Rise to the Challenge: Obesity Action Coalition Advances Education Agenda with Evidence-based National Patient Conference

| June 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rise to the Challenge: OAC’s 2nd Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention: August 15–18, 2013 • Arizona Grand Resort & Spa • Phoenix, Arizona

by Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS

Bariatric Times. 2013;10(6):19.

Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS, is a private practice bariatric surgeon in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is the driving force behind the Texas Weight-loss Surgery Summit and the formation of the Texas Association of Bariatric Surgeons. Dr. Stegemann is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, OAC National Board of Directors, Co-chair of the Convention Program Agenda Subcommittee and is Chair of the OAC Sponsored Membership Program.

FUNDING: No funding was provided.

DISCLOSURES: Dr. Stegemann is on the Obesity Action Coalition’s Board of Directors.

For those who have been involved with Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery for any length of time, there is an understanding that the surgical procedures we perform are but the first step to getting our patients back to a healthier state. How many times have you said, “It’s just a tool,” to your patients? We have all seen the patient who has had a technically successful operation and loses a significant amount of weight only to regain the weight down the road. In my practice, I have noticed that what my patients lack from the beginning is a general understanding of the disease of obesity. I ask every patient I see, “Why do you think you struggle with your weight?” I encourage you to do this, as I think you will be surprised at the responses you get back.
Our understanding of the disease of obesity has evolved tremendously throughout the past 10 years. The science behind the obesity epidemic is growing daily as we gain a clearer understanding of the role genetics, environment, and individual behavior play in disrupting our body’s weight regulation ability. I truly believe the best way to create long-term success in our patients is to share this “manual” of knowledge with them that allows them to properly use their “tool” for the rest of their life. If we are ever to get in front of the obesity epidemic, we also need to share this information with those who are at the earliest stages of the disease of obesity in an effort to halt progression to the point where surgery is really the only viable option.
I have often said to many of my colleagues that I wish I could expose my patients, and all those that struggle with obesity, to the ground-breaking research and education we have access to every day as surgeons, but at a level they would easily understand. Unfortunately, the national patient-directed conferences I have seen to this point have not adequately addressed the needs of my patients to the point that I felt comfortable promoting them. I am a surgeon. If it doesn’t exist and I need it, well then, I’ll just create it. Or, at least I’ll ask the right people to create it.
Thanks to the dedicated work of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), and its Your Weight Matters National Convention, we now have a comprehensive, patient-directed, evidence-based, socially engaging conference to which we can send our patients.
The Your Weight Matters National Convention will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, August 15 to 18, 2013. As Program Co-chair of this National meeting, I, along with Dr. Robert Kushner, have put together an incredible speaker line-up to address the topics that are most important to our patients. We took great pains to invite speakers who were not only considered national experts, but who could deliver their expertise in a practical, understandable, and relatable manner. To view the complete agenda along with speaker information for the OAC’s 2013 Your Weight Matters National Convention, please visit www.YWMConvention.com.
What sets this three-day patient-focused meeting apart from others is our overall philosophy to provide multidisciplinary, evidence-based education with an emphasis on giving attendees practical advice that they can immediately implement in their lives to promote long-term success.
What has surprised me the most out of this entire experience building our national patient event is the sense of community that this meeting brings. There is no doubt that our patients are most interested in connecting with one another and hearing each other’s successes, frustrations, challenges, and triumphs. The sense of empowerment that resonates with our attendees is inspiring. You simply cannot find a better place to send your patients to join a community of support than the OAC’s National Convention.
I would like to personally ask each and every one of you to inform your patients about the OAC’s National Convention and encourage them to attend. Your first instinct may be that your patients will not be willing to travel or the event will be cost prohibitive for them. Last year the conference attracted attendees from 34 states across the country, spanning Alaska to Florida. We have worked incredibly hard to keep the meeting affordable on many fronts for the attendee, and the feedback we have received from previous attendees is that it was “worth every penny.” We find that patients leave the OAC’s Convention with a sense of renewal and a gratitude for the long-term investment they have made into ensuring their success as a bariatric surgery patient.
As a physician, you can help in making this year’s Convention another ground-breaking event for our patients in the following ways:
•    Tell your patients about this year’s convention and encourage them to attend. Announce it in support group, give handouts in your clinic, send out an e-mail, put it on your practice’s Facebook page, or send it out on Twitter. However you disseminate information to your patients, please let them know about the conference. If they do not know about it, they can’t make the decision to attend.
•    Consider sponsoring some of your patients to attend the convention. Last year, physicians sponsored patients to attend and the gratitude from the attendees was astounding. You could even engage your patients in support group by raffling off a paid trip to the OAC’s convention.
•    Send your staff to attend the convention, or attend yourself. We do offer up to 14 hours of CE Credit for nurses and some health professionals.

To give your patients a closer look at the convention, we invite you to share our introductory video hosted on www.YWMConvention.com. This is also a great video to play in your support group and is the best way to allow your patients to listen to first-hand experiences from our convention that has been labeled a “life-changing” event by many.
For complete information about the OAC’s 2013 Your Weight Matters National Convention, please visit www.YWMConvention.com.

Category: Past Articles, Symposium Preview

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