CHI Memorial Metabolic And Bariatric Care Earns Obesity Medicine Board Certification

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Jaime Ponce, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of CHI Memorial Metabolic and Bariatric Care, has been certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine as an ABOM diplomate.  ABOM diplomates are physicians who undergo rigorous training in obesity medicine and an extensive examination process to achieve this designation.

The American Board of Obesity Medicine serves the public and the field of obesity medicine by maintaining standards for assessment and credentialing physicians. Certification as an ABOM diplomate signifies specialized knowledge in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved competency in obesity care.  Currently, there are more than 5,200 ABOM diplomates throughout the United States and Canada. 

“Obesity is a serious problem that affects a growing number of people in our community and around the world and leads to a host of problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux disease, fatty liver disease, and cardiac disease.  It also causes bone, joint, and other metabolic issues,” says Dr. Ponce. “Because obesity can impact every part of the body, it’s important to see this disease as a chronic program and understand all the different ways it can be managed most effectively.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42 percent of U.S. adults cope with obesity, which is associated with a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and other musculoskeletal and vascular problems.  Obesity has been officially recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association since 2013.   

In addition to the obesity medicine certification obtained by Dr. Ponce, the practice has developed an obesity medicine program, a non-surgical approach to weight loss that includes a comprehensive medical examination including lab testing and a customized plan based on an individual’s medical history and weight loss challenges. It also offers behavioral counseling by a licensed social worker, nutrition counseling, exercise support and medications to support weight loss. 

“Because we understand that not everyone will qualify for or will choose surgery as a means to combat their obesity, we knew it was important to develop a non-surgical program that specifically addressed the different needs of these individuals,” says Amy Scott, MSN, FNP, nurse practitioner with CHI Memorial Metabolic and Bariatric Care. “The pathways for the obesity medicine program are different than for surgical patients – but it still offers multidisciplinary support including a nurse practitioner and navigator to guide them through the program, as well as dietary, psychological and exercise support to help ensure success.”   

“CHI Memorial is an accredited bariatric surgery center certified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Adding the obesity medicine certification is another way we are seeking to address the complex needs of our patients and ensure we have the right equipment, training, pathways and documented results to help people achieve weight loss success,” Dr. Ponce says. “Through accreditation and the latest research and clinical approaches, we are focused on educating, motivating and empowering our patients to make healthy lifestyle choices.” 

To learn more about CHI Memorial Metabolic and Bariatric Care, call 423-899-1000 or visit ChattanoogaBariatrics.com.


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