Karen Flanders, MSN, CBN, NP-C
Bariatric Times. 2013;10(6):24–25.
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 Karen Flanders, Chair of the Integrated Health Professional Education Committee.
Ms. Flanders, thank you for taking the time to talk with us about Obesity Week. Please tell us what your role in the metabolic and bariatric surgery program and where you currently work.
I am the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator and Nurse Practitioner at Winchester Hospital in Winchester, Massachusetts. As the coordinator, I ensure that the program meets and/or exceeds the necessary requirements to maintain the Center of Excellence designation, which will soon change to accreditation under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). As a nurse practitioner, I work in collaboration with the surgeons to provide in-patient care for postoperative bariatric surgery patients. My experience includes over 13 years of in-patient and out-patient care working with nine surgeons in three different programs, both academic and community based. This variety in practice has given me a more complete view of the patient experience.
Please tell us about your role and the role of the Integrated Health Professional Education committee in the planning of this event.
I am the Chair of the Integrated Health Professional Education committee and work very closely with a highly educated and dedicated group of integrated health members of ASMBS. As a committee, we meet via phone, e-mail, and webinex to discuss Obesity Week and topics that will appeal to the multiple disciplines within integrated health. We have reviewed the evaluations and comments other members have made to develop what I believe will be a very dynamic educational event with diverse symposium offerings.
What are the changes to Obesity Week for Integrated Health compared to the traditional ASMBS annual conference?
There are going to be several changes to the format for Integrated Health—but good changes. The preconference will have three sessions of Behavioral Health and two sessions of Nutrition, as well as the Certified Bariatric Nurse Review course. This year there will not be a collaborative gastric band course with the surgeons as in years past, but rather a Gastric Band Adjustment course to compliment the recent guidelines that were developed by the Integrated Health Clinical Issues and Guidelines committee. There will continue to be several collaborative courses—in fact I believe the number of collaborative courses has increased compared to years past. New this year for Integrated Health will be Round Table discussions. The IH Main Session will no longer exist as a preconference offering, but instead will be incorporated as several symposiums within the scientific session of Obesity Week, and will continue to include 7 to 8 of the Integrated Health abstracts of the Main Session. In addition, professional networking groups for the various disciplines will still have the opportunity to meet.
What is so special about the new format?
The new format will feature symposiums for Integrated Health during the scientific session as well as preconference courses specific to Integrated Health and in collaboration with the surgeons. One of the best features of the new format is the opportunity for members to pick and choose which session(s) they would like to attend—whether it is an Integrated Health offering, surgeon offering, or an offering through TOS. Another unique feature to this format is the collaboration of all members of the multidisciplinary team to participate in the various symposiums; which will hopefully appeal to many.
What would you say to encourage members of integrated health to attend Obesity Week 2013?
I would like to invite all integrated health members to come to Obesity Week and see all of the educational opportunities available to them. Obesity Week is a comprehensive conference combining the medical and surgical science and treatment options for obesity all under one roof. Attendees can each pick and choose which session(s)best suites their educational and professional needs..
Ms. Flanders, 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
1. Davis P, West-Smith L, Baldwin LL, Gastric band adjustment credentialing guidelines for physician extenders. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2012;8(6):e69–71. Epub 2012 Sep 21.