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Global Outreach Club Welcomes Dr. Bryn Austin to Speak about Policy Advocacy Work in Public Health

The Global Outreach Club (GO Club) in the Upper School recently hosted Dr. Bryn Austin, Professor of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health to speak to club members and other interested students. Dr. Austin is the founding director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) at Harvard Chan and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“We first got to know Dr. Austin because I've been collaborating with her and the team at STRIPED for the past several months as a student fellow,” said Alexandra Xu ’22. “I've specifically been working to spearhead a legislative advocacy campaign in NJ prohibiting the sale of perilous over-the-counter diet pills to minors (the Out of Kids' Hands campaign).”

Dr. Austin spoke to students a bit about her work at STRIPED, particularly her policy advocacy work in prohibiting the sale of diet pills to minors, and illustrated how the banning of such weight loss supplements is intrinsically a matter of social justice and health equity. The presentation was followed by time for Questions and Answers from club members and students in attendance.

“We thought the Q&A session went really well, as students asked such thought-provoking questions,” Said Xu. “For instance, Serena Li ’22 inquired about the intersection of journalism and public health advocacy, and Siya Angras ’23 queried about the prevalence of weight stigma in public health messaging and clinical settings. Several students also stayed behind to discuss the flaws of the BMI model, the roots of anti-fatness in anti-Blackness, and other topics, so we really hope to build on this momentum and continue fostering dialogue on health equity, eating disorders, body liberation, and more as part of GO Club.”