New Series! American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery State Chapter Spotlight
This column is dedicated to providing the history of and updates on the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery State Chapters.
This Month: Illinois Association of Bariatric Surgeons
by Vafa Shayani, MD, FACS, FASMBS, State Chapter President
Dr. Shayani is Chairman, Department of Surgery; Bariatric Medical Director, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Bolingbrook, Illinois, United States
Since its launch in 2006, the Illinois Association of Bariatric Surgeons (IABS), which is the Illinois state chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery(ASMBS), has stayed true to the values highlighted by its mission statement:
“To promote clinical excellence and best industry standards of practice among all providers of obesity management through training and education of physicians, payers, and the public.”
The IABS started out as a small group of surgeons who met once a year at a local restaurant and has grown to an organization with nearly 100 dues-paying members. Currently, the IABS hosts two well-attended annual meetings and two gatherings during the ASMBS annual events. Our Spring meetings have been held in different corners of our state to allow for easier participation by members from different areas within the state of Illinois, and our Fall meetings have grown too. This year, we will host the 4th Annual Midwest Bariatric Summit on September 22 to 23, 2016, at The Gleacher Center in Chicago. This meeting comprises 1.25 days of presentations, including speakers and attendees from 11 surrounding Midwestern states, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. It will feature two guest speakers: Dr. Stacy Brethauer, President Elect of ASMBS, will deliver the keynote address, and Dr. Rachel Moore, Executive Council Member of ASMBS will offer her thoughts on the main theme for the summit which is “Bariatric Surgery: One and Done or Series of Interventions?”
The meeting also offers attendees opportunity to earn “bariatric specific” continuing education credits.
The IABS Board of Directors comprises eight members that meet regularly to discuss important issues that matter to the membership and to our patients. Our integrated health chairperson is an integral member of the Board of Directors, representing the interests of the many integrated health members of the association. The Board of Directors and the membership are represented by a healthy mix of academic and community practitioners, allowing for diversity in opinion and leadership.
IABS is proud of its unbiased partnership with the many members of the bariatric industry, offering them a voice in the fight against prejudice toward obesity, while providing them with the opportunity and an appropriate venue to introduce the newest innovations in the field of bariatric surgery.
Among its many accomplishments, in 2012, the IABS led the way in the successful fight to remove the requirement for the six-month medically supervised preoperative weight loss imposed by the largest insurance carrier for the state of Illinois and four other states (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Montana). This victory led to a much simpler path for the patients who were in desperate need for necessary bariatric surgical interventions.
Illinois State Obesity Profile
The State Chapters page on the ASMBS website contains Essential Health Benefits Advocacy Toolkits by state. These toolkits include contact information for key policymakers as well as helpful obesity fact sheets developed by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). This infographic contains fast facts on obesity in Illinois. The data is from a 2013 report titled F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013, a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In 2013, Illinois was ranked 24th among 51 states in adult obesity prevalence. Since then, proceeding reports have demonstrated fluctuations—Illinois ranked 25th in 2014, 29th in 2015, and, just recently was ranked 18th in The State of Obesity 2016 issue report.
The current adult obesity rate is 30.8 percent, up from 20.4 percent in 2000, and 36.1 percent of those individuals are 45 to 64 years old. Obesity rate by gender is divided evenly at 28 percent female and 28.2 percent male.
According to National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) 2011 Data, 19.3 percent of children (aged 6 to 17) in Illinois have obesity; it ranks ninth among the other states. The state has enacted various policies to help prevent and control the obesity epidemic among children in adolescents. For instance, we have enacted legislation to recommend flexible breakfast delivery programs and body mas index (BMI) screening requirements in schools. Additionally, the Illinois Food Marketing Task started the The Illinois Fresh Food (IFF) Fund, a statewide grocery financing program designed to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Illinois.
As bariatric surgeons and care providers, our constituents fully appreciate the role of obesity prevention in our long-term fight against the epidemic of obesity. We applaud our First Lady, Michelle Obama, for her courage in taking on the enormous task of educating the public about obesity prevention and add our support to the work that ASMBS does, in promoting the same, throughout the communities around the country. It is our hope that over the next few years, our association will increase its involvement with other major local and regional organizations, such as Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity, in our collective fight against this chronic disease.
Although many surgeons successfully practice bariatric surgery as a part-time job, for many of us, bariatric intervention is a full-time commitment. Caring for bariatric patients, educating non-surgical colleagues about new innovations in the field of bariatric surgery, outreach to our local communities, and assuming important roles in our national society and state chapter often leaves little room for other healthcare activities. Over the next few months, the members of IABS will be busy sharing ideas at the upcoming Midwest Summit in Chicago, which is followed by the annual Obesity Week in New Orleans. By providing high-quality educational programs for surgeons, non-surgeon physicians, and affiliated health members of our community, and by tackling major local and regional issues (including the never ending battle over access to care), we hope to continue to grow our membership and strengthen our voice in the world of bariatric medicine.
Dr. Shayani would like to thank the ASMBS State and Local Chapters Committee Chair Christopher Joyce, MD FASMBS, and Co-Chair Rachel L. Moore, MD, FACS, FASMBS, for their help in producing this article.
1. Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future. 2013. http://healthyamericans.org/assets/files/TFAH2013FasInFatReportFinal%209.9.pdf Accessed September 1, 2016.
FUNDING: No funding was provided for this article.
DISCLOSURES: The author reports no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.
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