Debra is the Founder & President of the 501(c)3 Breaking The Chains Foundation (BTCF), a National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Network Co-Vice Chair, as well as an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Health Coach and Behavior Change Specialist.
After receiving a full-ride college dance scholarship to Oakland University in Michigan and there after a successful dance career, Debra became a leading health and fitness expert with clients such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), Sony, Warner Brothers and other Time Warner Entities as well as personal trainer to Hollywood elite. Debra has taught nationally in various prominent fitness facilities, including the Health & Fitness Director for RCCL. As an ACE Faculty member, she designed & taught her workshops/seminars to other fitness professionals. Inspired by dance and it’s healing elements, Debra founded BTCF whose work is committed to providing unique innovative programming with purpose, passion and personal story using all forms of art to unmask the stigma around eating disorders, body-image relationships and related internal struggles by empowering over all mental health and wellness as well as strengthen the links of prevention and recovery.
Recently, Debra was the guest speaker for a live 90 minute virtual presentation for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Eastside titled, “Keep Hope is Alive: Choosing Life Over an Eating Disorder. Under the leadership of Hopkins, BTCF was the first ever eating disorder platform to present at the 4th annual 2019 World Wide Women Girl’s Festival at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California whereas in addition to sharing a wide range of their programming, she also provided her expertise on the Arts & Entertainment Career Mentoring Panel. As a guest speaker, she has presented at Warner Brothers Studios, Sony, Rancho La Puerta, among many others. In addition, she shared her personal story building hope, healing, and engagement around eating disorders at the 2018 Los Angeles Iaedp (international Association of Eating Disorders Professionals) Gala.
Debra is also an award-winning /writer/director/actress, with such projects as Chained and Bound, Call Box, Finding Alice, & Passing Darkness. She is a co-creator of the 4-part Sci-Fi Supernatural Saga book series, Afterlife from Zimbell House Publishing with the first book release in February 2020.
From personal experience, Debra believes eating disorder recovery is possible and achievable aiding in a journey that feels alive, heart-felt and creative! She continues to work with her board and others in changing the stigma attached to eating disorders and mental health by changing the conversation so that recovery and self-discovery are always in sight, heart, & mind!
Debra is married over 20 years with two sons.