Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Our Staff

Kelly Costello Allison, PhD

Kelly Costello Allison, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry

Kelly C. Allison, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. She received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Miami University.

Dr. Allison's research interests include characterizing and treating the Night Eating Syndrome and the role of weight and eating behaviors on reproductive health. She is also engaged in studies on bariatric surgery outcomes and clinical trials for weight and disordered eating. Dr. Allison enjoys providing psychotherapy related to weight loss and disordered eating through this program, and she provides pre-operative bariatric surgery psychological evaluations at Penn Medicine’s bariatric program. Additionally, she provides supervision for pre-doctoral psychology practicum students at CWED. She serves as a faculty mentor for undergraduate and medical student research projects and lectures in the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Allison also works at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center where she provides cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia to veterans through the National Telemental Health program.

Dr. Allison actively participates in The Obesity Society, where she is a member of their Clinical Committee and the Academy for Eating Disorders, where she is a member of the Awards and Scientific Committee. She has published 100 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, along with two books, and has presented her work at various professional meetings and media outlets.

Dr. Allison can be contacted at: Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market St., Suite 30217 Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309. Her e-mail address is

Andrea Spivack, MA, RD, LDN

Andrea Spivack, MA, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian

Andrea Spivack MA, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist for the Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program of Penn Medicine. She also provides services for the Penn Preventative Care Program and Penn Fertility. 

Ms. Spivack has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources from University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. She provides comprehensive nutrition counseling and education to private patients and groups focusing on weight reduction and maintenance, as well as disordered eating.  She also is actively involved with the nutritional management of patients with diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and provides education for pre-bariatric surgery weight reduction and consults for the nutrition portion of the Combined Co-therapy Evaluation with our psychologist, Dr. Allison.

Ariana Chao, PhD, RN, CRNP

Ariana Chao, PhD, RN, CRNP
Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
418 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ariana M. Chao, Ph.D., RN, CRNP is a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (NINR/NIH T32NR007100) and Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She earned her BSN and MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Boston College and her PhD in nursing from Yale University. During her predoctoral training she was supported by an institutional predoctoral fellowship on self and family management (NINR/NIH T32NR008346) and an individual predoctoral fellowship (NINR/NIH F31NR014375) for her research on stress, binge eating, and metabolic abnormalities.

Dr. Chao’s research interests include identifying biobehavioral mechanisms related to binge eating and disordered eating. She is particularly interested in the roles of stress, impulsivity, reward and food cravings in binge eating and obesity. She is also interested in developing innovative ways to improve the treatment of binge eating disorder and obesity. In Dr. Chao’s current clinical practice, she provides medical management for patients in the Stunkard Weight Management Program as well as for participants enrolled in research studies at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.

Thomas Wadden, PhD

Thomas Wadden, PhD
Executive Director
Albert J. Stunkard Professor in Psychiatry

Thomas A. Wadden, Ph.D. is the Albert J. Stunkard Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. Dr. Wadden's principal research is on the treatment of obesity by methods that have included lifestyle modification, very-low-calorie diets, exercise, medication, and surgery. He has also investigated the metabolic and psychosocial consequences of obesity and weight loss, publishing over 350 papers.

Dr. Wadden serves as the Executive Director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program.

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