The American Society of Bariatric Physicians: Growth and Change

| October 16, 2012

by David A. Bryman, DO

Dr. Bryman is the 2011-2013 president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and maintains his own obesity treatment clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. He also is an adjunct clinical professor at the Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, Arizona.Funding: No funding was provided for this article.

Financial disclosures: Dr. Bryman reports no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.

Bariatric Times. 2012;9(10):16–17

ASBP Mission Statement
The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) was formed in 1950 and exists to advance and support the physician’s role in treating patients affected by obesity and associated conditions. It is a national professional medical specialty society of more than 1,600 physicians and allied clinicians. The ASBP establishes and maintains practice guidelines and provides education to members, the healthcare community and the public. Throughout its more than 60 years of supporting the physician’s role in treating obesity, ASBP has earned a reputation for being the primary source for obesity medicine specialists seeking education, networking opportunities and practice resources. The society is now experiencing a time of rapid growth and exciting changes.

Setting Standards
To ensure that a high level of obesity treatment and practice standards are maintained, ASBP requires physician members to earn 15 hours of continuing medical education (CME) in obesity medicine every two years. Furthermore, the ASBP Bariatric Practice Guidelines provide a framework to help ensure a high standard of medical practice. The guidelines are available on www.asbp.org.

Physician members of ASBP are requested to sign a Bariatric Practice Guidelines Oath and renew this commitment annually. ASBP offers a website resource for patients seeking obesity treatment physicians, and members who have signed the oath are highlighted in these listings.

Educating Practitioners
As an American Council for Continuing Medical Education-accredited provider, ASBP offers CME programs that expose its members to cutting-edge technology in the medical obesity treatment field and enable them to design effective treatment programs for their patients. More than 500 obesity medicine specialists attend each of ASBP’s biannual conferences, and the demand for obesity medicine-focused CME continues to grow.

In response to this demand, especially as it relates to the uniquely historical relationship ASBP has in supporting obesity medicine certification, ASBP added a new certification review course to assist physicians preparing for the American Board of Obesity Medicine exam. The review course is part of the upcoming ASBP 62nd Annual Obesity and Associated Conditions Symposium in Orlando, Florida, October 24 to 28, 2012.

The society has also increased its annual number of dates and locations for the introductory CME course, Obesity Basic Medical Treatment. The ASBP will offer the course in January 2013 as part of the Missouri Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians’ winter scientific seminar. Additionally, ASBP has experienced extensive enrollment growth in its advanced curriculum program, which provides healthcare providers a deeper understanding of obesity and its associated conditions through approximately 50 online instructional modules.

Growing Our Knowledge Base
In March 2012, ASBP released an updated edition of its Prescribing Practices Survey and received more than 450 responses. The initial data was presented as a research poster during the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Lyon, France, where ASBP also hosted an informational exhibit.

The majority of obesity medicine specialist respondents indicated that they employ medications in conjunction with lifestyle intervention to promote weight loss in their patients. The most frequently prescribed medications were reported as phentermine, metformin, and diethylpropion. The drug combinations of either phentermine and metformin or phentermine and topiramate were noted as the most commonly prescribed, and most physicians prescribed medications for as long as themselves and their patients felt it was effective.

With the addition of a new doctorate membership category, ASBP is positioned to continue its growth on the research front by offering more opportunities for these individuals to share their knowledge. During the upcoming ASBP symposium in Orlando, Florida, research posters and presentations will be shared with attendees.

International Outreach
ASBP launched an international outreach initiative in 2011 and formed a committee to work on advancing efforts in this area. As a result, in addition to the society’s aforementioned presence at ECO, it added a new international membership category, hosted representatives from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) during the ASBP 2012 Obesity Conference, and developed a presentation exchange with several international speakers. Most recently, ASBP Vice President and International Committee Chairperson Deborah Bade Horn, DO, MPH, MS, taught a session during the IASO’s Specialist Certification in Obesity Professional Education Summer School in Cambridge, England. During the session, Dr. Horn taught the basics of patient-centered physical activity, which will be featured in an IASO learning module.

Advocacy and Collaboration
ASBP is dedicated to informing and educating the public and key decision makers about advocacy related to obesity treatment. ASBP was at the forefront of efforts this year to reaffirm its members’ interest in new obesity drug treatments and the importance of providing these options to patients affected by obesity. For the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) meetings on both Qysmia and Belviq, ASBP submitted written reports and Past-President Denise Bruner, M.D, FASBP, made oral presentations on the society’s behalf. Furthermore, ASBP Board of Trustees Ex-Officio member, Ed Hendricks, MD, FASBP, was appointed earlier this year to the FDA EMDAC.

In addition to its more than 10 years of membership in the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, ASBP strives to develop and maintain collaborative relationships with organizations dedicated specifically to the treatment of patients affected by obesity. To that end, in 2012 ASBP joined the Obesity Action Coalition Chairman’s Council and partnered with the organization to provide OAC membership as a new member benefit of ASBP, which creates a stronger voice for obesity. ASBP worked closely in recent months with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to applaud the US FDA for approving Qsymia as a new obesity treatment medication. ASBP also joined ASMBS, OAC, The Obesity Society, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to formally urge numerous states to consider the need for obesity treatment when selecting a benchmark plan for defining the scope of individual essential health benefits packages for health exchange plans.

To learn more about the ASBP, please visit http://www.asbp.org/.

Category: Medical Methods in Obesity Treatment, Past Articles

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