Our Mission

The Living F.R.E.E. Lab is a research group focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating equitable interventions for those who live at the intersection of having disordered eating and chronic disease.

Meet Our Leaders

Rachel W. Goode, PhD, MPH, LCSW

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR

Dr. Goode is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). She received her PhD, MPH, and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and eating disorders. Her research has been funded by the NIH, National Eating Disorders Association, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Magee Womens Research Institute, and the University Research Council at UNC-Chapel Hill. Additionally, Dr. Goode is a licensed clinical social worker, and has practice experience with the treatment of eating disorders and obesity among clients in university counseling centers, and community-based mental health agencies. She has been fortunate to be the recipient of various awards, including the Oprah Civic Leadership Award, National Health, Lung, Blood Institute (NIH) Research Service Award, and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine. She is currently the principal investigator of an NIH/NIDDK Career Development Award (K23) to design a culturally-relevant digital health intervention to treat binge eating and obesity in Black women.

Living FREE Lab | Ramine Alexander, PhD, MPH

raminea@unc.edu
704-250-5093

Ramine Alexander, PhD, MPH

RESEARCH PROJECT MANAGER, LIVING F.R.E.E. LAB

Dr. Alexander received her Ph.D. Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and MPH in Health Education, from Virginia Tech. As an intervention scientist, her research interest includes utilizing Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to improve lifestyle risk factors (i.e., diet and physical activity) that have a direct relevance to obesity and chronic disease. Through CBPR approaches a primary goal of her work is to involve the voice of the community in the research process to promote intervention sustainability. Dr. Alexander has a passion for building health equity, conducting research on the social determinants of health, and using innovative approaches to communicate science.

Our Lab Team

Living FREE Lab | Tyisha Harper-Cooks, MBA

Tyisha Harper-Cooks, MBA

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Tyisha Harper joined UNC Nutrition Research Institute in December 2021 as a Project Coordinator in the Goode Lab. She is originally for Milwaukee, WI and relocated to the Charlotte area with her new husband. While in Milwaukee, WI Tyisha worked as a Research Program Coordinator and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She is excited to learn and develop her research career here. Tyisha is motivated by spiritual affirmations and her favorite one is Psalms 46:5, “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

Living FREE Lab | Ana Paola Campos, PhD

Ana Paola Campos, PhD

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Dr. Campos completed her PhD in Social Work at Boston College and a Master in Nutrition at Iberoamericana University in Mexico City. Her research examines risk and protective factors for child malnutrition, including obesity, among underserved populations. Her current research interests have been shaped by a gradual evolution of experiences from diverse clinic- and community-based research projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S. A more recent area of her research focuses on adapting and testing a parenting intervention to prevent child obesity among Hispanic families.

Living FREE Lab | Myneesha King

Myneesha King

COMMUNITY HEALTH OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Myneesha is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University’s Professional Theatre Department. Her background includes education, social services, pilot program management, and human resources. Myneesha taught middle and high school theatre in both Charlotte Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County Schools. She has a passion remains for community outreach and the development of underserved populations. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and exploring cultural events.

Living FREE Lab | Julian Robles

Julian Robles

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Julian is a Kannapolis native who is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Religious Studies. He is a Chancellor’s Science Scholar and worked at the NRI as an undergraduate. Julian is a research assistant in Dr. Goode’s lab where he is engaging in qualitative research around eating disorders and engaging in the community. He is interested in exploring a possible career in research, but would like to go to medical school to become a pediatric oncologist. Some of Julian’s interests include reading, riding motorcycles, hiking, and being a positive impact.

Living FREE Lab | Katherine Matthes

Katherine Matthes

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Katherine is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, where she studied social work. As an undergraduate, she engaged in research surrounding burnout and vicarious trauma; she is excited to join Dr. Goode’s lab as a research assistant. Katherine is passionate about increasing healthcare equity, social justice, and individual and community well-being, and she hopes to pursue a career engaging in research around disordered eating. In her free time, Katherine enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and playing guitar.

Student Research Team

Living FREE Lab | Claudia Calderon

Claudia Calderon

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Claudia is currently an MPH student in Nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her areas of interest include maternal and child health, perinatal nutrition, global nutrition, nutrition policies and programs, and obesity prevention. She is interested in working on how to reduce health disparities for immigrants, populations of color, and the Hispanic population. She enjoys listening to music, hiking, exploring, and trying out new recipes to share with her friends.

Living FREE Lab | Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Michelle is a second-year student in the Master of Public Health Nutrition program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is originally from Houston, TX and obtained her B.S. in Nutrition from Texas A&M University in 2020. Her research interests include Asian American health, cultural implications in eating disorder treatment, and childhood food insecurity. In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, visiting local coffeeshops.

Living FREE Lab | Wehazit Mussie

Wehazit Mussie

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Wehazit Mussie is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Medical Anthropology on a Pre-Dental track in hopes to become a pediatric dentist. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moved to Gastonia, North Carolina in 2016. She serves as a Research Assistant in Dr. Goode’s lab where she is able to contribute to research that she is truly passionate about regarding issues that have long been underrepresented for people of color. Wehazit enjoys making pottery, practicing yoga, and reading in her spare time.

Living FREE Lab | Trilla Teague

Trilla Teague

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

My name is Trilla Teague and I am from Charlotte, North Carolina. I am a Biology B.S major with minors in Chemistry and Spanish for the Medical Professions. After college, I would love to attend medical school. My greatest value in life is my faith, and all that I do and all that I am stems from that. This includes my life goal to be a light in the lives of others. I love to experience the uncomfortable, and I strive for everything I do to be marked by excellence. Outside of school, I love to dance, do crafts, and work with children (I often combine these 3 things). I simply love living life and hope to share that love and excitement to those around me.

Our Lab

Created in October 2017, The Living F.R.E.E. (Research Focused on Reducing Excessive Eating) Lab is a research group focused on developing and evaluating interventions for those at the intersection of disordered eating and chronic disease. The vision behind the name “Living F.R.E.E.” came because Dr. Goode desires to cultivate interventions to help people reconnect with their bodies and rebuild their relationship with food, while also mitigating chronic disease risk. As a Black social work and public health scientist, Dr. Goode also appreciated the idea of cultivating a place where she could conduct science with attention to the needs of Black Americans, and other groups who have been disparately served. In addition to creating a safe and joyful research space, the Living F.R.E.E. Lab is dedicated to training and diversifying the next generation of social and behavioral scientists.

What does the future hold for the lab?

Our lab plans to continue developing our community-engaged research and securing additional grant funding to continue to advance the science. We also plan to conduct research studies in larger samples. Indeed, “We will continue to develop science that will help people have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.”

Our Partners

The Living F.R.E.E. Lab is a research group focused on developing and evaluating interventions to treat and prevent disordered eating behaviors and obesity among women of color. Sign up below to receive short easy recipes and guidebook.