Reflecting on My Term as ASMBS President, Updates from the Society, and Remembering Ronald “Ronnie” H. Clements, MD

| May 1, 2017

A Message from Dr. Raul J. Rosenthal

Raul J. Rosenthal, MD, FACS, FASMBS, Clinical Editor,
Bariatric Times; Professor of Surgery and Chairman, Department of General Surgery; Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery and The Bariatric and Metabolic Institute; General Surgery Residency Program Director; and Director, Fellowship in MIS and Bariatric Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston, Florida


Dear Friends and Readers,
Welcome to this new and special edition of BT.

This month, we feature my American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) exit interview. I am grateful to BT for allowing me to express my appreciation to the ASMBS membership and highlight achievements during my term as President of the society. I am also appreciative to Bob Dougherty, President of Matrix Medical Communications, who invited me to help develop Bariatric Times, 14 years ago. I love being a part of this journal that I believe we all cherish so much.

In this issue of BT we provide an update from ASMBS Integrated Health President Karen Flanders, MSN, CNP, CBN. She highlights the latest happening within ASMBS IH, including an increased social media prescence via the Twitter account @ASMBSIH and two webinars, and provides a comprehensive update on past and upcoming initiatives.

John D. Scott, MD, who serves as chair of the ASMBS Access Committee, and Natalie Heidrich explain the process and phenomenal work in South Carolina by a collaborative that included physicians, industry consultants, medical devices stakeholders, societies, and patients to improve access and get the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to expand program coverage for bariatric surgery to include sleeve gastrectomy for South Carolinians with fee-for-service Medicaid benefits.

The ASMBS has been working on an important initiative—increasing communication with membership and creating awareness. Haris A. Khwaja, MD, DPhil., FRCS, and
Richard M. Peterson, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS, have done a monumental job leading the social media campaign for Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD) and help develop what has become an extremely successful SOARD Journal Club. This month, we highlight this online forum, which is broadcast through the social media platform Facebook, its 2016 discussions, and future directions. Congratulations to Harris and Rich on the success of the club.

Also in this issue, Wayne J. English, MD, FACS et al commemorate the loss of our colleague and dear friend, Ronald “Ronnie” H. Clements, MD, who passed on January 19, 2017. I followed Ronnie’s fight for survival very closely and talked to him on the phone frequently. I was always impressed with Ronnie’s courage and attitude toward life and death and his endless love for his family and God. It was because of his family and faith that Ronnie was prepared to face loss.

In his book titled, Man’s Search for Meaning, author Viktor Frankl talks about what is important in life for us humans. He explains that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure (Freud’s school of thought) nor is it a quest for power (Adler’s school of thought), but it is rather a quest for meaning. The greatest task for a person is to find meaning in his/her life. Frankl states that there are three sources of finding meaning in life: at work, by doing something significant, in love by caring for others, and in suffering when facing struggle and difficult situations. Dr. Ronnie Clements excelled in all three of these scenarios—at work because he was an outstanding surgeon, leader, and physician who cared for his patients; in love because he was a devoted father and husband who loved his family more than anything and had faith in God; and, importantly, during times of suffering and struggle. He showed us that suffering is meaningless unless we give suffering a meaning in how we respond to it. Ronnie faced death and suffering guided by the same principles he used to face life, love, and work. I want to thank Dr. Wayne English and his partners for their beautiful contribution in memoriam to Ronnie. He will be missed greatly by all of us.

Sincerely,

Raul J. Rosenthal, MD, FACS, FASMBS

References
1.    Frankl VE. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2006.

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