Silver Spring, MD, June 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Obesity Society and the Obesity Medicine Association announce the establishment of the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Development Program, a new collaborative effort to increase the number of physicians with specialized training in the care and treatment of patients with obesity and its complications. 

The Fellowship Development Program is supported by an educational grant from Novo Nordisk and will provide administrative and financial support for the development of new subspecialty fellowship training programs for MDs and DOs pursuing a career in obesity medicine. It will also provide guidance in the organization and management of these programs, including the development of curricular and competency standards, training experiences, faculty expertise, and fellow assessment. The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) is providing support for the program through an in-kind donation of administrative support and expertise.

“In line with Novo Nordisk’s long-term commitment to changing how obesity is recognized and treated in the U.S., we are pleased to support the development of the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Development Program,” said Todd Hobbs, MD, vice president and U.S. chief medical officer, Novo Nordisk. “The development of this education initiative is a critical step towards delivering effective and comprehensive treatment to improve the lives of people with obesity.”

 The rates of obesity have skyrocketed over the past generation, with nearly 40% of adults and 20% of children with this disorder. Obesity now accounts for almost $300 billion in healthcare costs annually in the U.S.  Thus, obesity is responsible for nearly 10% of total healthcare costs and 20% of the dramatic rise in those costs over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, current strategies have not gained control of the problem.  A recent, comprehensive study has demonstrated that no country in the world has experienced a decrease in the rate of obesity over the past 35 years, suggesting that more intensive and focused approaches are required to control this epidemic disorder. 

“The fellowship development program represents a giant leap forward for the field of obesity medicine in the United States. It will encourage more academic medical institutions to develop training programs in this area, filling a recognized gap in physician education and expanding the pool of physicians providing state-of-the-art care for obesity and its complications,” said Caroline Apovian, MD, President of The Obesity Society.

During the past ten years, five fellowship programs in obesity medicine have been established in the United States, including at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine, Geisinger Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the University of Texas McGovern Medical School. Support provided through the Novo Nordisk Fellowship Development Grant will allow expansion to more than 20 programs nationwide. Given the high prevalence of obesity and its profound medical, economic and social consequences, long-term training needs will likely require at least 50 such programs.

This development program will be overseen by a newly-established Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council comprised of fellowship program directors and other leaders in post-graduate medical education. The Council will develop a standardized curriculum for obesity medicine fellowships and will oversee the awarding of the seed grants.

This program is the latest step in the emergence of obesity medicine as a discrete medical subspecialty. It follows the establishment of the ABOM, which oversees an independent certification pathway and examination to ensure competency standards among obesity medicine physicians. Since its inception in 2011, the ABOM has certified more than 2600 physicians, making obesity medicine one of the fastest growing medical subspecialties.  Nearly all of these certified physicians have received obesity medicine training through a network of post-graduate classroom courses. The greater availability of fellowship training will permit the next generation of obesity medicine physicians to receive far more intensive training through direct, supervised care of patients in the clinical environment.

“Obesity describes a heterogeneous group of disorders with different characteristics, manifestations and complications that require individualized approaches to treatment,” said Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, Vice President of The Obesity Society and chair of the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council. “Combatting this problem requires sophisticated understanding and appropriate application of all clinically effective modes of therapy and prevention.  The greater availability of comprehensive training provided by obesity medicine fellowships will dramatically improve our overall ability to reverse what has become one of the most significant medical challenges of the current century.”

 

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About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects.  Combining the perspective of physicians and other clinicians, scientists, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. Visit www.obesity.org.

 About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, has been committed to discovering and developing innovative medicines to help people living with diabetes lead longer, healthier lives for 95 years. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious diseases including obesity, hemophilia and growth disorders. We have built our business on the conviction that the formula for success is to stay focused, think long term and do business in a financially, socially and environmentally responsible way. With U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, we employ nearly 6,000 people throughout the country. Visit novonordisk.us, Facebook and Twitter.

About the Obesity Medicine Association

The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) is the largest organization of physicians and other healthcare providers working to improve the lives of patients affected by obesity.  OMA members are clinical experts in obesity medicine who use a comprehensive, scientific and individualized approach when treating obesity, which helps patients achieve their health and weight goals.

About the American Board of Obesity Medicine

Established in 2011, the American Board of Obesity Medicine serves the public and the field of obesity medicine through the examination and certification of physicians who seek recognition of their competency in obesity medicine.  Physicians who complete the ABOM certification process are designated Diplomates of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

About Obesity Medicine Fellowship Programs

For more information about current clinical fellowship programs in Obesity Medicine, please contact the fellowship program directors directly:

Boston University School of Medicine – Gitanjali Srivastava, MD, Gitanjali.Srivastava@bmc.org

Geisinger Medical Center – Christopher Still, DO, cstill@geisinger.edu

Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital – Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, LMKaplan@mgh.harvard.edu

University of Texas McGovern Medical School – Deborah Bade Horn DO, MPH, deborah.b.horn@uth.tmc.edu

Weill Cornell Medicine – Leon Igel, MD, lei9004@med.cornell.edu

Robyn Gordon
The Obesity Society
240-485-1951
TOScommunications@obesity.org