Meeting News Coverage

The Obesity Society hits milestones, looks ahead to its 'growth phase'

With a record-setting attendance and number of abstracts this week at Obesity Week, the president of The Obesity Society outlined his strategic plan for “an organization that’s in a growth phase.”

Steven R. Smith, MD, spoke with Endocrine Today about the values and strategic goals of The Obesity Society, known as TOS.

Steven R. Smith, MD

Steven R. Smith

Core values

According to Smith, TOS operates with three main values at its helm: the pursuit of evidence and science-based practice; the integrity of the ongoing conversation; and remembering that the enormity of the obesity problem requires a variety of different viewpoints.

“We like to say that we like to attack ideas; we have to make sure we don’t attack people. That’s really important when it comes to controversial issues that obesity continues to tackle — think about sugar-sweetened beverages, think about taxes on food,” Smith said. “It needs to be said that we have to be clear in how we engage in a conversation of ideas.”

And those ongoing conversations should incorporate the variety of health care providers with vested interest in treating patients with obesity.

“There’s not going to be one approach that’s going to win the day,” Smith said. “It’s a much more complicated problem … so it takes a diversity of ideas.”

Strategic goals

Of those core values, TOS developed specific strategic goals: to enhance the science; to grow young leaders and early career professionals; to support the growth of clinical care of obesity; to put evidence-based positions into the public domain; and to collaborate in strategic partnerships with other associations.

“We’ve been very strategic in the past year in reaching out externally and finding ways to collaborate with other societies and organizations so we don’t reinvent the wheel and that we join forces and tackle some really tough problems that are out there in the obesity space,” Smith said.

For example, TOS has joined with the Endocrine Society to release guidelines on the use of medications to treat obesity, meeting two goals of TOS. Smith invited endocrinologists to Obesity Week and suggested they partake in the board certification course to learn the latest in treatment of obesity.

“We started with education around clinical practice and we are expanding into other areas of allied health, like nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, clinical nurses, etc,” Smith said. “That’s a special place that TOS can play and an important area for us to grow access to care because access from multiple levels is front-and-center for our clinical folks.” — by Katrina Altersitz

 For more information:

Smith S. TOS Opening Session. Presented at: Obesity Week; Nov. 2-7, 2014; Boston.

Disclosure: Smith reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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