Ariana M. Chao, PhD, CRNP
Obesity is undoubtedly among the most serious and complex public health challenges of the 21st century. I seek to improve the treatment of this heterogeneous disease through a comprehensive bio-behavioral approach. As nurses are on the front-lines of the obesity epidemic, we are ideally positioned to contribute practical and meaningful solutions.
- PHD, Yale University, 2015
- MSN, Boston College, 2011
- BSN, Boston College, 2010
Dr. Chao teaches Weight Management: Principles and Practices of Obesity Treatment (NURS 377) and often serves as a guest lecturer on the topic of weight and eating disorders. Dr. Chao also enjoys mentoring and collaborating with students across all levels and disciplines.
Dr. Chao’s program of research is dedicated to improving the efficacy of treatments for eating and weight disorders. Her research interests and expertise lie in the behavioral, pharmacological, and metabolic/surgical treatment of obesity as well as the behavioral, psychological, and pharmacological treatment of binge eating disorder. She specializes in developing and evaluating treatments for obesity, as well as identifying behavioral and biological phenotypes of obesity that can be used to tailor treatment. In particular, Dr. Chao is interested in how eating phenotypes and cognitive neuroscience can help us understand obesity and eating disorders. To this end, she combines innovative behavioral tasks with structural and functional brain imaging, and self-report and laboratory-based measures. Dr. Chao’s ultimate goals are to build new explanatory models to explain variability in response to obesity treatments, identify predictors of outcomes, and translate research findings to tools for clinical decision-making and novel interventions.
As a Family Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Chao provides medical management and behavioral weight loss counseling for participants enrolled in research studies at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders (CWED) at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She also serves as the Medical Director of CWED.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Chao collaborates with interdisciplinary teams to conduct translational and clinical research focused on treatments for binge eating disorder and obesity.
Selected Career Highlights
- 2018, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, Junior
Faculty Research Award
- 2017, The Obesity Society Journal Symposium Winner
- 2016, The Obesity Society Early Career Abstract Award, Clinical Management Section
- 2014, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Emerging Scholar
Chao, A. M., Wadden, T. A., Tronieri, J. S. and Berkowitz, R. I. (2019), Alcohol Intake and Weight Loss During Intensive Lifestyle Intervention for Adults with Overweight or Obesity and Diabetes. Obesity, 27: 30-40. doi:10.1002/oby.22316
Chao, A. M., Rajagopalan, A. V., Tronieri, J. S., Walsh, O. and Wadden, T. A. (2019), Identification of Binge Eating Disorder Criteria: Results of a National Survey of Healthcare Providers. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. doi:10.1111/jnu.12468
Chao, A.M., Wadden, T.A. & Berkowitz, R.I. (2019). Obesity in Adolescents with Psychiatric Disorders. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 21: 3. Doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-0990-7