Michael Collins, Founder - SugarAddiction.com, FAI Board Chair
Michael Collins is a former sugar addict and takes this addiction very seriously. For the past 30 years he has not consumed sugar in any form – at least not intentionally. His interest in sugar addiction began in the early days of his recovery from substance use disorder. As he weaned himself off other substances he noticed that his relationship to, and his consumption of, sugar was beginning to resemble his other addictions. Curious and concerned, he started to talk about this with his recovery buddies. This led him to decide to quit sugar with the help of some amazing mentors. After many years of successfully starting, scaling and selling online businesses, Michael decided that what really made him happy was helping people break their addictions of all kinds and come out the other side happier and healthier.
Esther Helga Guðmundsdóttir, MSc. Master of Managing Health services
from Iceland, INFACT Program Director, FAI Board Vice Chair
Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir, MSc. is founding Founding Director of the MFM Food Addiction Treatment Center, a treatment center for food addictions and eating disorders in Reykjavik, Iceland. As the Director of INFACT, the International School for Food Addiction Counseling and Treatment she has offered training and clinical supervision to many new and veteran food addiction counselors. Her specialties include sugar, food addiction, eating disorders, codependency, other and other addictions like love, work and debiting. Esther is also a certified Hypnotherapist that focuses on trauma-based regression and therapy for addictions, trauma, and anxiety. As an FAI board member, she works to engage the international community while developing effective food addiction counseling educational curriculum for professional development and training courses.
Teresa Gonzalez, Coach, Trainer, Recovery Counselor, FAI Board Secretary
Teresa Gonzalez has spent over 25 years in business management and coaching in the field of personal and professional Training & Development. She was with Landmark Worldwide for 16 years, most recently as Minneapolis Center Manager. She is specifically trained to lead transformational seminars and leadership programs designed to help people be more effective, accomplish their goals, and see their visions fulfilled. Before Landmark, Ms. Gonzalez spent 16 years with AAA Mid-Atlantic and AAA Arizona as Manager and Regional Director. Teresa has also served on the Board of Phoenix Youth at Risk. She has 32 years of continued sobriety as a recovering alcoholic and over a year of abstinence from food addiction. Teresa has also completed the INFACT food addiction certification training. She is deeply committed to causing a breakthrough in people recovering from food addiction. Her mission in life is to contribute to humanity through love and empowerment.
Karen has spent 30 years in the field of accounting and finance working for both large and small corporations. She last served as a finance manager for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance at GCP Applied Technologies and prior to that as a tax compliance professional for W.R. Grace and Company for 18 years. Karen has a personal interest in food addiction and nutrition and is currently enrolled in the INFACT program for food addition counseling and the ACORN professional training program. Karen holds a BFA degree form Boston University and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.
Beth Rocchio Candon, MD, Board Certified Weight Management Physician (Hahnemann University, 1997)
Dr. Rocchio is the founding medical director of IMWL. She has a passion for helping people discover what works for them on their weight loss and weight maintenance journey. An active physician and co-director of Integrated Medical Weight Loss in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, one of the oldest and most successful medical weight loss practices differentiating between the disease of physical obesity, psychological eating disorders, and food as a chemical dependency. Since 2004, she has worked with over 3,000 obese patients, over 1/3 of which qualified with the characteristics of a substance use disorder regarding food. She has spoken widely in Rhode Island on food addiction as one of the elements of the obesity crisis and was a keynote speaker at the Second National Conference on Food Addiction Treatment co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Food Addiction Institute. Since 2013, Dr. Rocchio has participated in the three-year Food Addiction Professional Training Program of ACORN and the Food Addiction Institute. She is also a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and maintains board certification in Family Medicine.
After graduating cum laude with departmental honors in psychology from Skidmore College, Dr. Rocchio received her medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine. She takes a special interest in emotional/compulsive eating and food addiction as causes of obesity.
Christy Carreño is a Nutritionist, Integrated Health Coach and former sugar junkie who helps others struggling with sugar issues and disordered eating. Christy is the founder of Project Sugar Free, a graduate of San Diego State University and a certified yoga instructor. Her mission is to raise sugar awareness and to coach people to break their sugar addiction and live their healthiest, happiest life.
Mark Cheren EdD
Dr. Cheren is President of Improvement Learning, LLC, and a faculty member at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine University Hospitals departments of psychiatry and family medicine. With a doctorate in post-secondary education from the University of Massachusetts, he has worked in continuing medical education, higher education administration, performance improvement and organizational learning. Administrative roles have included Director of Continuing Medical Education at the Case Western School of Medicine, Administrative Coordinator (CEO) at Campus-Free College, Assistant Director at the National Office of Personnel Training and Development American Red Cross, Director of Capital University’s Adult Degree Program in Cleveland and Editor in Chief of the Healthcare Improvement Skills Center (HISC) website.
David G. Evans, Esq. has over 47 years of experience in the addictions field. His law practice concentrates in addictions law. He represents addiction treatment programs and professionals. He performs regulatory, prevention, and policy work on drug and alcohol issues. He is the author of six law books that deal in whole, or in part, with addictions law. His website is: www.addictionslaw.com
Bitten Jonsson, SSK, RN, Addiction Specialist, ADDIS, Cert.
Bitten Jonsson, RN, ADDIS/SUGAR Certified, is a Sugar Addiction Specialist and pioneer in Sweden, and an international lecturer, who frequently appears as a guest on TV and Radio in Scandinavia. Having worked in this field for more than 22 years, trained in USA by Terence Gorski, having studied Integrated Functional Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, American Addiction Medicine, Twelve-Step Model, and Traditional Medicine, she has founded a unique holistic treatment model for sugar/flour addiction. She utilizes a model of biochemical repair, restoring energy and physical health, which aids individuals in easing their withdrawal from sugar/flour/processed foods. She utilizes LCHF/Keto as her main food plan. She is the author of three books (none currently in English) published in 2004, 2010, and 2016 as well as The Sugar Free Cookbook (2006) with a new cookbook arriving in March 2018. She frequently answers questions about sugar addiction at www.dietdoctor.com. She is on the board of USA Food Addiction Institute (FAI) www.foodaddictioninstitute.org and a faculty member at INFACT, www.infact.is
Vanessa Kredler, Counselor, Coach and Speaker and FAI Board Secretary
Vanessa is a counselor, coach and speaker who specializes in food addiction based in Sydney. A decade ago she hit bottom with her lifelong struggle with food addiction and binge eating. On her path to recovery she’s explored a huge range of therapies, food plans, self-help groups, books and programs and traveled to healing retreats around the globe. Her experience inspired her to become a life coach, counselor and yoga teacher to help others suffering from distress around food and eating. She’s a passionate speaker on the topic of food addiction and draws on a global network of food addiction experts to share the latest knowledge and research on the topic. Vanessa is a member of the Australian Counselling Association, and the International Coach Guild. She’s a SANE AUSTRALIA speaker on mental health, one of 30 That Sugar Film Ambassadors promoting and supporting this fabulous documentary’s key messages and has shared her personal experience with food addiction widely in the media. Wearing another hat, Vanessa has been involved in the for-purpose sector with over 16 years’ experience in over 16 countries. She has a passion to harness philanthropy to make big changes in the world. She hopes that she can use her skills to develop better care models for food addicts in Australia.
Amanda Leith, Addictions Counselor, Facilitator and Recovery Coach
Amanda Leith is a certified Addiction Counselor and certified Food Addiction Professional who specializes in working with individuals struggling with compulsive eating and food addiction. Amanda supports her clients to end the obsession with food and body allowing them to start living purposeful lives full of joy and freedom. Amanda is a recovering food addict with a weight release of over 140 pounds. She struggled with food addiction long before she knew there was a name and treatment for what was plaguing her. Her life was riddled with guilt and shame around eating, body weight and the complete loss of control around food. Since being treated for food addiction she has gained a freedom to live a life beyond her wildest dreams and is dedicated to supporting others to do the same. Amanda is passionate about helping others out of the depths of food dependency and addiction. Her life-long mission is to educate, treat and ultimately free people from food dependency. Amanda is “Wholeheartedly dedicated to each individual’s true success”. Amanda offers individual coaching/counselling, group programs and seminars.
A graduate of Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Lerner is a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist who has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders since 1980. He has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs that include The NPR Report, 20/20, Discovery Health, and ABC’s Nightline, as well as, authored several publications related to eating disorders in professional literature, national magazines, and newspapers including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Miami Herald, Orlando and Hollywood Sun Sentinels. An active member of the professional community in South Florida since finishing his training, Dr. Lerner makes his home in Davie with his wife Michele and daughters Janelle, Danielle and their dog, Reggie.
Marty was a presenter at both of our national conferences at UMass, is a faculty member with INFACT, and has been a long time supporter of and a leading contributor to the work of the Food Addiction Institute.
Zipporah Livneh, BsC, MBA, is a registered nurse and food addiction specialist. She is the owner and manager of the center “Tezuna Nevona” located in the north of Israel (translated as “The Center for Nutritional Intelligence”), a center for the treatment and education of sugar and food addiction. Zipporah is herself a recovered food addict and has committed herself full time to helping fellow food addicts attain and maintain recovery and to raising awareness in the public and medical community in Israel about food addiction.
Zipporah worked in management and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years focused on areas such as diabetes, oncology, hematology, neurology and palliative care. She has a BsC in nursing, an executive international MBA from Haifa University, is a certified 12 step counselor, and has completed 1 year of the professional training program of ACORN. Zipporah co-chaired the international FAI working committee with Sherri Goodman and helped form the extremely successful Food Addiction Institute bi-monthly professional webinars.
Zipporah lives in Mitzpeh Netofah in the Lower Galilee of Israel, is married with 4 children and 2 wonderful grandchildren.
Cynthia J. Myers-Morrison, Ed.D. served as an educator for one of her careers: including the English Specialist position for all of Los Angeles Unified School District 7-12 schools as well as teaching and administrative positions for 17 and 10 years respectively. Her dedication to life long learning and attaining and maintaining freedom from addictions (alcohol, drugs, nicotine, sex, grains, sugar, codependency, cluttering, and workaholism) led her to Food Addiction Institute. As Co-chair with David Avram Wolfe for the webinars and in her work as Vice Chair of FAI, she strives to support individuals, families, legislators, and educators in changing responses to food addiction. Recovery is achievable and maintainable! Additional training in INFACT, IIN, Boston Trauma Center, and other credentialing supports her in assisting those struggling with their relationships with food and others. Her interest in genealogy, genes, and Daughters of the American Revolution add depth and history to her current work in Food Addiction.
Ali Nakip, MD
Dr. Nakip has an M.D. Degree from the University of Baghdad along with a degree in Eating Disorders from the Plymouth State University. His medical career began at Hesser College in 2008 where he remains an engaged faculty member. Because of his passion for teaching and education, he currently teaches at the New England College and New Hampshire Technical Institute, NHTI. He is a medical, academic, and technology integration consultant who works tirelessly to improve healthcare delivery model.
Additionally, at Mount Washington College, Dr. Nakip has served as the Senior Chair for the Health Sciences Department, chaired the Curriculum Committee, and co-chaired the Academic Innovation Committee. In his spare time, Dr. Nakip enjoys community service locally and internationally where he utilizes Telemedicine to serve the international community while supporting patients who have difficulty accessing healthcare.
Philip Werdell, M.A. Director, ACORN and Food Addiction Institute Founder
Throughout his career, Phil has worked professionally with over 4000 middle and late-stage food addicts. He is a graduate of Yale University with postgraduate work in food addiction. He comes from a 25-year career building innovative liberal arts and graduate programs. As a food addict professional, Phil was lead counselor for the residential food addiction treatment program at Glenbeigh Psychiatric Hospital of Tampa and the outpatient program of Rader Institute of Washington. He is cofounder of ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services and the Food Addiction Institute, an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to support the healing of all food addicts. Phil is the author of dozens of articles and books including, Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction (w. Dr. Tarman), Food Addiction: Beyond Ordinary Eating Disorders; Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Review of the Science; Food Addiction Recovery: A New Model of Professional Support; Bariatric Surgery and Food Addiction: Preoperative Considerations.
A Registered Dietitian, Food Addiction Counselor and Chef, David Avram Wolfe is dedicated to helping individuals eliminate their food cravings and heal their minds andbodies from the wounds of addiction. David is trained by, and remains a protégé of Bitten Jonsson, RN, Sweden’s Sugar Addiction Expert. He also administers the facebook group Sugarbomb In Your Brain with Bitten. He has also worked very closely with Dr. Vera Tarman, Esther Helga Gudmundsdottir, Phil Werdell, Amadna Leith and Martha Pierce. Sugar addiction scars the body and the brain; David utilizes the principles of biochemical repair and orthomolecular medicine to heal the body from the inside out. He is versed in LCHF/ Keto, and has successfully treated both sugar addiction and volume addiction. David has experience working with individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery, and specializes in working with food/sugar addicted postoperative patients. He believes very strongly that everyone has the potential to recover and that the only initial tool they need is a willingness to end their abusive relationship with food. David founded triggerfreenutrition.com in 2017 and treats sugar and food addicts both in person and through phone and video counseling and is an Admin for Sugarbomb in Your Brain: A Closed Facebook Group for Sugar Addiction. David is also Co-chair of the FAI webinar committee.
Theresa Wright, RD is a dietitian and nutritionist, and a pioneer in the burgeoning field of food addiction. Nationally recognized for her innovative approach to nutrition and the treatment of weight issues, Theresa was among the first nutrition experts to recognize that the hidden reason millions of people struggle with food and weight is an untreated food addiction. As founder of Renaissance Nutrition Center, Theresa has developed a ground-breaking gentle, sensible and evidence-based program of recovery from self-destructive eating that’s been changing lives for nearly 25 years. In addition to tailoring her program to fit each client’s unique needs, Theresa Wright is a sought-after speaker at conferences, workshops and retreats. She co-wrote the chapter “From the Front Lines” on food addiction symptoms for the first comprehensive collection of academic literature on food addiction. (Food and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook, edited by Kelly Brownell and Mark S. Gold). Along with writing for professional publications, Theresa has outlined for the lay audience her revolutionary food plan in “Your Personal Food Plan Guide” as well as written 3 volumes of cookbooks, “Delicious Recovery.” Theresa Wright has been named one of Today’s Dietitian magazine’s “10 Incredible Registered Dietitians Who Are Making a Difference”. Because of her expertise in treating addictive and compulsive eating disorders, Theresa was invited to be a contributing consultant to the Overeaters Anonymous food plan guide, “Dignity of Choice”. Theresa Wright holds B.S. and M.S degrees in Nutrition Science from Drexel University, is a Registered Dietitian and a Licensed DietitianNutritionist.