Prior to her arrival at Northeastern in 2001, Debra held academic positions at Wesleyan University, UMass Dartmouth, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Debra received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Psychology from McGill University.
Her scholarly and teaching interests include the general area of women’s health, specifically in eating disorders. Her clinical interests in eating disorders span depression, suicide, and substance abuse and she has particular expertise in issues related to pregnancy and eating disorders. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on 8 NIH grants and has most recently examined research questions related to adolescent depression, body image in girls, and risk factors in childhood through adolescence, with a particular focus on prevention. She has published extensively including over one hundred journal articles and book chapters on eating disorders, body image, and obesity. Debra was elected Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Eating Disorders in 2011 and was the recipient of the 2015 National Eating Disorders Association Award for Excellence in Prevention and Advocacy.
Debra has served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences since 2011 and has partnered with the Dean and Associate Deans to support the hiring of high quality research and clinical faculty in the college as well as fostering faculty development opportunities for junior and mid-career faculty.