Eating disorders, Alcohol and Substance Use, Treatment Innovation, LGBTQ, Minority Stress, Gender Dysphoria, Underrepresented Communities, fMRI, Transdiagnostic Mechanisms, Scholar-Activist
Leo is a first-year doctoral student in the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program and works with Dr. Sarah Fischer in the Impulse Lab. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience, as well as a certificate in sexuality studies. Prior to their start of clinical and research training at George Mason University, he spent three years working as a Research Assistant investigating relationships between eating disorder and alcohol use pathologies to transdiagnostic mechanisms (impulsivity, neuroticism, etc) and assisting in conducting clinical trials to improve existing psychological interventions. They also worked within University of Kentucky Healthcare, where he would conduct psychiatric and behavioral assessments, host group therapy sessions, and promoting patient-centered care in behavioral health units. He worked with underrepresented communities in specific research endeavors, where they aim to fill the gaps inside specific treatment interventions for eating disorders and alcohol use and investigate the potential roles of LGBTQ Minority Stress (Internalized Homophobia, Concealment) and Gender Dysphoria within the development and maintenance of problematic drinking and disordered eating within LGBTQ individuals.
-Improving Current Treatment Interventions for Eating Disorders, Substance Use, and Alcohol Use to Address LGBTQ Experiences
-Explore fMRI and brain mechanisms that are displayed in eating disorder and alcohol use pathologies
-Investigating Different Faucets of Transdiagnostic Mechanisms (Neuroticism, experiential avoidance, impulsivity) Within Eating Disorder and Alcohol Use Pathologies
-Investigating Components of LGBTQ Minority Stress (Concealment, Internalized Homophobia), Forms of Discrimination, and Gender Dysphoria within LGBTQ Individuals with Problematic Drinking and Disordered Eating
-Exploring Different Psychological Conditions (Non-Suicidal Self injury, ADHD, PTSD) in Disordered Eating and Alcohol Use Populations
Outside of Academia, he engages in activism work around the Commonweath of Kentucky towards LGBTQ individuals and other minoritized communities. They created a project with a mental health and gender/sexual identity expression 'toolkit' for LGBTQ Youth and their families. They work with school psychologists in the DMV area to create resources and training opportunities for working with LGBTQ Youth in School Settings. He travels the Commonwealth of Kentucky and surrounding states to give discussions and speeches about disparities in mental health treatment for LGBTQ folks, while continuing the intersection of other minoritized identities and their voices. They trained Healthcare Workers and University Staff on Cultural Humility and Safe-Zones. He works with the Human Rights Campaign in community engagement in Rural Areas of Kentucky to address gaps in social justice policies. Finally, they work with the Trevor Project towards creating a supportive environment for LGBTQ youth.
Leo considers himself a Scholar-Activist within Academia. He attends multiple workshops/conferences inside his areas of interest to focus on intersectionality and working to extend current treatment interventions for underrepresented communities and reduce relapse rates. Please feel free to reach out if you would like to learn more about navigating academia as an underrepresented individual.
In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, hiking, and exploring different cuisines.
Languages: English (Fluent), German (Advanced), Spanish (Basic)
If you need mental health support:
Atkinson, E. A., Miller, L. A., & Smith, G. T. (2022). Maladaptive emotion socialization as a risk factor for the development of negative urgency and subsequent problem drinking. Alcohol and alcoholism.
Fischer, S., Wonderlich, J., Miller, L.A., Breithaupt, L., Frietchen R., Cao, L., Nelson, J.D., & Izquierdo, A. (Manuscript Submitted for Publication). The Association of Alcohol Use and Positive Urgency to Same Day Objective Binge Eating in Emerging Adults.
Miller, L.A., Semcho S.A., Southward M.W., & Sauer-Zavala S. (Manuscript Submitted for Publication). Investigating urgency, impulsivity, and environmental pressure's role in LGBTQ substance use and disordered eating.
Miller, L.A., Fischer, S., & Izquierdo, A. (Manuscript in Progress). Gender Diversity and Eating Disorder Pathology: A Systematic Review.
Miller, L.A., Semcho S.A., Southward M.W., & Sauer-Zavala S. (2021). LGBTQ status is associated with substance use above and beyond transdiagnostic mechanisms of psychopathology. Poster session presented at Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New Orleans, LA.
Atkinson, E.A., Miller, L.A., Tharp, T., & Smith, G.T. (2022). The influence of maladaptive emotion socialization on the development or urgency and problem drinking in adolescents. Poster session presented at Research Society on Alcoholism, Orlando, Florida.
Miller, L.A., Fischer, S., Semcho S.A., Southward M.W., & Sauer-Zavala S. (2023, June 24-28). [Poster Abstract Submitted]. Alcohol Use and Substance Use in Sexual Minority Women is Associated with Experiential Avoidance Above and Beyond Transdiagnostic Mechanisms of Psychopathology.
Atkinson, E.A., Miller, L.A., & Smith, G.T. (2023, June 24-28). [Poster Abstract Submitted]. The Role of Maladaptive Emotion Socialization in the Development of Trait-Level Negative Urgency and Subsequent Problem Drinking in Adolescents.
B.S. in Psychology, University of Kentucky
Minor in Neuroscience
Certificate in Sexuality Studies