Leslie Bernstein (she, her)
Leslie has been an active member of the MEDA Board since early in 2017 and has served as Board Chair since November 2019. Leslie’s early work on the Education and Awareness Committee helped MEDA reach out to a number of area schools and community organizations to heighten the awareness of both body confidence and the serious impact eating disorders have on entire communities, working towards the understanding of “the sooner the better”. During only her second year with MEDA, she stepped up without hesitation and became our Interim Executive Director, guiding the organization to strive to always fulfill the mission.
Prior to MEDA, Leslie spent 27 years as a highly esteemed Boston educator and school administrator. Leslie taught students in grades 5-10 spending much of her tenure in education as a science teacher at The Winsor School where she became the Head of Middle School and led that program for the six years prior to her retirement in 2014. She has a B.S. from Trinity College.
Luana B. Bessa, PhD, Licensed Counseling Psychologist (she, her)
Owner and Clinical Director of Bela Luz Health, LLC
Dr. Bessa has a background in Program Development and Evaluation and founded her practice with the aim of providing excellent, inclusive, and compassionate clinical and consultation services. Dr. Bessa has over 10 years of clinical experience serving diverse clients in a variety of clinical settings, and utilizes a strengths-based, integrative treatment approach that is trauma- and culturally informed. Dr. Bessa also has experience providing supervision and consultation services. Dr. Bessa served as the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for a large group practice, collaborating with leadership to develop and implement practice-wide policies, procedures, and projects that support strategic planning goals around equity, community, and growth.
On MEDA’s Board Dr. Bessa contributes her voice and passion for inclusive and effective treatment for all mental health issues.
Ron Ifrach, MAATC, LPC, ATR (he, they)
Ordained Minister, Owner, and Therapist at Rainbow Recovery
Fat, Queer, Mixed Race, Jewish Background, Chronic Illness
As a therapist, Ron offers gender affirming care, substance use treatment, LGBTQ+ issues and body image issues. He is also an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University
Ron holds a Masters in Art Therapy and Counseling from Albertus Magnus College. He previously served as the Chapter Delegate for the Connecticut Art Therapy Association and has participated in a local artist collective committed to art that encompasses and invites everyone. through art critiques, art shows and promoting artists’ work.
In the past, Ron has run an art therapy program for a nationally accredited Substance Use Treatment facility, aided veterans in recovery for C-PTSD, run community-based art therapy and supported people through the gender affirmation process. Ron is also an ordained minister and runs our “Love Freely” program. He provides equity-based pricing marriage ceremonies for LGBTQ+ people including pre-marital counseling. Ron comes to MEDA with a desire and passion to be a more effective member of the eating disorder community.
Mike LaCrosse (he, him)
Chief Executive Officer, Medford Wellington Service Company
Medford Wellington is one of the Northeast’s leading commercial service companies. In the 50+ years since its founding, Medford Wellington has helped build, maintain, service and safeguard countless companies in a variety of industries— healthcare, hospitality, education, food service, retail and many more.
Prior to Medford Wellington, Mike was a Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA) in the Outsourcing Group. Prior to CLA, he has held various positions including Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Industrial Physics, Senior Director of Finance and Investor Relations for iRobot Corporation, etc. Mike has been with MEDA for the over three years as a Board Member and the Treasurer. Mike is passionate about supporting MEDA and the community to fight this disease.
Mary Lyons-Hunter, PhD (she/her)
Unit Chief, Behavioral Health MGH Chelsea Health Center
Mary Lyons-Hunter is a clinical psychologist and the Unit Chief of the Behavioral Health Department at the MGH Chelsea Health Center. Her clinical work for the last 20+ years has focused on treatment in poor and underserved communities. Her clinical interests are anxiety, trauma and major mental illness with adults and children. She has consistently sought ways to increase access and creatively deliver services to those most in need in our communities. She has worked to develop programs and care delivery systems to address both clinical needs and social determinants of health. She has participated through the years in many community-based research projects with MGH, MGH- PRIDE, Cambridge Health Alliance and Boston Medical Center.
Rebecca Manley, MS, CCTP (she, her)
Coach, Manley Coaching
Rebecca is the founder of the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA) and has been working in the field of eating disorders for 34 years. Rebecca holds a B.A. in Education and a M.S. in Family Studies with an emphasis on early childhood development and counseling from Boston University’s Wheelock College. She is also a certified coach and a member of the International Coach Federation and is the sole provider for Manley Coaching.
Rebecca worked with the Office of Women’s Development in Washington, D.C. and helped develop their first ever body image curriculum. She has gone on to publish twice on this topic. In 2001, she spearheaded the first eating disorder screening program for high schools, developed the educational materials for the program and co-produced the video used for the program. Rebecca has been named one of the top 125 graduates for Wheelock College’s 100 year anniversary celebration and received the Myra Kraft service award for her work with eating disorders in 2018.
Becky’s passion for helping to eradicate eating disorders and fighting diet culture fuels her continued engagement on the Board. She is the Development Committee chair and has a special designation as Head of Education and Awareness – her presentations, trainings, publications, and social media (@medafounder) help educate schools, parents and community organizations about the seriousness of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction so they can better detect and treat this mental illness.
Thomas McCann, PhD. (he, him)
Owner and Executive Director, Bayberry Center for Eating Disorders in Providence, RI
Prior to founding Bayberry, Dr. McCann co-founded Fairhaven Treatment Center for Eating Disorders in Memphis, TN. Dr. McCann earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and holds an MS in Human Resource Management from Troy University and a BS in National Security from the United States Military Academy. Trained in Internal Family Systems and Non-Violent Communications, Dr. McCann envisioned the benefits of clinical interventions in a non-clinical population and the application of mind, body, behavioral, and somatic approaches to consulting and coaching. Prior to his work as a psychologist and executive director of an eating disorders program, Dr. McCann held various leadership roles in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical distribution sectors. As a member of MEDA’s Board of Directors since 2021, Dr. McCann focuses his efforts on ensuring a strategic plan is in place to help sustain and grow MEDA’s important mission.
Kirsten Meisterling (she, her)
Director, Vynamic, LLC
As a consultant at a healthcare industry management consulting firm, Kirsten uses her organizational skills to translate the vision, mission, and goals of healthcare organizations into tangible strategic development plans. Kirsten is personally connected to MEDA’s mission and became a Board Member in 2021 to help expand eating disorder awareness and treatment. She serves as the Chair of Board Affairs and a member of the Finance Committee. Kirsten has a MS in Healthcare Leadership from Brown University and a BS in Biology from the University of Vermont. She resides in Back Bay, Boston.
Kayti Protos DSW, LCSW (she, her)
Director of the MSW Program & Assistant Professor at Moravian University
Dr. Kayti Protos (she/her) is a white, queer, non-Christian, cisgender woman and ally to the transgender and nonbinary community. She is the Director of the MSW Program and Assistant Professor at Moravian University, as well as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, with over 15 years of clinical experience working with and advocating on behalf of the queer and trans communities. She maintains a small private practice in Avon, CT – Rainbow Resiliency – that specializes in helping queer & trans clients with disordered eating and eating disorders. Kayti’s excitement about MEDA is anchored in her professional work, as well as her personal experience as being someone in recovery from an eating disorder. She is passionate about increasing access to eating disorder treatment for members of marginalized communities and advocating for anti-oppressive, anti-racist treatment approaches within the eating disorder field. Additionally, Kayti has presented at over 75 professional conferences or invited lectures and is the co-author of A clinician’s guide to gender identity and body image: Practical support for working with transgender and gender expansive clients.