Get to Know Us – Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS
1. How did you become involved with the OAC?
I became involved with the OAC through my friend and fellow Board Member Dr. Jacqueline Jacques. Dr. Jacques told me about this “fabulous” group she was involved with that was going to “make a real impact” in the obesity arena. How could I resist that?!?!? I started on what was the Advisory Board at the time and fell in love with the organization and its mission and they haven’t been able to get rid of me yet! I have watched the OAC grow from a grassroots organization to an organization that is the leading voice for those affected by weight. I have been amazed at what we have been able to accomplish to date, and I know the best is yet to come. Thank you Dr. Jacques for getting me involved!
2. Have you personally dealt with obesity, and if so, how has it impacted your life?
While I myself have never had a weight issue, as I bariatric surgeon, I have cared for thousands of patients whose lives have been dramatically impacted by obesity. I am constantly amazed by the struggles my patients endure and the courage they show facing some very tough situations. I definitely have a better appreciation of the difficulties individuals with obesity face in their daily lives, not only from a health standpoint but from a mental health standpoint and bias standpoint.
3. What is your favorite part about being a board member of the OAC?
My favorite part about being a board member of the OAC is that I feel our organization is making a difference in the lives of real people and helping them find a voice that they would otherwise not have. We are educating people about the dangers of excess weight and helping them understand how their weight impacts on their health. We are educating anyone willing to listen about the injustices being perpetrated on individuals with obesity when it comes to access to obesity treatments. And we work especially hard to stamp out obesity bias wherever it rears its ugly head. These are all things I believe strongly in and I’m happy to be involved in an organization that leads the fight for change. My fellow Board Members are some amazing individuals who are hardworking and dedicated and bring a wealth of perspective to our meetings. We don’t always agree and sometimes our Board Meetings get a little “testy,” but everyone is allowed to express their thoughts and ideas and I believe this diversity and commitment is what has allowed our organization to grow as it has.
4. Why is the OAC valuable in advocating for obesity awareness?
The OAC is valuable in advocating for obesity awareness because of the credibility we bring to the table. Our members come from a diverse background and involve those who have personally dealt with obesity and those that are on the front line taking care of individuals with obesity. As an organization, we are incredibly transparent in all that we do. Our diverse funding also makes it impossible for someone to say we are the “mouthpiece” for any particular company or industry. We are simply the “mouthpiece” for individuals with obesity!
5. What is one goal that you want to accomplish as a board member?
I would like to help the organization continue to grow in numbers and influence. It has always amazed me that despite the fact there are:
a) more 100 million people with obesity in the U.S.
b) study after study show the positive effects of weight-loss on health
c) there is an ongoing lack of access to these PROVEN medical and surgical obesity treatments
and d) weight bias runs rampant in our society….. that we don’t have more people join the OAC!
Until we stand up with a very loud voice and say, “We aren’t going to take this anymore!” it will be very difficult to implement change. My friends, 70 percent of the country has a weight problem so THIS IS NOT ABOUT A LACK OF WILLPOWER!!!!! I hope to play a role in getting more individuals with obesity to understand there is power in numbers and the OAC can lead the way to what is right and just when it comes to access to obesity treatments and the way individuals with obesity are treated by society at large.
6. What is your favorite film?
Tough question because I love movies! I would probably have to say Shawshank Redemption. I never get tired of that one. Caddyshack, Top Gun, Shindler’s List, The Thomas Crown Affair, Talledega Nights, and Grown Ups rank up there as well….
7. What is your fondest memory from this past year?
Wow, another tough one. Professionally, I would say the OAC Convention was a great memory. I really enjoyed meeting people from all over the country and I thought the speakers were outstanding. Personally, I would say it was watching the kids in their various activities and shows.
8. If you could’ve had any career other than your current one, what would it have been?
I would have loved to have been a Rap & Hip-Hop music/video producer!
9. What is your favorite place to vacation?
We love to go cruising! I don’t really have a favorite destination; pretty much anywhere is fun when you are on a cruise. I’m trying to convince the OAC to have a Your Weight Matters Cruise and Conference so let them know you would want to go!
10. What is your most prized possession?
I can’t really say I have a “most prized” possession. Anytime we travel we will get an art object from the place we are visiting, so I have several pieces of art that have a special meaning for me. I also have a very nice antique microscope collection that is very cool.
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Join us next time as we feature Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO!