Michigan Bariatric Society 12th Annual Meeting

The Michigan Bariatric Society, the state chapter of the ASMBS,  held their annual medical conference October 3, 2019, in Traverse City.   This year the speakers included both surgeons and allied health care professionals in the field of weight loss surgery.   The prime organizer of the event was vice president Dr. Oliver Varban, University of Michgan,  along with Treasurer Dr. Mindy Lane of Sparrow and president Dr. David Chengelis, of Beaumont Health. 

Dr. Michael Wood, of the Detroit Medical Center spoke to the conference about the history of bariatric surgery.  Dr. Wood has worked tirelessly as one of the early pioneers in this field and gave a thoughtful perspective on its future as well.   Dr. Teresa LaMasters, a bariatric surgeon from Unity Point Clinic in Iowa spoke about the complex metabolic and genetic pathways that afflict the morbidly obese.  She is a part of groundbreaking work that should break the judgement stigma that people who suffer from morbid obesity are somehow to blame.    Dr. Philip Omotosho of Rush University spoke about weight regain after initially successful weight loss and the factors that make keeping weight off a complex reality.   His work also makes it clear that there is much to the phenomena of obesity than just excess eating.   Dr. Amy Rothberg of the University of Michigan spoke about the role research has in shaping current treatments in obesity.   She too is doing leading edge work to combat this chronic illness of morbid obesity.    Kasey Goodpaster, PhD,  from the Cleveland Clinic discussed the importance of identifying and treating eating disorders before and after metabolic surgery.  She has rapidly become one of the most sought after public speakers in the field.    The Keynote address was given by the national president of the ASMBS, Dr. Eric DeMaria, of East Carolina University.   Dr. DeMaria has been involved in bariatric surgery for over four decades and in one of the founders of modern bariatric surgery.   He reviewed the current agenda of the society and its accomplishments this past year.  One issue is to increase awareness that surgery is the most effective treatment of obesity.  Tragically,  only 1% of those who suffer from morbid obesity ever choose have bariatric surgery.  Studies have also shown bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment and can cure diabetes.  Work with endocrine societies and the insurance industry is underway to help create avenues to make those who treat diabetes aware and refer patients for surgery.    The afternoon session featured three more speakers.  Colleen Tewksbury, PhD explored the current requirements to have pre operative waiting periods with medical dieting.  Studies have shown no real benefit to the patient vs doing surgery as quickly as possible to treat obesity both in short and long term results.    Dr. Thomas Tsai,  from  Harvard Medical School,  reviewed the current movement  for bundled payments and its implication for bariatric surgery.   Dr Joe Northup, from Cincinnati,  is very active in advocacy, both at the state and federal goverment level and with insurance companies.  He had some very interesting thoughts regarding the future coverage of bariatric surgery.
 
After the meeting concluded,  the members participated in a Walk From Obesity fundraising event for the ASMBS Foundation.  Several people walked and several sponsors were present making the event a huge success.   Dr. Nabeel Obeid, a bariatric surgeon from the University of Michigan was the prime organizer of the event.  Funds raised go to the ASMBS Foundation which plays an vital role in the fight against morbid obesity.  
 
The following day, at the same venue,  the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative met to as it does every 4 months to review its data and initiatives.  This organization is a joint venture between the bariatric surgeons of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to improve the safety and results of bariatric surgery in the state.  Starting in 2006,  this collaborative effort has served as an example to the nation that a common goal can lead to cooperation and real impact upon health care.  Without question,  this organization has saved lives through knowledge.   Current projects discussed included decreasing use of opiates after surgery which has indeed taken place with the guidance of the collaborative and finding ways to decrease post operative emergency room visits.   The collaborative will meet again in February, 2020.    
 
Author
Dr. David Chengelis

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