about me


My husband and I are active in cocker rescue. Here, with Theo.

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. After college–a tricky educational adventure that included one expulsion, one hospitalization for anorexia, and three transfers to three colleges (one of which I attended twice, but not consecutively)–I moved to Tifton, Georgia to work in a halfway house for recovering addicts. A year later I returned to school for a graduate degree in clinical psychology. For 15 years I worked  as a therapist, a behavior specialist with developmentally disabled adults, and as a psychological examiner.

Jada, aka Miss America

In 1997, I left mental health to pursue art and writing full time (if you’re curious, head over to DanaShavinArt.com). In 2002, I landed a gig as a monthly columnist for the Lifestyle section of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which has brought me great joy and a loyal following. I’ve also been happy to find homes for a whole bunch of essays and articles about such diverse topics as recovery, fulfillment, work, home, life coaching, and all things dog. In 2011, I became a certified professional life coach. 

 My essays and articles have appeared in Oxford American, The Sun, The Writer, Writersdigest.com, Bark, Parade.com, Alaska Quarterly ReviewPuerto del SolFourth Genre, Third Coast, Hawaii Pacific Review, Willow Review,  Gravy (the newsletter of the Southern Food Alliance), Chatter, Edge business journaland numerous alternative health, arts, and entertainment newspapers. I have been a panelist and workshop presenter at Keystone College’s literary conference, The Gathering, and have spoken and read about recovery and issues of self-accceptance for the Eating Disorders Information Network, the Unitarian Universalist Church, Unity Church, The Jewish Cultural Center, the University of Tennessee, the Meacham Writers Workshop, and at various book clubs, writers groups , performance venues, and fundraisers.

I have been a guest-blogger for eating disorder specialists Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld, and for WritersDigest.com. I received a literary arts grant through the Lyndhurst Foundation in 2008. From 1994-96 I was a bi-monthly guest essayist on Chattanooga’s local NPR station. I am the editor of the Greater Chattanooga Jewish Federation newspaper, The Shofar. My columns for the Chattanooga Times Free Press appear every third Sunday of the month. 

My memoir, The Body Tourist, was published by Little Feather Books November 1, 2014. It is available from Amazon.com, locally in Chattanooga at Barnes and Noble and Star Line Books, and at all online venues. Want to read some reviews? Check out my NEWS page.