ROBYN HUSSA FARRELL, MFA, E-RYT is the Founder of four companies: Transport Group Theatre Company in NYC, White Elephant Enterprises, Resiliency Technologies and Mental Fitness — which she created in 2006 in an effort to connect evidence-based prevention programs to schools across the U.S. Along the way, Hussa Farrell worked in Inpatient, Partial-Hospitalization and Outpatient treatment facilities as a yoga / mindfulness teacher for patients struggling with eating disorders. The combination of working with researchers in schools and working in treatment centers led her to creating an array of engaging evidence-based programs that have connected over 4,000 students safely to treatment. She authored a chapter on her NOURISH Recovery Yoga model for licensed psychotherapists and RYT yoga instructors which is featured in the 2017 book edited by Carolyn Costin and Joe Kelly, Yoga and Eating Disorders: Ancient Healing for Modern Illness. In 2018, Robyn was invited to be a founding member of the ED recovery on campus project, led by Hynes Recovery Services. A complete listing of other projects, research and presentations is below.
With a background in NYC theatre and entertainment, Hussa Farrell has been co-creating and directing documentary film educational tools and programs with her husband Tim Farrell, through their production company, White Elephant Enterprises. Together, they create powerful digital initiatives in collaboration with individuals from diverse communities. They recently co-Directed and co-Curated the acclaimed Highland Video Village installation for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light — a public art project, supported through a $1 Million grant by Bloomberg Philanthropies. They are also resident documentary filmmakers and community engagement consultants for Way to Wellville, Spartanburg and for the Northside Initiative. Some of the mental health educational documentary films they have co-directed; include, Speaking Out About Ed, Beneath the Floorboards and ED 101 – the result of interviewing more than 50 national experts in the fields of mental health, neuroscience and public health. For their work with these rich, community engagement projects, Hussa Farrell and her husband Tim Farrell received the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the City of Spartanburg and were nominated for the 2017 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change.
Hussa Farrell is also responsible for creating and implementing award-winning Mental Fitness programs that serve as content to many K-12 schools. To assist in deploying this content, in 2014, Hussa and Farrell launched a mental health technology company, Resiliency Technologies — to power more evidence-based prevention content into communities. In 2015, Resiliency Technologies (“Sharpen”) was invited to be a South Carolina Research Authority / SC Launch client company. In 2016, Resiliency Technologies partnered with Upstate Warrior Solution to build mental health educational tools for active military, veterans and their families and in 2018, with The United Way to build tools for foster families. For her work with Sharpen, Hussa Farrell and her husband, Tim, were awarded the 2017 INNOVision award for Community Service in South Carolina.
For her work creating Mental Fitness’s array of programs and initiatives, Robyn received the 2017 Karen Mitchell Women of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands, received the 2014 Peace Award from Converse College Westgate Family Therapy (Emerge) Institute, and the 2010 Champion in Women’s Health award from former Wisconsin First Lady, Ms. Sue Ann Thompson.
Prior to her work with Mental Fitness, Hussa was co-Founder and Founding Executive Director of the award-winning New York theatre company, Transport Group, winner of Obie awards, Drama Desk nominations and the 2007 Drama Desk award for the company’s breadth of vision and challenging productions. To this day, the work of Transport Group is regarded as some of the best in New York City under the leadership of Jack Cummings III. Follow the journey at www.TransportGroup.org.
Robyn holds an MFA-Acting from the University of Virginia, is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), The International Association for Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP), is an E-RYT Certified Yoga Teacher and Continuing Education Provider with the Yoga Alliance and a certified trainer for NAMI NH CONNECT Postvention program. She proudly serves on the Behavioral Health Task Force for United Way of the Piedmont, directs the Suicide Prevention Initiative for the county, and is heavily involved in the Compassionate Schools, Way to Wellville and Northside initiatives in Spartanburg. She and her husband proudly serve on the Community Action Board for the Upstate Warrior Solution.
AWARDS / SELECT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS:
- Keynote presenter, 2019 Alternative School Educators Conference, Columbia, SC
- 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Humanitarian Award, City of Spartanburg
- 2017 INNOVISION AWARD finalist for Community Service, for Resiliency Technologies. The InnoVision Awards have become the mark of distinction for outstanding leadership, innovation and technological excellence in the state of South Carolina.
- INVITED PRESENTER 2017 SC Education and Business Summit, Greenville, SC, sponsored by SC Department of Education (outlining the evidence-based strategy for Managing Serious Mental Illnesses and Eating Disorders in Schools to school professionals, guidance counselors and administrators)
- INVITED PRESENTER 2017 Purposebuilt Communities Annual Conference, Omaha, NE, in collaboration with Emory University — revealing strategies for authentic engagement in high-needs communities as part of the StartME mentoring program.
- INVITED PRESENTER 2017 Southeastern Council of Foundations, Orlando, FL, in collaboration with Way to Wellville and Mary Black Foundation CEO to present about direct engagement in high needs areas of South Carolina using digital storytelling and documentary films.
- INVITED PRESENTER 2017 Resiliency Summer Summit, Spartanburg, in collaboration with USC Upstate Child Advocacy Studies. Leading workshops on mindfulness exercises for classroom setting.
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 – 2017 Compassionate Schools Summer Summit, Spartanburg
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 South Carolina School Social Workers annual conference — mindfulness techniques for classroom.
- Ongoing presenter, Spartanburg Day School and Spartanburg District 7 Schools
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 Compassionate Schools Summer Summit, Spartanburg
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 South Carolina Association for School Social Workers annual conference
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health, Greenville, SC
- INVITED PRESENTER 2015 National Eating Disorders Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA
- FEATURED KEYNOTE 2015 Hearth Center Eating Disorders Training, Columbia, SC
- FEATURED KEYNOTE 2015 Reading Hospital Eating Disorders Trainings for K-12 Schools, Reading, PA
- INVITED PRESENTER 2015 SC Bio Conference, Greenville, SC
- INVITED PRESENTER 2014 Wisconsin School Nursing Association annual conference
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2013 South Carolina Social Workers annual conference
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2012 IAEDP conference (with Jenni Schaefer and Doris Smeltzer) Charleston, SC
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2010-2016 NYU Silver School of Social Work, Common Day
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2011 – presenter in San Jose, California, in participation with Eating Disorder Recovery Center and Stanford University
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2011 Wisconsin School Counselors Association (WSCA) annual conference
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2011 University of Wisconsin, Madison
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2010 American Association of University Women
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2009 Employee Assistance Professional’s Association (EAPA) annual conference
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2007 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) annual conference
CONFERENCE PRESENTATION DETAIL
Anderson, C.N., Holody, K.J., Flynn, M.A., & Farrell, R.H. (November, 2015). “Strong mind, strong body. The Mental Fitness approach to eating disorder prevention.” Paper presented at the 101th Annual National Communication Association (NCA) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kim, N., Dempsey, M., Farrell, R.H., Vazzano, K., (November, 2015). “Creating Change and Raising Awareness: New Thoughts on Advocacy Efforts in Eating Disorders.” Data and findings presented at the 2015 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) annual conference in San Diego, California.
Farrell, R.H. (June – July, 2016; June-July, 2017). “Stress-Management and Mindfulness for Traumatized Children.” Data and evidence-based mindfulness techniques presented at Compassionate Schools Summer Summit, University of South Carolina – Upstate Child Advocacy Studies, SC.
Farrell, R.H. (October, 2016). “Stress-Management and Mindfulness for Traumatized Children.” Evidence-based techniques presented at South Carolina Association of School Social Workers Fall Conference in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
Farrell, R.H. (June, 2017). “Managing Serious Mental Illness and Eating Disorders in Schools.” Evidence-based strategies presented at SC Education and Business Symposium in Greenville, South Carolina.
Farrell, R.H. (July, 2017). “5 Minute Mindfulness Techniques for Classroom Setting” Evidence-based strategies presented to educators at Resiliency Summer Summit, University of South Carolina – Upstate Child Advocacy Studies, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Goebel, B., Farrell, R.H. (October, 2017). “Start:ME – Building Neighborhood Vitality through Small Business Development” Evidence-based strategies presented at Purposebuilt National Conference, Omaha, NE.
Dunleavy, K., Farrell, R.H., Overton, S. (November, 2017). “WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD: How direct engagement empowers communities & builds relationships” presenting data and findings about success with direct engagement using documentary style videos and direct community engagement at Southeastern Council of Foundations National Conference, Orlando, FL.
AUTHOR / RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS:
Author, Healthy Selfitude This book incorporates exercises that teach self- acceptance through performing arts and yoga techniques (for sale on Gurze Publications and Amazon.com), created in collaboration with Laura Lees, Psy.D., CEDS.
Author, Meditation & Mindfulness Guidebook for Eating Disorder Recovery. This workbook for psychotherapists and educators provides lesson plans, handouts and guidelines for safely holding yoga for recovery workshops (for sale on Amazon.com)
Author, Eating Disorders in Schools Blog. This national blog is published by Gurze Publications – the leader in eating disorders curricular materials.
Author, Editor, We Are The Real Deal Blog. The Real Deal blog site is an educational blog universe instructing today’s youths on body image, healthy coping, nutrition and self-esteem featuring more than 40 nationally acclaimed bloggers, researchers and writers. WINNER of #1 body image blog site, eating disorder prevention site 2009-12.
Co-Adaptor, NORMAL THE MUSICAL (2002 Jonathan Larson award-winner). Producer of 2005 world premiere in New York City with Transport Group Theatre Company. Re-named PRETTY TO THE BONE in 2013.
PUBLICATIONS / RESEARCH PROJECTS
Anderson, C., Holody, K., Flynn, M., & Hussa-Farrell, R. (2017): An exploratory evaluation of the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of the mental fitness disordered eating program in schools, Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention 2017 May-Jun;25(3):230-245. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2017.1289793.
Stoner, A., Fadel, N., Hussa-Farrell, R. (in process). Evaluation of “5 Minute Mindfulness” tools for school aged children and educators.
Collaborator with Kroshus, E., Sherman, R.T., Thompson, R.A., Sossin, K., & Austin, S.B. (2014). Gender difference in high school coaches’ knowledge, attitudes and communication about the female athlete triad. Eating Disorders, 22, 193-208.