Professor Brings Awareness to Eating Disorders Abroad

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

USU Brigham City campus professor Maya Miyari

Maya Miyari, a faculty member at the USU Brigham City campus, provided insight to the Japanese medical community on eating disorders, a culturally taboo subject, and offered her expertise in treatment strategies.
Utah State University Brigham City logo

Utah State University Brigham City assistant professor Maya Miyari is providing insight to the Japanese medical community on eating disorders, a culturally taboo subject, and offering her expertise in treatment strategies. During summer 2014, Miyari spent a month in Japan speaking at conferences and presenting at the University of Tsukuba. Miyari spoke on her role on exercise education programing implemented at eating disorder facilities in the United States.

 Miyari started her path in the field with an interest in athletic training. She made the decision to move to Utah in hopes of working at the 2002 Winter Olympics. With limited athletic training programs in Japan, she moved from Tokyo in 1999 to start her academic career at the University of Utah. Miyairi fulfilled her goal and worked with the Japanese freestyle ski team during the Salt Lake Olympics. In 2013, she earned her doctorate in health promotion from the University of Utah. Her dissertation focused on a bullying prevention program addressing the issues of weight bias and weight-related teasing among adolescents. 

At a conference hosted by the Japan Society for Eating Disorders in 2007, Miyari presented on treatment strategies in the United State. 

“As expected, comments received from medical practitioners in Japan were not so positive,” Miyari said. “Basically, there was a significant gap about medical practice for eating

disorders between Japan and the United States. I sadly realized that the quality of treatment for eating disorders was not even comparable between the two countries.”

Years later, Miyari was contacted by Dr. Toshio Ishikawa, a lead researcher and medical provider for eating disorders who was touring treatment facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Miyari was asked to guide Dr. Ishikawa through some of Utah’s treatment facilities. Based on his tour to a variety of facilities in foreign countries, he proposed new treatment needs for eating disorders to the government in Japan.

In fall of 2013, Ishikawa asked Miyari to speak again at a Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Medicine conference. She was asked to speak on her role with exercise education programs implemented at eating disorder facilities.

“It was honor to be invited to present at the conference,” Miyari said. “Due to the different health care system in Japan, it is not easy to change medical system for treatment. However, I have noticed that a few Japanese doctors have implemented the United States’ medical model for their patients and reported some successful outcome data.”

Since there is a lack of data to support the use of assessment tools developed in foreign countries for Japanese patients, more research is needed. Miyari is in the process of becoming a visiting research fellow at the University of Tsukuba and hopes to continue contributing her work to help develop awareness of eating disorders in Japan.

 Miyari has given multiple presentations to raise awareness about eating disorders and promote healthy body image and lifestyles in the local community.

Contact: Maya Miyari, maya.miyairi@usu.edu

Writer/Contact: Dana Romney-Rhoades, 435-722-1788, dana.romney@usu.edu

USU Appoints New Faculty Athletic Representative

USU professor Ed Heath is USU's faculty athletic representative

USU's Ed Heath was named USU Aggies Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) in the September 2014 Faculty Senate meeting.

Utah State University named Ed Heath, a Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation professor, as the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) in the September 2014 Faculty Senate meeting. Heath replaces outgoing FAR representative Ken White, who is concentrating on duties as dean of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences and as vice president for University Extension. 

 Heath’s appointment has three main focus areas that include campus oversight of NCAA and Mt. West Conference rules compliance; oversight and protection of student-athlete welfare; and oversight of the integrity of the academic performance of student-athletes.

The FAR representative serves as a link between USU Athletics and USU academics. The individual appointed needs to have credibility with the academic community at USU and a willingness to look after the best interests of student athletes.

“Dr. Heath possesses the traits, qualities and experience necessary to do a wonderful job as the FAR representative,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “His interest in athletics and his understanding of the role it plays in the overall mission of the university will benefit those working with him from both the athletics and academics side.”

Heath was nominated by a committee composed of members of the USU Athletics Council including the USU president, six elected faculty members and four student members. The position is ratified by USU Faculty Senate and is a four-year, renewable term.

 “This is an important appointment that comes at a critical time as we are facing some of the most dynamic changes in the history of the NCAA,” said USU Athletic Director Scott Barnes. “Ed's background as a former student athlete and his experience in leadership roles on our campus will serve him well. We are delighted that Ed has committed to help us in his new role.”

 White served for the past several years as USU’s Faculty Athletic Representative.

“Ken did an exceptional job as FAR representative and had a well-earned stellar reputation from USU Athletics and our student athletes,” said Albrecht. “I know Dr. Heath will continue the momentum Ken established with the position.”  

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