesity prevention and treatment. 


Patricia Nece, J.D.

Chair for the Obesity Action Coalition, Patient Advocate

Patricia Nece, J.D., advocates for the eradication of weight bias, science-based obesity treatments, and access to those treatments. She encourages change by sharing her personal experiences with life-long severe obesity. Patty is Chair of the Obesity Action Coalition, a 75,000-member organization dedicated to representing the interests of those affected by obesity. She is also a member of the National Academies of Sciences Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, the World Obesity Federation’s Policy and Prevention Committee, the Global Obesity Patient Alliance, and the Lancet Commission on Obesity. A noted advocate, Patty has been invited to speak at numerous venues including the Obesity Medicine Association, the George Washington University School of Medicine, the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, Obesity Canada, and the Society for Human Resource Management. She has testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and participated in U.S. Congressional briefings. Patty recently retired from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Solicitor’s Office after 37-years of service. 

Dorothea K. Vafiadis, M.S., FAHA (Moderator)

Director, Health Partnerships and Strategic Engagement

National Council on Aging

Dorothea K. Vafiadis, MS, is the Director of Health Partnerships and Strategic Engagement at NCOA. She has 20+ years' experience in public health and working with non-profit organizations. She has a track record for building and sustaining high-value relations, surpassing revenue goals and achieving reach and impact with mutually aligned partners. Vafiadis leads NCOA’s healthy aging strategy and oversees project management for the Obesity Education and Awareness Campaign, the Healthy Bone Initiative and the Wellness and Pain Relief program. Prior to NCOA, Vafiadis served as Director of Healthy Living for the American Heart Association, where she oversaw board-appointed science committees and convened multinational food companies for the purposes of optimizing their healthy food offerings and improving the food landscape. She played a major role in launching the national Healthy for Good campaign, a science-based campaign to drive behavior change. Prior to AHA, Ms. Vafiadis worked on federal nutrition policy at USDA’sCenter for Nutrition Policy & Promotion.

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Obesity and Mental Health in Older Adults: How to Beat Stigma and Seek Help
05/16/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
05/16/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes