Our Team

EDI Open House - January 2023

Welcome to EDI!

Every member of the EDI team is passionate about the important work that we do! At the EDI, we strive to maintain a team culture that is open, warm, collaborative, playful and introspective. Just as the therapy room needs to be a safe space for our clients to grow, we believe the workplace must be a safe place for our clinicians and trainees to grow. We also know that what we say and do is powerful, so we truly strive to “walk the walk,” not just talk the talk. This means that all the hard things we ask our clients to do, we do, too!

Our team is committed to healing our own internalized weight stigma and fighting against anti-fatness and diet culture. We strive to trust and respect our own bodies. Treating eating disorders can be incredibly challenging work. Therefore, we value self-care, balance, and connection to help us to show up as our best selves as we help others along their path to recovery!


Lindsey Ricciardi, Ph. D., CEDS

I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders and related concerns. In addition to completing a focused internship and fellowship in eating disorders, I am certified by the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders and I am a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals.

I have been active in the field of eating disorders and related concerns as researcher, clinician, mentor, and advocate for nearly 20 years. As a doctoral student (1999-2004), under the supervision of Dr. Marta Meana, my research focused on the psychosocial aspects of bariatric surgery.

This novel area of research explored the rich, lived experiences of individuals living in larger bodies who underwent bariatric surgery. The outcomes of this research were published in a coauthored book as well as several peer reviewed articles. I then completed my internship and fellowship (2004-2006) at the University of Chicago Hospitals Eating Disorder Program. I had the honor of being mentored by two experts in the eating disorder field, Dr. Daniel Le Grange and Dr. Eunice Chen.


Chelsea Powell, Psy. D

Hi! My name is Chelsea and I’m a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. I’ve been building a specialization in helping people struggling with eating disorders for the better part of 9 years. In the course of my training, I’ve worked at the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center, Eating Recovery Center in Chicago, the University of Chicago Eating Disorder Program, and Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I completed my postdoctoral training year here at the EDI and am excited to be staying on as a full-time employee!

My overall goal in therapy is to help individuals to feel empowered in their unique identities while they move toward a fulfilling life based on their personal values. Among my own top values are connection, flexibility, adventure, integrity, and openness. I believe these values are what initially drew me to this work and I endeavor to incorporate them into everything that I do. For this reason, I try to be fully myself in therapy and invite my clients to do the same as we collaborate in challenging their eating disorders and other mental health struggles.

I believe in the importance of creating a non-judgmental space for clients where they can feel safe in finding what works and what doesn’t work for them, and exploring who they are and what they want. I typically integrate mindfulness-based approaches, including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and some elements of Existential, Humanistic, and Relational approaches.

Outside of work I enjoy traveling, baking, reading, acting, watching “trash” TV, going to plays, exploring nature, drinking coffee, buying plants (and attempting to keep them alive), playing games, and spending time with friends and family.

Amber St Laurent, MS

Hi! My name is Amber, I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counseling Intern. I completed my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and finished my last year of schooling under Dr. Ricciardi’s supervision. It has been a rewarding experience to specialize in Eating Disorders, and I am excited to continue this work in my post-grad internship.

Seeing the prevalence of eating disorders while playing competitive volleyball in high school sparked a passion in me for promoting positive body image and healthy relationships with food and exercise. I believe it is essential to liberate ourselves from unattainable beauty standards and rigid diet rules in order to create a life worth living. I have seen it work for so many clients, and I am excited to continue to work with individuals of all backgrounds to heal their relationships with food and body.

In my undergraduate research, I studied a variety of issues including the effects of abuse on self-esteem in romantic relationships, vulnerability’s importance in deepening relationships, and the efficacy of Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy for the treatment of eating disorders. My focus on training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy has continued through my work at Kayenta Therapy under the supervision of Sara Pelton, LMFT. Under Dr. Ricciardi’s supervision, I have become familiar with Dialectical Behavior Therapy and enjoy using that in practice. I’d love the chance to work with you!

In my free time, I love to play volleyball, practice Krav Maga and yoga, read, play the piano, and spend time with my husband and two dogs.

Dariya Smith, LMSW, CSW-I

Hi! My name is Dariya and I’m a Licensed Master of Social Work. I have been working at the EDI for three years, during which time I have provided meal support, group therapy, individual therapy, and family based treatment.

I have been working in the field of eating disorders for five years and have experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Prior to my time at the EDI, I worked with adolescents and adults at an inpatient eating disorder treatment center called Center for Change. I also worked for two years at Scenic View Academy, a residential school for adults on the autism spectrum. I enjoy working with neurodiverse individuals, including clients who have autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and other learning differences.

During my master’s program at UNLV, I studied some of the major therapies used to treat eating disorders and related challenges, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and trauma-focused therapies. I also had the opportunity to study disordered eating in specific populations, such as the LGBTQ+ community. During my time as a practicum student, I worked under the supervision of Dr. Ricciardi and Dr. Vena Wilson and studied several eating disorder-specific approaches, such as Family Based Treatment and Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Having recovered from an eating disorder as a teenager, I know first-hand the many challenges that eating disorders pose, as well as the importance of having a supportive team to help you through the recovery process. I am passionate about helping clients get out of their eating disorders and back into their lives!

I approach therapy from a strengths-based, humanistic perspective, which involves building on my clients’ abilities and trying to see the best in them at all times. I believe that every person’s behavior makes sense if we understand what they are going through. I try to meet clients where they are at and help them to make the necessary changes to lead a fulfilling life in line with their personal values. I believe that all of my clients have the capacity to change. All they need is the right help to do so!

In my spare time, I enjoy knitting, taking dance classes, playing board games, and spending time with friends, family, and my dog. I am so happy to be a part of the team here at the EDI and I look forward to supporting our clients on their paths to recovery!

Shannon Sagert, MSW

Hi! My name is Shannon. I am a third-year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I completed my master’s degree in social work at UNLV before joining the clinical psychology doctoral program. I am thrilled to be training under the supervision of Dr. Ricciardi for the 2023-2024 academic year and joining the EDI team.

Before working at the EDI, I was a student clinician at the Partnership for Research, Assessment, Counseling, Therapy, and Innovative Clinical Education (PRACTICE), a community mental health clinic at UNLV. At the PRACTICE, I trained in individual and group, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). 

My goals for therapy are to provide evidence-based treatments specific to the optimization of individual’s complete physical, spiritual, and mental wellness through a safe, supportive, and collaborative relationship that empowers my clients.


I am a member of the Clinic for Research on Eating, Sleep, and Therapy (CREST) under the direction of Dr. Kara Christensen. Through this lab, I am pursuing my research interests, including exploring the association between weight stigma and healthcare-seeking behaviors. I have witnessed peers and family members, including my own son, struggle with eating concerns. Therefore, my heart is deeply connected to providing the best possible care, and I am dedicated to helping individuals on their journey to recovery.

In my free time, I enjoy yoga, kayaking, and spending time with my children and partner.

Yin Cai, MS, M. Ed

Hi! My name is Yin. I am a second-year school psychology student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I am excited to begin training under the supervision of Dr. Ricciardi for the 2023-2024 summer and academic year.

Before coming to the EDI as a student clinician, I was trained at the Partnership for Research, Assessment, Counseling, Therapy and Innovative Clinical Education (PRACTICE), a community mental health clinic at UNLV. Specifically, I learned about individual and group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the PRACTICE. Before being a doctoral student at UNLV, I was an extern at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and learned to serve diverse populations with various concerns (e.g., developmental delay, behavioral sleep issues, feeding and swallowing concerns) through behavioral consultation and partnership with stakeholders.

I am committed to serving the minoritized population by collaborating with clients and their supportive others and learning about their unique culture and life experiences. My cultural background as an Asian and the thin ideology rooted in Asian culture led me to work at the EDI. I am passionate about learning how to support individuals with eating disorders and their family members.

When I take a break from my academic and clinical training, I like to cook, watch movies, try different restaurants, and connect with my family and friends. I hope to have the opportunity to walk with you along the path of healing and regaining power!


Kayla Bell, RD, MPH, LD

Hi! My name is Kayla and I’m a Registered Dietitian who specializes in supporting folks with eating disorders. I attended the University of Washington where I earned a Masters of Public Health in Nutritional Sciences and completed the coursework & dietetic internships necessary to become an RD. After graduating, I signed on with The Emily Program where I enjoyed working full-time with clients at their Seattle residential eating disorder rehabilitation facility.

Even though I’m a dietitian, I’m not concerned with “the perfect diet”. In fact, I’m not interested in diets or weight loss at all! I’m what you call a non-diet RD. I embrace a Health at Every size paradigm which emphasizes respect, critical awareness, and compassionate self-care. I advocate for all foods in moderation (and sometimes moderation means a little or a lot!) with plenty of balance and variety. There are no good and bad foods in my world – there is just food! When nothing is off limits, the guilt and shame of eating can slowly disappear.

Using an evidence-based Intuitive Eating model, we will honor your body’s innate wisdom and work to dismantle food rules that govern what, when, and how much to eat. We’ll also work together to recognize damaging cultural norms around food, body and exercise by breaking down the myths that support unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Eating disorders and related issues affect everyone, including men, people of color and LGBTQ+ folks. My approach to nutrition honors inclusivity and respect. Everyone is welcome. My goal is to work collaboratively with you on your personal journey.

When I’m not working with clients, I enjoy reading, watching sports, traveling, spending time with friends and family, cooking, and eating.


Janelle Ferraris (She/Her)

Hi everyone! My name is Janelle and I am the Clinical Intake Coordinator for the Eating Disorder Institute of Las Vegas. I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I am interested in researching and treating anxiety and depression in adolescents/adults of minority populations.

My main professional goal is to become a clinical psychologist with my own practice and work with adolescents and families.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, and trying new Starbucks recipes. I also play violin with the UNLV Honors College Chamber Ensemble and Nevada Chamber Orchestra. Fun fact, I have been a scuba diver since I was ten years old! I look forward to helping you get connected with the support and services you need!

Melissa Thomas (She/Her)

Hi! My name is Melissa. I am the Fabulous Financial Administrator and BFF of Dr. Lindsey Ricciardi. I studied theater and dance at the University of Maine at Orono.

After college, I chose to stay home to raise my 2 incredible sons. I have dealt with OCD and anxiety since I was a child. So when I noticed it in my children, I was able to get them the therapy they needed. I have seen and experienced, first hand, how DBT and CBT can work to improve your life and give you back control and freedom.

Being a part of the EDI has been so rewarding. It truly is the best feeling to see individuals seek out help and gather the tools they need to live a more empowered life! My hobbies include reading, doing puzzles, having in-depth conversations, travelling, cooking, eating, and dancing. I am passionate about social justice, activism, and spending time with my family.

Elissa Kis (She/Her)

Hello, my name is Elissa. I am the Clinical Care Coordinator here at EDI and one of my many hats includes the role as Meal Support provider. I’ll be here to work with you or your loved one during some of the toughest times in eating disorder recovery; snacks and meals.  Using different skills and supports to help individuals complete meals, we will work together as a team to meet you where you are at and help move you positive steps in your recovery. 

I have been working in mental health for several years with the last year and a half having a focus on individuals from 12 to 25 years old facing mental health and substance abuse challenges as a Peer Support Specialist. I have certifications in suicide prevention, harm reduction, verbal deescalation and working with our LGBTQ+ family.  I am very excited to move into a space that emphasizes the importance of eating disorder recovery. 

Although my professional experience with eating disorders may be limited, I have been on the other side of the story. I am currently 5 and half years in recovery from an eating disorder myself. I have been through all levels of care so I have a unique understanding of what you or your loved one may have, currently are or will experience. I would love to share my recovery knowledge with those who are ready to take the next step on their journey. 

I like to spend my free time traveling, going to see live music, creating memories with loved ones and giving my dog unlimited belly pets. I hope to one day have a homestead where I can have goats and keep bees!


Vena Wilson, Ph. D.

My name is Vena. I am the Agency Field Instructor for the School of Social Work through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, at the Eating Disorder Institute.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who focuses on supporting individuals and families in creating healthy, adaptive, and well-functioning relationships.

I am at my professional best when working with teenagers who experience intense emotions, engage in self-harming behaviors because of their intense emotions, and who may have thoughts of (or have attempted to) dying by suicide. With enough support and an opportunity to learn skillful ways to deal with their feelings, I have learned that teenagers can find the motivation to approach challenges skillfully and are better equipped to create a life worth living.

I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2022, I received my Doctorate degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California’s Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, where I studied the effects of social isolation and its intersection with Black teenage suicide.

Dominic Ricciardi, MD

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Dominic Ricciardi completed his undergraduate degree at UNLV and graduated from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in 2001. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been a practicing physician in Las Vegas for over 20 years. Dr. Dominic Ricciardi spent 2 years as the Medical Director of Center for Change, an outpatient eating disorder treatment facility. While there, he was intensively trained to provide medical care for individuals with eating disorders at the outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization levels of care. He also spent 7 years working with Dr. Lindsey Ricciardi in an interdisciplinary private practice setting treating and managing the medical concerns of individuals with eating disorders. He currently specializes in Wound Care and Hyperbaric medicine. Dr. Dominic Ricciardi provides medical training to the providers at the Eating Disorder Institute of Las Vegas, and he is on staff as a medical consultant to all of our clinicians. Dr. Dominic Ricciardi is a husband, father, and son. He enjoys Italian cooking, Pilates and playing poker.


Erin Gordon

Hi I’m Erin, I specialize in yoga, trauma and eating disorders. While working with me you can expect to connect with your body and breath to support healing and to be challenged to work through old triggers.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 14 years. It started its healing magic for me way back then! I’ve been consistently practicing HiBs (Holistic integration of Body & Spirit) yoga for the past 9 years and I have been teaching yoga for the last 3 years. Yoga isn’t just about movement and breathing; it is the way I live my life on and off of my mat. 

Taking my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in 2020 gave me tools that literally saved my life. It helped me see the truth of my life and the path that I was on wasn’t working. In 2021, I took my 300-hour YTT and I haven’t looked back. I teach yoga that any body can do. I meet you where you are at.  

My core values are integrity and community. I do what’s right versus what’s easy. My students leave my classes feeling ease, comforted, cared about and seen. 

When I’m not doing yoga, I love to facilitate and sit in ceremonies. I love being with my tribe, being in nature, going to health & wellness events, and spending time alone. I’m also a mentor and that has been amazing! It has been such an honor to teach at EDI. I look forward to seeing you on your mat! 



Hi! I’m Hiccup. I’m a 12-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, so I like to take life at a relaxed pace, but don’t let that fool you, I love coming to work with Kayla and having adventures. It’s the perfect job for me, because as a dog, I’m an expert in mindfulness — I’m always in the present, aware of my needs without judgment. My favorite things are people, especially kids, other dogs, neck massages, walks, soft places to nap, and ALL foods! Hope to see you soon!

Maximus (Max)

Hi, my name is Maximus. I am a Golden Doodle and I am originally from Indiana. I completed my education at Gibsons Dog Training here in Las Vegas. I plan to earn my degree as an Emotional Support Animal real soon! I came to the EDI because recovering from an eating disorder is so freakin hard and stressful! I wanted to help! I’m a good role model because I enjoy all foods and love to move my body in playful ways. I also enjoy greeting everyone who comes into the office with a smile and a wagging tail to let you know that I care. Even though I get excited, I’m soft, tender and gentle. If you’re sad, I’ll be here to snuggle and pet. When I’m not working in the office, I love my daily walks, going for a hike, hanging out with the other pets (Hank, Furbles, Casper, RoseLily and Olive), being in nature, chewing my toys, and swimming!