213: Leveraging Lifestyle Medicine for Mental Health Equity with Dr. Alyssa Vela


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Dr. Alyssa Vela, a health psychologist and assistant professor of surgery in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, is one of the speakers for the upcoming Lifestyle Medicine conference in Orlando, Florida.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How stress from experiencing racism can influence how people interact with and experience the healthcare system
  • Why mental health symptoms and disorders are pervasive, and how racism and discrimination can worsen mental health
  • How health professionals can use lifestyle medicine to address the mental health crisis in the United States

About Dr. Alyssa Vela

Dr. Alyssa Vela is a clinical health psychologist who works with the Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team at Northwestern Medicine, where she provides clinical care for diverse patients with cardiovascular conditions. She is also an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine, where she teaches lifestyle medicine to medical students and diversity in psychological science and practice to graduate students in psychology. Her research and clinical interests include lifestyle interventions for cardiometabolic health and addressing health disparities in clinical interventions.

Dr. Vela is a graduate of the Ph.D. program in Health Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, completed her clinical internship (residency) at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and a fellowship in Health Psychology and medical education in affiliation with Michigan State College of Human Medicine. She has been board certified in Lifestyle Medicine since 2020 and is the secretary of the Mental and Behavioral Health MIG within ACLM.

Connect with Dr. Alyssa

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