Countdown to Obesity Week 2013

| September 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Interview #8:
Martin Binks, PhD, FTOS

Bariatric Times. 2013;10(9):20–21.

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 Dr. Martin Binks, Chair of the Obesity Week Marketing Subcommittee.

Dr. Binks, thank you for taking the time to talk with us about Obesity Week. Please begin by explaining the marketing strategy for Obesity Week. What was the Marketing Subcommittee’s role in it?
The Obesity Week™ Marketing Subcommittee was responsible early on for spearheading the messaging of the event, which included development of the logo and tagline, “Where Science and Treatment Meet.” This messaging has remained consistent in marketing of the event.

Was it challenging to market the large event of Obesity Week while still maintaining the individual identies and meetings of ASMBS and TOS? How did the committee handle it?
We had to consider the sensitivies involved in bringing two orginizations together. We were striving to maintain and represent the individual cultures of ASMBS and TOS under the larger unbrella of Obesity Week. First, we made a conscious decision not to use the word “combine” in our messaging. Instead, we have used “co-locate,” which speaks true to what Obesity Week has done. It has taken both meetings and co-located them to one place. We knew that it was important that people come to Obesity Week and still see and recognize the indiviual, intimate meetings of the ASMBS and TOS they know and love.

The goal in planning Obesity Week was to meet the needs of each organization (e.g., maintaining traditiions) while planning new offerings. The Programming Committee largely considered this need while delvoping the meeting programming. For instance, the high-interest, shared topics and key-note speaker events are scheduled so that there are no competing events, so every attendee can go to them. We have tried to coordinate the schedules so attendees can maximize their experience.

The field has grown so much that we need to bring these societies together to maximize knowledge and understanding.

How might attendees benefit from having two meetings in one place?
Historically the various clinical and surgical disciplines often suffered from a lack of ideal communication and mutual understanding. Obesity treatment starts with basic science, which translates to medical and/or surgical intervention, follow-up care,  and on to public health initiatives. It is what I call “bench to bedside and beyond.” During Obesity Week, obesity medicine specialists, surgeons, scientists, and integrated health professionals will all learn from each other. I am passionate and believe in the importance of ongoing and regular communications between these two societies and their members through Obesity Week. Attendees will benefit from shared experiences—shared exhibit hall, shared social events and networking, and shared space for displaying scientific posters. Some of the best collaboration happens outside of the scientific sessions (e.g., social events, coffee breaks, standing around a poster). I think that when you gather people together, they cannot help but talk. Obesity Week will be the platform for people to collaborate.

Has Obesity Week created the sort of buzz the committee was expecting?
I could have never predicted the amount of partners we have acquired and the general buzz surrounding Obesity Week. It appears that everyone wants to be a part of it. Partners include the following: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Heart Association/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism (AHA/NPAM), Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), and American Psychological Association (APA) and many more have endorsed the meeting. I feel that the role of these partner organizations and their collaboration with us can grow through Obesity Week.

Has the amount of attendees registered to attend met your goals thus far?
We are on track with attendance goals. I think we will be seeing attendance rise in the coming weeks. It’s always exciting to see those numbers continue to climb both before and during the meeting! Its never too late to decide to come!

Have you been instrumental in marketing strategies to increase awareness of obesity prevention and treatment to the public?
Yes, through a wide range of multimedia outreach, myself and many key members of the ObesityWeek Board of Managers have been very active in spreading the word. One goal was to increase public awareness of the event and the organizations. ASMBS and TOS might be the primary organizations currently studying obesity, but the public may not know who they are. The public includes not only healthcare professionals but also public health officials, politicians, companies, and any number of people who can support us in our mission to end obesity. We are trying to reach everyone with the message of obesity prevention and treatment. There is power in name recognition and media coverage. The size of Obesity Week makes it a destination for the media and public policy officials. This creates a voice and platform bigger than we could have achieved on our own.

Do you think the timing of the American Medical Association’s declaration of Obesity as a disease has helped attract more interest in Obesity Week?
The designation of obesity as a disease has helped in that it has provided a legitimacy for prevention and treatment in the public eye. It has prompted people to ask, “Now that obesity is considered a disease, what are we going to do about it?” Like any other medical condition obesity deserves inclusion in health plans and compassion from both the public and healthcare providers. I think that this is the message of Obesity Week 2013. We will strive to present a united approach to battling the obesity epidemic and all of its contributors.

Dr. Binks, 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

Obesity Week Upcoming Dates and Venues
Obesity Week 2013
Atlanta, Georgia
November 11–16

Obesity Week 2014
Boston, Massachusetts
November 2–7
Obesity Week 2015
Los Angeles, California
November 1–7

Author Affiliation
Martin Binks PhD, FTOS, is Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University. He is a clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral medicine and obesity research. He has authored many research publications and the book The Duke Diet.
Dr. Binks is a Fellow of the national scientific organization The Obesity Society (TOS) and is active in, several leadership positions including Secretary Treasurer elect (Nov 2013). He is a contributor to the Treat Obesity Seriously campaign and is on the Board of Managers for Obesity Week™. Martin is a member of The International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) serving as a Fellow on their SCOPE Education and Management Task Force and is a member of the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery (ASMBS). Martin has also been a contributor with the Army National Guard Decade of Health and Wounded Warriors programs and currently serves on the advisory board for the Spark America campaign.

Category: Interviews, Past Articles

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