Today we’re inviting you to meet Emily Pantalone, one of your Healthy Bytes’ team members! Emily works in the contracting department and has been instrumental in getting private practices set up with insurance companies. At Healthy Bytes, we can't get enough of her positive energy and ability to see patterns.
I love the Healthy Bytes mission because I am passionate about increasing access to wellness services for the general population. I have experienced the need for nutritional counseling myself, and was frustrated to find that it was not covered by my insurance company. I'm thrilled to be part of this dynamic and compassionate team, working to increase access to dietetic services by bridging the gap between dietitians, certified nutrition specialists and insurance companies.
Before joining the Healthy Bytes’ community, I worked as a full-time yoga instructor, focusing on pain and stress relief as well as trauma-informed yoga practices. I'm also a founder and the Managing Director of Feet on the Ground - a non-profit that offers trauma-informed yoga-inspired practices to increase education around trauma and build resilience in trauma-exposed populations. My work is informed by my educational background in post-conflict reconciliation and mental health - I graduated with a BA in International Relations from Tufts University and am studying to be a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, a type of therapist who uses body-based and mindfulness techniques to resolve trauma.
While it has been challenging to work within a mental health system that puts so little emphasis on treating mental health in an integrated and practicable way, it motivates me to think more strategically, listen more closely, and speak more passionately. I have also found that it prepared me for my work here at Healthy Bytes, navigating a complex insurance framework! Eventually I will be pursuing a PhD in Public Health, advocating for access to lesser-emphasized health services – such as mental health, basic physical wellness and nutritional counseling - in a global context.
Coming from an Italian family and working in the yoga field, I have my fair share of experience with food and health! I have found that my yoga practice encourages mindful eating and compassion towards my body. Much discussion around food and health has to do with looking a certain way. I believe the practice of mindful self-compassion is intrinsically linked to health and healthy eating. I don't believe you can effectively talk about changing eating habits without addressing thought patterns and mental biases that lead us to make the food choices that we make.
Working at Healthy Bytes is helping me grow in so many ways! Most importantly I'm learning what it's like to work in a community-driven environment, where everyone's opinions matter and there is a strong emphasis on working together to approach complex challenges. Increasing my ability to lead and participate in this kind of decision-making will enhance my ability to navigate a complex global health system in the long-term. I have also been pleasantly surprised to work in a community that encourages self-care as part of the culture. I have felt very welcomed by the team, and I'm looking forward to what this this journey has in store, and to helping all of you navigate insurance to improve access to healthcare for those in need of it!