Board of Directors

Co-Founder

Emily Estes is the Co-Founder of the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network, and serves on the Executive Committee.  Emily is the owner of Sage Nutrition. Emily completed her undergraduate degree in dietetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She went on to complete her dietetic internship and earn her Master’s Degree in Community Nutrition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Emily is certified in Trans-Disciplinary Obesity Prevention. She has extensive experience in the areas of weight management, eating disorders, and program development. Emily offers a wholistic approach to nutrition counseling, referring to the entire structure or makeup of a person including the body, mind, and spirit.

Co-Founder

Casey Tallent, PhD, is the Co-Founder of the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network, and serves on the Executive Committee.  Casey is the National Collegiate Outreach Director for Eating Recovery Center and its Partner Programs. In her role as National Outreach Coordinator, Casey will be focusing on outreach to colleges and universities. Before joining Eating Recovery Center, Casey was the Eating Disorder Treatment Team Coordinator at University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Counseling and Psychological Services. During her tenure at University of Nebraska, Casey provided counseling to students, coordinated the university’s multidisciplinary eating disorders treatment team, created policies and procedures on assessing risk level and providing treatment recommendations, as well as planned, executed and presented at a variety of outreach events. She currently serves on the University Health Center Medical Staff Committee and the Counseling Psychology Program Committee at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Casey is also a member of Nebraska Women in Higher Education Leadership. She received her BA and Masters in Counseling from University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her PhD in Counseling Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Certified Professional Accountant

Michelle Hoppe serves on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network’s Board of Directors, providing accounting guidance to the Executive Committee.  She received her degrees in Finance and Accounting from Creighton University in 2003, and graduated summa cum laude.  She worked as an Audit Associate with KPMG from 2003-2006 where she provided audits for not-for-profit organizations.  She worked as a CPA with Masimore, Magnuson and Associates from 2006-2012, and now works as a Business Analyst with DMSi Software.

In additional to her professional life, Michelle has served as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the St. Andrew’s Child Enrichment Center from 2010-2014, and has been a mentor with Teammates Mentoring since 2015.

Daniel E. Gih, MD is Associate Professor and Co-Director of Medical Student Education in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Gih came to UNMC in June 2016 and is a faculty member for the Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency Program where he supports education and provides clinical supervision.

He completed his medical education and training in the Big Ten; medical school at the University of Iowa, and trainings in adult and child psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Dr. Gih stayed on faculty there for five years. His clinical interests include psychiatric education, severe mood disorders in adolescents, electroconvulsive therapy, and eating disorders. While on faculty at the University of Michigan, he co-founded and directed the University of Michigan Comprehensive Eating Disorder Program, the state’s only academic partial hospitalization program for eating disorders for children and young adults. Dr. Gih holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Michigan and is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (FAPA).

A Licensed Professional Counselor, Travis Stewart has worked in field of eating disorders since 2003 at every level of care. He brings a unique blend of clinical expertise and communication skills to his role with Castlewood. He is passionate about connecting people to resources and experiences that are transformative and healing.

An excellent communicator and teacher, Travis is a regular contributor to websites, podcasts, webinars and conferences on eating and body image issues and has spoken at schools such as Pepperdine University, Baylor University, Washington University, and graduate schools around the country.

Travis graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1991 with a degree in advertising and immediately began working with the international ministry of The Navigators, mentoring students. After 8 years, his desire to better understand how people change and heal led to obtaining a Master of Arts in Counseling (2001) and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (2003) from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri where he now lives with his family.

A Provisional Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, Kaylin Boni has worked in the field of eating disorders professionally since 2011, but has extensive experience with eating disorders. Kaylin’s professional experience includes a variety of treatment levels ranging from outpatient therapy, partial hospitalization, and residential care in both California and Nebraska.

Kaylin graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2014 with a Bachelors of Social Work Degree, and again, in 2016 with a Masters of Social Work Degree.  Post-graduation, Kaylin began her provisional clinical experience in pursuit of becoming a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner at Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Partial Program. In addition, Kaylin also provides outpatient therapy at Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Services.

Kaylin has a true passion for empowering people and helping those struggling with eating disorders to achieve self-love, true freedom, re-create a healthy relationship with food and their bodies, and to experience authentic joy in their lives once again. My hope is to foster the belief that each individual is priceless, has innate worth, and deserves healing.

By participating in the NEDN, Kaylin hopes to connect with other professionals in the field to not only bring greater awareness to our society, but to collaborate, grow, and learn from other professionals in order to provide the best care for patients.

Angela Lee is a proud Nebraska Native and the founder of SHOLDIT®. Always on the go and open to adventure, Angela needed a place to stash her stuff. After tirelessly searching for a stylish hands free alternative to a purse, this resourceful country girl from rural Nebraska took matters into her own hands. With a $20 sewing machine and no industry connections, Angela made a leap of faith in 2010 to sew her first prototype and eventually secured patents. SHOLDIT® has been proudly featured by top television and media outlets and sold by top retailers across the country. Angela brings a wealth of knowledge, connections, and innovative ideas to NEDN!

Why join the NEDN Board? “A woman’s reflection is always under scrutiny. When I received the invitation to be a part of helping women love the person they see looking back at them, I couldn’t pass it up. Eating disorders are extremely complex. I look forward to learning from the organization as well as offering a helping hand.”

What do you hope to see NEDN accomplish? “If this organization positively enhances one person’s life it will be a success. I look forward to NEDN helping many people and creating life long bonds throughout the state and beyond.”

Tricia Besett-Alesch, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist in Nebraska. Dr. Besett-Alesch has focused her career in college mental health. In her 18-year tenure at Counseling and Psychological Services at University of Nebraska-Lincoln she has held numerous positions including eating disorders treatment team coordinator, training director, associate director, and most recently director. Dr. Besett-Alesch has skills and expertise in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma. Dr. Besett-Alesch received her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Mary Ellis was born in Hudson, New York. She moved to Houston, Texas at the age of 10 years old when her father was transferred to KTRK as the News Director. She obtained theatre and philosophy degrees from The University of Dallas. After a short career in theatre and dance, she moved to Omaha, Nebraska and attended Creighton University Law School. She received her J.D. in 1988. She returned to Creighton in 1994 for her pre-med degrees and then graduated with an RN BSN from Creighton School Of Nursing in 1998. She has worked with the underprivileged as an advocate in both Health and Law for the past 25 years. She also worked for Magellan, Risk Management in the metro area hospitals and as legal counsel for Heartland Family Services’ Domestic Abuse division.

Currently, she works as a as the Director of Nursing for OMNI Behavioral Health and as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Separate Juvenile Courts of Nebraska. Mary also serves as President of Dodge County Bar Association, and sits on the Board of Directors of Winnebago Girls and Boys Club, the District 6 Truancy Task Force, and as an advisor to the Crossover Youth Pilot Model for Dodge County. In her spare time, she teaches group fitness and plays keys and bass in an original band. She is studying Spanish as a full time student. She is an avid long distance runner, artist and cook. She has two daughters that are both involved in the performing arts.

Executive Committee

President

Denisa Larreau is the current President of the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. She is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, and completed her Masters of Science in Clinical Counseling at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2013. Her professional experience includes a variety of treatment levels ranging from outpatient therapy to partial hospitalization.  She began her clinical experience with the Eating Disorder program at OMNI Behavioral Health, starting in the outpatient program before moving into Day Program treatment.  She transitioned into private practice  in 2015 and has focused on building her practice around treating eating disorders.  She welcomes the opportunity to work with both adolescents and adults.  She is most passionate about helping those clients who struggle with body-image, eating disorders, self-esteem, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Past President

Jessica Wegener is the current Past-President on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee.   She has been a Registered Dietitian specializing in Sports Nutrition, Disordered Eating, Corporate Wellness, Pediatric Nutrition, PCOS Nutrition, and Adult/Child Weight Management since 2003.

Her passion for food and nutrition began as a young girl in Minnesota helping her mother cook for her family of six and participating in the local 4-H program. Jessica attended the University Of Nebraska on a full scholarship for gymnastics, where she completed my Bachelors Degree in Nutritional Science & Dietetics, and then went on to obtain her RD license by completing a Dietetic Internship at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. While in college and graduate school, she worked at Husker Power Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of Nebraska.

From 2004 through 2009 Jessica worked at Remuda Ranch Eating Disorder Treatment Center, in Chandler, Arizona. She has experience working for the United States Air Force from 2010-2014 and is currently the founder of Positive Nutrition of Omaha LLC, and the nutrition consultant for Athlete’s Training Center Sports Performance & Physical Therapy.
She obtained certification in Sports Dietetics in 2010, and since then has had the pleasure of working with many elite, club, high-school, and masters level athletes. She has a true passion for helping people develop healthy relationships with food and exercise.

Vice-President

Liz Baker is the current Vice President on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. Liz Baker holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from Saint Louis University (SLU), with an emphasis in Nutrition & Physical Performance. Her Bachelors Degree was completed at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and she moved to St. Louis to complete her dietetic internship at SLU. Liz has been a registered and licensed dietitian since 2013 and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Prior to moving back to Nebraska, Liz worked at an eating disorder treatment center at the residential level of care, providing one-on-one nutrition counseling, co-facilitating eating disorder groups and nutrition education groups, and helping to empower clients to repair their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies. Liz’s passion for the treatment of eating disorders grew significantly through her work with the clients and collaboration with the treatment team. She is excited to be pursuing this passion in her hometown as a dietitian at Sage Nutrition.

Secretary

Mary Lynn Kardell is the current Secretary on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. As a Registered Dietitian, I have been providing ethical, evidence-based nutrition counseling for the past 27 years. I empower my clients to enjoy nourishing their bodies in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. My goal is to enable clients to feel at peace with food, physical activity and their body, instead of feeling controlled by diets, emotions, stress or restrictive eating. Utilizing realistic and effective counseling approaches, clients can develop the knowledge and skills needed to foster true health and well-being while feeling confident with their food and lifestyle choices.

After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I completed my dietetic internship at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. I started working as a member of the treatment team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Eating Disorders Program in 1991. After moving to Chicago, I was employed at Northwestern University Medical Center as a clinical dietitian for both eating disorders and solid organ transplant. I was the Editor of the Transplant Chapter for the North American Manual of Clinical Dietetics, 6th Edition. In 2004, I moved back to Omaha with my husband and three children and opened my private practice.

Through my work, I have observed the impact negative food and body talk have on my clients. I currently collaborate with childcare centers to educate providers, parents and children on ways to foster a healthy relationship with food, their bodies and physical activity. I am a consultant for Mosaic in Omaha, providing nutritional care for individuals with developmental disabilities. I volunteer extensively, both personally and professionally. I currently serve as the Marketing Assistant for Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and am a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals. (IAEDP).

Treasurer

Cathy Jewell is the current Treasurer on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. Cathy Jewell works as the Mindful Movement Coach at Sage Nutrition. She also teaches pilates and yoga for the Pilates Center of Omaha and Genesis Racquet Club in Lincoln. She has worked in the health and wellness field and specifically with eating disorders as a movement specialist for over 10 years. She enthusiastically shares her experience and resources with her clients to help them reconnect to their mind and body, empower their bodies in a positive way, help relieve stress and provide a holistic approach to movement and mindfulness.
Cathy earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree in Health Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently is the Clothesline School Coordinator for the Junior League of Lincoln and is a member of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Membership Committee Chair

Aimee Hollendieck is the current Membership Committee Chair on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. Aimee Hollendieck is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner. She has been in private practice with Counseling Connections & Associates since September of 2010.  Aimee received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Dana College in 2004; she also minored in religion while there. She went on to receive her Master of Science Degree in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2010.

Aimee is a member of the Association for Private Practice Therapists (APPT), a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and is a Certified Professional Counselor (CPC).  Aimee began working in the field in 2008 on an adult intensive care unit of an inpatient mental health hospital in Omaha.  Aimee interned with OMNI Behavioral Health Eating Disorder Clinic in 2010 and this is where her initial work with ED clients began.
Aimee primarily works with ED clients in her practice, and she also enjoys working with the trans population.  She’s passionate about helping the voiceless find their voice and likes empowering people to discover their authentic self.  By participating in the NEDN, Aimee is hoping to connect with other professionals in the field and to bring awareness and hope to a community much in need.

Social Media Committee Chair

Whitney Larsen RD, LMNT, CPT is the current Social Media Committee Chair on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. Whitney Larsen is a bilingual Registered Dietitian and Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist who specializes in nutrition and wellness counseling for Disordered Eating, Prenatal and Maternal Nutrition, Cardiovascular Disease, Hyperlipidemia, Diabetes, Corporate Wellness, and Mind Body Fitness. In addition, Whitney is a Certified Personal Trainer, holds a certification in Weight Management, and was named ‘Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year’ by the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Omaha District in 2016.
Whitney received her Bachelors Degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She then went on to complete her dietetic internship with the University of Northern Colorado and later moved to Omaha, Nebraska where she obtained her first job as a Registered Dietitian working in prenatal and pediatric nutrition. Years later, Whitney began a career as a supermarket dietitian where she was able to combine her love of food and cooking with nutrition counseling. She also has consulted for various physicians clinics, has been a speaker at professional conferences, schools and corporations, has designed and implemented corporate wellness initiatives and teaches adult and child cooking classes.
Whitney’s focus is on being realistic and working with clients in a gradual and personalized approach to help them meet their health goals. Learning to enjoy eating healthy foods, being active and living in balance is the core of Whitney’s philosophy.

Website Chairperson

Brandi Stalzer is the current Chairperson of the Website Committee for the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. Brandi Stalzer, LIMHP, is the Clinical Supervisor for OMNI Behavioral Health’s Eating Disorder Clinic. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Simpson College and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Prior to working in the human services field, Brandi managed the marketing efforts for a government agency to develop communities.  Her position at OMNI has allowed her the opportunity to train eating disorder professionals and interns through consultations and trainings she conducted. Prior to her position at Clinical Supervisor, she worked in the eating disorder field as a direct care staff and therapist, and has experience working with substance use and adolescent populations. In addition to working in the field, she volunteers in the community and nationally with the organization, Delta Delta Delta, as a Body Image 3D Program Facilitator.

Event Planning Chairperson

Leigh Healey, RD, LD, LMNT currently serves as the 2018-2019 Event Planning Chairperson on the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee. This is Leigh’s second year serving as the event chair for NEDN. Leigh graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics in 2014 and completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City in 2015. Leigh accepted her first job as a Registered Dietitian at OMNI Behavioral Health in the Eating Disorder Clinic where she worked as part of a multidisciplinary team and developed and implemented all the nutritional needs of eating disorder clients. Leigh now works with Hy-Vee grocery stores as a retail dietitian where she enjoys interacting with customers and teaching them how to develop and/or maintain healthy lifestyles either in group class settings or one-on-one. Leigh is also a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as local state and city dietetics chapters. Leigh believes that taking a preventative approach with nutritious eating and physical activity can help keep the mind and body strong and healthy. She believes all foods can be enjoyed in moderation and being healthy means having balance in all aspects of your life, including food.

Fundraising Chairperson

Krista Godfrey graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition Science. Her dietetic internship was completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011, and since then she has been dedicated to providing medical nutrition therapy to patients with a diversity of conditions. For the past 6 years she has worked in Children’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Eating Disorder program and Behavioral Health Department. Serving eating disorder clients has become a passion of hers. It is rewarding to watch nutrition heal the body and mind throughout the recovery process. In 2014, Krista became a Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition and completed her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences in 2015. She now sees clients at her own practice, Life Cycle Nutrition, and continues to work with eating disorders and pediatrics. She would like help raise eating disorder awareness and support in the community.

Member-At-Large

Christina Powell, LCSW, LIMHP serves as the Nebraska Eating Disorder Network Executive Committee’s Member-At-Large. Christina Powell graduated from Hastings College in 2000 with a degree in Psychology, English and Studio Art. She then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Social Work at The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2003. She began working with individuals with eating disorders during her advanced practicum through UNO at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Inpatient Eating Disorders Program in August of 2002. In August of 2003, she accepted the mental health practitioner position at The Eating Disorders Program and remained in that position until 2009 when she accepted a position at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Behavioral Health Department. She has continued working with individuals with eating disorders throughout the last fifteen years. Christina enjoys teaching and speaking about treating individuals with eating disorders. She taught a class at the ANAD national conference in 2004 and a six hour long course at The University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2009. There have been many other speaking engagements and guest taught classes throughout the years. She has supervised four master’s level practicum students through the Eating Disorders Program and is currently supervising a provisionally licensed mental health practitioner through Behavioral Health. In addition to specializing in the mental health treatment of eating disorders, Christina has completed EMDR level one training and focused on treating anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and adolescent issues.