The Most Important Voice—The Patient Voice Celebrating 10 Years of the Obesity Action Coalition

| July 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

A Message from Dr. Christopher Still

Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP, Co-Clinical Editor, Bariatric Times; Medical Director for the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, and Director for Geisinger Obesity Research Institute, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania. Dr. Still is also a board member of the Obesity Action Coalition, Tampa, Florida.

Dear Colleagues,
Throughout the past 10 years, the obesity medical community has seen significant growth in the area of treatment. From new medical devices to emerging pharmaceuticals, the field of obesity medicine has grown tremendously. We all have, and belong to, our respective societies that represent us on the front lines. However, there is a population that 10 years ago had no voice— the patient population.

Ten years ago, patients affected by the disease of obesity often found themselves lost in a sea of gimmicky products. One Internet search for “weight-loss” would return thousands of products promising over-the-top weight-loss results that, frankly, any medical professional would consider unsafe. Policy decisions were made on daily basis across the United States with very little concern for the individual. Weight bias ran rampant and was often the focus of jokes in entertainment, media, and more. Throughout time, all of this left individuals affected by obesity feeling frustrated, angry, and uncertain about where they could turn to learn more about obesity, find help, and more. They needed a voice. They needed a voice that would stand up for them on Capitol Hill and represent their interests as patients. They needed a voice that would say “no more!” in the face of weight bias. Today, they have that voice. They have more than 50,000 voices all standing strong. They have the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

As a founding National Board of Director Member of the OAC, I remember quite fondly when me, Robin Blackstone, MD, and Georgeann Mallory, RD, all got together with industry support and developed the plan for the OAC. We recognized that there was a great need for an organization that would stand up for individuals affected by obesity and represent them in every way possible.

With more than 50,000 members nationwide, it is my honor and pleasure to congratulate the OAC on its 10 year anniversary. I simply cannot believe that it has been 10 years since the OAC started. I remember hiring the OAC’s President and CEO, Joe Nadglowski, and thinking to myself “forming an organization like this is going to be a monumental task.” In a decade, the OAC has taken on some of the most high-profile issues to ever touch the obesity community, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stigmatizing billboard campaign that featured a woman affected by obesity and “Save the Whales” as the headline. They took on the state of Tennessee when BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee wanted to initiate IQ testing for anyone seeking bariatric surgery. They testified before the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the need of obesity medications. They’ve visited the White House to meet with the First Lady’s staff on childhood obesity. The list goes on and on and on. The OAC’s accomplishments are simply astounding. In recognition of its 10 year anniversary, the OAC is proud to unveil two unique opportunities for individuals to take part in to help the OAC move into the future with a strong unified voice.

Join the OAC—We Need Your Voice
For the remainder of 2015, the OAC is excited to offer all individuals, even healthcare professionals, the option to join or renew their membership in the OAC at a discounted rate of only $10!

“Becoming a member of the OAC is the single most important action that someone can take in the Coalition. Membership provides us with the resources and voices to make a difference in all areas of the OAC, such as weight bias, advocacy, education, support and more,” said Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman.

Donate to the OAC
In addition to the $10 Membership Campaign, the OAC is also proud to announce the establishment of the 10 Year Anniversary Fund. This Fund is the OAC’s first-ever dedicated fund that will directly benefit its general operating costs to carry out the OAC mission into the future. Through the 10 Year Anniversary Fund, the OAC is excited to provide the opportunity for individuals to give on a one-time basis, or set-up a recurring gift to easily support the OAC.

As a healthcare professional, the OAC also offers many other valuable opportunities for you. One of my favorite is the Sponsored Membership Program where you can purchase OAC memberships for your patients at a discounted rate. The OAC also hosts an annual meeting, the Your Weight Matters National Convention, which is an excellent opportunity for your patients to learn evidence-based information about weight, health, nutrition, exercise, stigma, treatment, and more.

The mission of the OAC is to elevate and empower individuals affected by the disease of obesity through education, advocacy, and support. I can proudly say that as an OAC Emeritus National Board Member, the OAC has continually fulfilled its mission throughout the past 10 years and will continue to do so for many years to come. The OAC is an organization made up of the most important voice—the patient voice. As healthcare professionals, we often become engrained in the science of it all, yet, we must always remember that the patient affected by obesity has most likely dealt with the disease, and its many related conditions, for their entire life. The OAC provides individuals with an opportunity to educate themselves and become proactive advocates for change.

Together, patients and healthcare professionals can truly make a difference.

I strongly encourage you to visit the OAC’s website today and learn more about their 10 year anniversary celebration and help us build momentum for the future! For more information on the OAC, please visit

Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP

Acknowledgment: Mr. James Zervios, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Obesity Action Coalition, assisted in writing this editorial message.

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