ASMBS News and Update—March 2011

| March 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

by Robin Blackstone, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Dr. Blackstone is President-Elect of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and Medical Director, Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Center, Scottsdale, Arizona.

FDA establishes a new benchmark for the treatment of class I obesity (BMI 30–35kg/m2)
ASMBS President, Dr. Bruce Wolfe, presented on behalf of the Society at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel hearing on expanding the indications for use of the Lap-Band® in patients with body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 35kg/m2 and one comorbid disease. Data clearly indicate that the mortality and morbidity from obesity begins at a BMI of 30 (Class I). The announcement on February 17, 2011, of FDA approval of the Lap-Band® in Class I obesity, represents the first time for a government body to acknowledge that early intervention should be available for patients with Class I obesity. The Clinical Issues committee, led by Chair, Stacy Brethauer, MD, has been working on a position statement regarding the procedures and devices for which the Society believes there is sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy to support using in patients with Class I obesity. Once approved by the ASMBS Executive Council, it will be published in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. Only devices require approval by the FDA. It is the responsibility of the Society to describe the data supporting the safe use of procedures in this same BMI group. The ruling will offer new hope to over 28 million people with Class I obesity.

ASMBS 28th Annual Meeting—June 12 to 17, 2011—Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida
A little magic down in Florida

The Program Committee, under the direction of Marc Bessler, MD, and Professional Education Subcommittee Chair, Ninh Nguyen, MD, organized what promises to be an enlightening and comprehensive educational offering for our 28th Annual Meeting. The meeting offers a vast range of programs for both surgeons and integrated health colleagues Sunday through Friday, with the new emerging technology event on Friday. The meeting will feature engaging and interactive symposia and hands-on labs. Members will be able to participate in interactive sessions by using their mobile devices. In the early part of the week, the Integrated Health Section Educational Committees, directed by Maureen Quigley, APRN, and Karen Schultz, RN, MSN, CBN, have organized substantial educational offerings. The preliminary program is available at: Please share the program with your colleagues and staff—come and bring your family to Orlando!

Nominations Task Force report
A survey of the membership offered great insight about the nominations process for leadership positions within the ASMBS. During the face-to-face winter meeting of the Executive Council (EC), these results were reviewed alongside recommendations for bylaws changes by the Nomination Task Force led by John Baker, Past President; and including Scott Shikora, Senior Past President and Nominations Committee Chair; Phil Schauer, MD, Past President of ASMBS; Wayne English, MD, Past President of Michigan ASMBS Chapter and Rural Provider in the Upper Peninsula; and Lloyd Stegemann, MD, Chair of the State Chapters Committee and Past President of the Texas ASMBS Chapter. These recommendations were reviewed and discussed at length by the EC, and Michael Hartney, the ASMBS attorney, formed them into the necessary bylaws changes. Once these bylaws changes have been reviewed again by the EC at their monthly teleconference, they will be sent to the membership for a vote. It is essential that all ASMBS members notify the ASMBS office of their current e-mail address or, if they are not digital, of their preferred method of voting. If the new nomination process passes, it will be used to select Members-at-Large of the EC, Secretary/Treasurer, and President-Elect for this year (June 2011 –June 2012).

Strategic Plan Implementation—ASMBS Committees
Over the last nine months, the ASMBS Committee Chairs/Co-Chairs and EC liaisons have been working to organize committee activities and goals to align all groups with the overall strategic plan of the Society. To facilitate that work, the ASMBS Executive Director, Georgeann Mallory, has realigned the ASMBS staff so that each committee has a dedicated staff person. The ASMBS IT department, headed by Richard Russ, has developed a website for committee communication— Through this website, ASMBS members can keep up with the latest committee projects by following their strategic plan implementation worksheet posted in the public area of the site. This site also provides each committee with a workspace to develop documents, post upcoming events, and a host of other resources. The theme for the upcoming year is to seek greater engagement and give enhanced value to the membership.

New Rural subcommitte being formed to identify unique concerns of rural bariatric programs
The EC has authorized the formation of a new Committee to monitor and oversee the standards of the ASMBS Center of Excellence (COE) program. As part of that effort, a subcommittee of rural program surgeons/medical directors is being formed to advise the ASMBS on unique aspects of rural bariatric practice. The first teleconference meeting will be held in late April or early May with a face-to-face meeting in June at the annual conference.

Inaugural Obesity Week—November 11 to 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia
The ASMBS and The Obesity Society (TOS) signed an agreement in 2010 to develop Obesity Week, the largest meeting of physicians, surgeons, research scientists, and integrated health teams focused on obesity. The annual ASMBS meeting will take place during Obesity Week beginning in November 2013. Each society will maintain a unique identity within the larger framework of Obesity Week. The education program will encompass the depth of the field of obesity. A Steering Committee and subcommittees have been developed jointly with our colleagues in TOS, and a meeting-management contract has been awarded. The annual meeting in San Diego, California, June 2012, will be the final June meeting of the ASMBS outside of Obesity Week.

Obesity Community to meet with FDA on March 22, 2011
On January 14, 2011, the ASMBS together with TOS, Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) issued a joint letter to FDA Administrator, Margaret Hamburg, regarding recent FDA activity surrounding review and approval of current and pending drugs to treat obesity. Specifically, the four groups expressed their concern over the perception by many obesity researchers that in reviewing and approving new obesity treatments, the FDA has set up daunting regulatory hurdles unlike those that new medications face for any other disease. In 2009/2010 three medications were brought before the FDA, and all were turned down based on concerns about side effects. In addition, Meridia was pulled from the market due to safety concerns. While the ASMBS has no specific scientific opinion on an individual medication, we support the evidence-based treatment of obesity across the continuum of care beginning at a BMI of 30kg/m2 (Class I) obesity. As a follow up to the January 14 letter, TOS, OAC, AACE, ASMBS, and the American Dietetic Association will meet with Janet Woodcock, MD, Director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research on March 22, 2011.

For more updates on advocacy work being done on behalf of the ASMBS, please see the ASMBS Potomac Currents Newsletter on our website at:

ASMBS Mission Statement
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery was founded in 1983 to establish educational and support programs for surgeons and integrated health professionals. Our mission is to improve the care and treatment of people with obesity and related disease; to advance the science and understanding of metabolic surgery; to advocate for health care policy that ensures patient access to high-quality prevention and treatment of obesity.
For more information, visit www.


Category: ASMBS News and Update, Past Articles

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