Our Team

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

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!

THERAPISTS

Lindsey Ricciardi, Ph. D., CEDS
(She/Her)

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.

CONTINUE READING >

Chelsea Powell, Psy. D
(She/Her)

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
(She/Her)

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
(She/Her)

Hi! My name is Dariya. I am a graduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where I am working towards my Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in direct practice. While studying for my undergraduate degree, I worked on the inpatient eating disorder unit at Center for Change, where I had the opportunity to help girls and women of all ages develop coping skills and challenge their negative thought patterns.

Since moving to Las Vegas, I have been assisting with meal support and group therapy here at the Eating Disorders Institute.

Having recovered from an eating disorder as a young teen myself, 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.

During my undergraduate degree, I studied some of the major therapies used to treat eating disorders and related challenges, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and EMDR. In my graduate program, I have had the opportunity to study disordered eating in special populations such as the LGBT+ community.

In my spare time, I enjoy art, music, baking, and playing with my pet corgi. I am thrilled to be a part of the team here at EDI and I look forward to supporting our clients on their paths to recovery!

Jessica Habashy, MA
(She/Her)

Hi there! My name is Jessica, and I am a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I am excited to continue my training under the supervision of Dr. Ricciardi for the 2022-2023 summer and academic year.

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 was trained in individual and group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

I am committed to providing a safe space and collaborative relationship with clients to heal, instill hope, and help them create a life worth living. My bicultural identity has exposed me to the different beauty standards globally. I have recognized how these appearance-based ideals have played an impact in my friends and peers’ lives from all walks of life growing up and I became passionate about the fact that the preoccupation with beauty standards in men and women is an international obsession.

These interests are what led me to pursue a research assistant position in Dr. Kristen Culbert’s eating disorders lab as an undergraduate student at UNLV. I have continued this work in my graduate school training by exploring the sociocultural effects on disordered eating symptoms in men and women. My research has largely influenced my clinical interests and I feel incredibly honored to work with clients to achieve a balanced relationship with food and body image.

Outside of school and my clinical training, I enjoy traveling, reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my friends and family. I look forward to the prospect of working with you!

Repairer Etuk, MS
(He/Him)

Hello! My name is Repairer, and I am a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I will be training under the supervision of Dr. Ricciardi for the 2022-2023 summer and academic year.

I have been trained in individual and group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and substance use treatment at the PRACTICE, a community mental health clinic, and at the North Las Vegas Veteran Affairs medical center.

My goal during therapy is to provide all of my clients with a collaborative, supportive, and empowering environment.

My interest and passion in this work came from seeing the large prevalence and variety of eating related problems that occur. In my first work in this area, I examined eating problems in children such as picky eating, and from there my interests expanded into how disordered eating impacts individuals across the entire lifespan. I was amazed by how different and varied problems with eating could be, but also saddened at the lack of resources and support for both families and individuals. I believe more work in this field is absolutely essential, and I want to provide as many resources as I can for each client for their recovery journey.

To pursue my interests, I am part of the behavioral addictions lab at UNLV. My research investigates associations between behavioral addictions and eating disorders. I am especially interested in examining how impulsivity relates to disordered eating.

During my free time, some of the things I enjoy doing are reading, watching movies, and playing sports and videogames.

Vena Wilson, Ph. D.
(She/Her)

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.

DIETITIAN

Kayla Bell, RD, MPH, LD
(She/Her)

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.

ADMINISTRATION

Janelle Ferraris (She/Her)

Hi! My name is Janelle and I am the Clinical Intake Coordinator for the Eating Disorder Institute of Las Vegas. I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate Psychology major at 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.

MEDICAL CONSULTANT

Dominic Riccardi, MD
(He/Him)

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.