Tatyana El-Kour is a passionate international development and public health professional with an expert level understanding of technical cooperation and project design and implementation regarding United Nations, European Union, and Global Humanitarian organizations. She possesses more than 17 years’ experience and has served various technical and leadership roles at national and international levels within the World Health Organization, global humanitarian organizations and private practice. She is uniquely qualified in healthy lifestyle promotion and disease prevention in mental health, nutrition implications of mental health and mental health implications of nutrition. As a native of Jordan, Tatyana’s work has been mostly focused on the Middle East and North African region where psychology is central challenge of contemporary Middle Eastern context. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in Psychology at Fielding Graduate University with a concentration in Media Psychology. She aspires to work at the intersection of cognition, technology, and media innovation to design effective and sustainable system-based solutions to social and health problems in the Middle East. Tatyana completed her undergraduate degree in dietetics from Kansas State University, and her combined master’s and internship program in medical nutrition therapy from Tufts University. She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships. Most recently, she received the prestigious 2015 Leah Horowitz Humanitarian Award from Tufts University, the 2017 Wagenheim Endowed Scholarship for International Students and the 2017 Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment research fellowship from Fielding Graduate University for her project entitled: “Empowerment matters: How redefining mothers’ role in crisis can help save lives.”
In 2014, the World Health Organization adopted a formal resolution making autism a global health priority. Once considered rare, the World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 160 children globally has autism that begins in childhood, and tends to persist in adolescence and adulthood. Adequate nutrition across the lifespan of persons with autism remains critical. Popular trends of diets for autism are putting affected persons at increased health risks for inadequate nutrition, chronic eating problems, gastrointestinal disturbances, and micronutrient imbalances that impact healthy lifestyle adoption and response to treatment. Current public health and therapeutic approaches seldom rely on evidence-based measures to address prevalent misinformation and misconceptions surrounding diet and health concerns for autism. This presentation provides a comprehensive cross-cultural comparative analysis of global dietary patterns and best practices for autism. It explores ways of how innovations in media and technology can be used to transform the way persons with autism, and their families, eat by applying psychological and behavior change theory components to allow for greater personalization, higher specificity, elevated user flow and careful attention to adequately address the underlying determinants of personal food intake, including the cultural and traditional aspects of diet and lifestyle in various regions of the world. Efforts to draw on autism-focused media psychology for effective nutrition interventions for autism are paramount to informing the global policy debate about evidence-based practice adoption and intervention surrounding diet and autism. Consideration for greater integration across available technologies is favorable too. Issues of privacy and digital divide impose both a systemic challenge and a growing opportunity to encourage action on regulatory oversight and to investigate measures of closing the digital divide gap.