Our Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program Team

Director Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program

Katharine Phillips, MD is an internationally recognized expert on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). She has dedicated her professional life to BDD. Phillips started studying BDD, as well as evaluating and treating people with BDD, more than 20 years ago, before BDD was recognized by most professionals or the public. Her pioneering research and clinical work has identified symptoms of BDD, how BDD affects people’s lives, other problems and symptoms that people with BDD often have, and many other aspects of this disorder. She has done research on identifying and developing effective treatments for BDD—both medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Megan Kelly, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Megan Kelly, PhD is an affiliated investigator in the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program. Kelly is the Bedford Site Director of the VISN 1 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), and Associate Director of the Social and Community Reintegration Research Program (SoCRR) based at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Kelly received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and completed a psychology postdoctoral research fellowship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kelly has over 15 years of research and clinical experience focused on the treatment of obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders and anxiety-related disorders. She has been the principal investigator (PI) and co-investigator of several NIH and VA-funded research grants. Kelly has worked with Dr. Phillips and her team since 2007 on BDD research, with a specific focus on the similarities and differences between BDD and social anxiety disorder. Her current research focuses on the development of behavioral interventions for Veterans with addictive disorders and poor social functioning, as well as the prevalence and characteristics of Veterans with BDD.

Marisa Sklar, PhD, MS
Study Assessor

Marisa Sklar, PhD, MS, received her doctorate from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in 2015, and completed her predoctoral internship in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Sklar's research and evaluation work targets system- and policy-level factors that impact health and mental health. She has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Veterans Medical Research Foundation to evaluate integrated primary care and patient-centered medical home models of healthcare. Sklar also serves as a behavioral health clinician at the Family Care Center of the Memorial Hospital of RI. Her clinical work is strongly influenced by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) treatment modalities and emphasizes the roles of acceptance, mindfulness, and emotional regulation in addressing a variety of patient behavioral health needs.

William Lechner, PhD
Study Assessor

William Lechner, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who received his doctorate at Oklahoma State University in 2015. He completed his clinical residency at Brown University and is currently a research fellow at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Lechner’s research focuses on the role of executive functions in addiction. He specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-morbid anxiety disorders.

Lori Cragan, LICSW
Supportive Psychotherapist

Prior to working at Lifespan, Cragan was employed at The Kent Center for 18 years, working with adults living with chronic and persistent mental illness in both the residential program and at the Clubhouse (vocational / recovery services). She has given presentations on the Clubhouse model of recovery and received the “Heroes in the Fight” award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2007. Cragan played an integral part in the development and founding of Harbor House, the first independent Clubhouse program in Rhode Island in 2010. Cragan received her Master’s degree at Rhode Island College, completing her internship in the emergency department and medical floors at Rhode Island Hospital. Her current area of interest includes understanding the similarities and differences between BDD, Depression/Anxiety and Hoarding Disorder, and offering trauma informed evidence-based treatments to people in need.

Molly O’Brien, MSW, LCSW
Supportive Psychotherapist

Prior to working at Lifespan, O’Brien was employed at Stevens Treatment Programs working with adolescents with severe behavioral disorders. She received her Master’s degree at Rhode Island College and completed her internship at the inpatient dialysis unit at Rhode Island Hospital.

Richard Meza-Lopez
Senior Research Assistant

A graduate of Rhode Island College, Richard Meza-Lopez received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 2014. Prior to becoming a research assistant for the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program, Meza-Lopez served as a volunteer in Rhode Island Hospital’s adult and Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatric emergency departments, as well as the BDD Program. He hopes to attend medical school in the future.

Chloe Sarapas
Clinical Research Assistant

Chloe Sarapas graduated from Wheaton College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. At Wheaton, she was involved on campus in tutoring and mentoring students and members of the local community. Having previously interned in a range of clinical settings, Sarapas is interested in the treatment of anxiety disorders and hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the future.

Robert Stout, PhD
Senior Statistician

Robert Stout, PhD is the BDD Program’s senior statistician. He is a mathematical psychologist who received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1974. He is a charter member of the Society for Mathematical Psychology. Stout has been principal investigator on several addictions research projects and has been senior investigator on many more, including Project MATCH. His research interests include the quantitative study of clinical and policy decision making, managed care, quantitative modeling of long-term treatment outcome and treatment research methodology. Stout's primary current study is an NIAAA-funded health services study titled Case Monitoring for Alcoholics: Health Costs. Stout also serves as senior statistician/co-investigator on studies of other psychiatric disorders. He has been a member of study sections for NIH and NIAAA and has also served on a number of committees for NIDA and NSF.

Eugene Quinn, PhD

Eugene Quinn, PhD consults with the BDD Program on data analysis, programming, methods and manuscript writing. He has worked in industry for more than 25 years in various capacities. He was a biostatistician at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a statistical analyst at a health insurance company, an applications programmer, a systems programmer, a computer capacity planner and a technical support project manager. While a graduate student in statistics, he collected and coded data on fatal traffic accidents for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

William Menard
Research Staff

William Menard received his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and has worked with Phillips’ research team since 2000.

Carenda Dowdy
Administrative Assistant

Carenda Dowdy is a graduate of Central High School and is currently attending the Community College of Rhode Island. She has spent the last 17 years working in the health care field. During this time she has held multiple positions while also achieving numerous promotions. Carenda spent 10 years at Fatima Hospital. She then spent several years as a Clinical Access Specialist at Butler Hospital. Before landing at Lifespan working at the BDD program, Carenda held the position of Access Supervisor while being employed at Gateway Healthcare in the Department of Finance.