Interview #5: Daniel Herron, MD, FACS
Starting in 2013, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS) will co-locate their respective annual meetings under one roof. Obesity Week™ 2013 marks the beginning of an annual collaborative event addressing obesity—a chronic and multifaceted metabolic disease. Leading up to Obesity Week 2013, Bariatric Times will feature interviews with members of the leadership team involved in organizing this historic event. This month, we feature an interview with Dr. Daniel Herron, Program Co-Chair of ASMBS.
Bariatric Times. 2013;10(5):28–29.
Dr. Herron, thank you for taking the time to talk with us about Obesity Week. Please share with us how you became involved in bariatric surgery.
I was a resident of at Tufts Medical Center (which was called New England Medical Center at the time) in Boston, Massachusetts. They had a great bariatric program, so I got a very intensive introduction to bariatric surgery with Drs. Scott Shikora and Peter Benotti . I have vivid memories of assisting Dr. Shikora, as a chief resident, in his first several laparoscopic gastric bypass procedures. At that time, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery was the most challenging minimally invasive operation we could imagine—the Mount Everest of laparoscopic surgery. Beyond the technical challenges of the surgery, what appealed to me about bariatric surgery was seeing patients’ comorbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA,) and hypertension, improve or even vanish after bariatric surgery. It is a life-changing process and I felt it was a perfect place to be for a surgeon like myself who really wanted to help patients in a visible and dramatic way.
Please tell us about your role in the planning of this event.
I currently serve as Co-Chair if the Program Committee for the ASMBS. I have a history in meeting planning for other organizations as well. In 2010, I was the Program Chair for the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery. As ASMBS Program Co-chair, I work closely with Dr. Ninh Nguyen, who is currently ASMBS Program Chair and President-Elect. Next term, when Dr. Nguyen becomes ASMBS President, I will step up as ASMBS Program Chair. In planning Obesity Week, I am responsible for setting up the post-graduate courses while Dr. Nguyen manages plenary sessions. All of the sessions have to be planned far in advance. We keep on schedule during monthly conference calls, where we discuss what has been done and what still needs to be done. It is a huge undertaking and is now an even bigger job since we are interfacing with The Obesity Society to host Obesity Week.
How is the Board of Managers planning on appealing to all audiences during Obesity Week? Is there any overlap between sessions or events held by both organizations that you can tell us about?
While surgeons will most likely want to hear about surgery and members of integrated health will want to hear about topics most concerning to their profession, Obesity Week will offer sessions and events that appeal to all attendees. For instance, we are looking into having keynote speakers involved in national health decisions, which will bring everyone together. The post-graduate courses will focus on both surgery and integrated health, so there is sure to be a lot of parallel play and combined interaction.
Would you encourage attendees of Obesity Week to explore areas of the field in which they do not work (e.g., medical weight loss professionals attending sessions on surgical interventions?)
Absolutely. Obesity Week will be a tremendous opportunity for attendees to be exposed to a remarkable interdisciplinary faculty of international experts. I would encourage people to attend different sessions outside their specialty to learn as much as possible. Even though it might be scary to walk into a session on surgery if you are an internist, knowledge of other disciplines can help you better customize patient care. If a surgeon can use this meeting to gain a better understanding of medical interventions, he or she will be better equipped to understand and treat patients who might be better suited for non-surgical metabolic therapies and vice versa.
What is your hope for Obesity Week 2013?
My hope, and my expectation, is that it will be a huge success. I hope that it mirrors other successful interdisciplinary meetings of its kind like Digestive Diseases Week (DDW). I feel it is a great opportunity for everyone involved in treating obesity to get together and discuss what is going on in the field. I hope that it will raise internists’ awareness of surgery and vice versa. I also hope that is improves everyone’s understanding of the physiological causes and effects of obesity and its treatments. Ultimately, I hope that Obesity Week takes advantage of the synergy and overlap of disciplines, conserves resources, and brings minds together that are focused on the same thing—the prevention and treatment of obesity.
What would you say to encourage people to attend Obesity Week 2013?
It is going to be the first time in history where thousands of people from different obesity-related disciplines are side-by-side learning about and discussing surgical and medical interventions for metabolic disease and obesity. You just can’t miss it!
Dr. Herron, thank you again for speaking with us. We look forward to seeing you at Obesity Week 2013.
To learn more about Obesity Week 2013, please visit www.obesityweek.com.
Obesity Week Upcoming Dates and Venues
Obesity Week 2013
Obesity Week 2014
Obesity Week 2015
Los Angeles, California
A Reminder from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
The 30th Annual Meeting of the ASMBS will be moved to November 11–16, 2013 and will take place during Obesity Week in Atlanta, Georgia! We look forward to seeing you there!