Caroline M. Apovian
The Obesity Society, along with the Obesity Medicine Association, has formed a novel education initiative to bolster the number of physicians who receive specialized training in the care and treatment of patients with obesity, according to a press release from the organizations.
“The goal of [The Obesity Medicine Fellowship Development Program] is to increase the number of obesity medicine fellowships in the United States to educate MDs and DOs to assess and treat obesity effectively,” Caroline M. Apovian, MD, professor of medicine, diabetes and endocrinology and pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center and president of the Obesity Society, told Endocrine Today. “Currently, only a small percentage of patients with obesity in the United States are treated for their condition with the medications and surgical options available. This is a result of a lack of education in obesity in medical schools and residency training programs, as well as a lack of understanding of obesity to be a disease and not a behavioral condition.”
The program, supported by an educational grant from Novo Nordisk and with in-kind donations from The American Board of Obesity Medicine, aims to provide both administrative and financial resources to develop subspecialty fellowship training programs for those entering the field of obesity medicine. More specifically, the goal is to increase the number of fellowships in obesity medicine in the United States from the five that currently exist to double-digits within the next 5 years, according to Apovian.
“This will increase the number of obesity medicine specialists who can then [raise] awareness of obesity [as a] disease in their respective medical communities such that the primary care providers in that area will refer and also treat obesity themselves with the current therapies,” she said.
The Obesity Medicine Fellowship Development Program marks an important step forward in the effort to recognize obesity medicine as a distinct medical subspecialty and will provide physicians with access to education that will, ultimately, allow them to provide their patients with better care. – by Melissa J. Webb
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Caroline M. Apovian, MD, can be reached at email@example.com.
Apovian reports she has done consulting for EnteroMedics, Ferring, Gelesis, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Nutrisystem, Orexigen, Rhythm, Sanofi-Aventis, Scientific Intake, SetPoint Health, Takeda, Xeno Biosciences and Zafgen. She has received research funding from Aspire Bariatrics, The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation, Gelesis, GI Dynamics, MetaProteomics, MYOS Corporation, Orexigen, Pfizer and Takeda. She owns stock in Science Smart LLC.