Why I Give – OAC Board Members Share Why They Show their Support
The Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) National Board of Directors consists of 14 dedicated and hard-working individuals who have made a commitment to the OAC in many ways. Our board members volunteer at events, participate in planning committees and advocate on behalf of the organization in numerous areas, such as weight bias and access to obesity care and treatment.
In honor of Giving Tuesday, we asked our board members to share with us why they choose to give their time, talents and financial contributions back to the OAC. Here’s what they said:
Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman
“The bottom line is: The history of how people with obesity have been denied access to care, and discriminated against has been so horrible, and the only reason it’s improving is because of the OAC. That’s why I give — so that we can keep doing more and more of the right thing to reduce the impact of obesity in the lives of people it affects.”
Amber Huett-Garcia, BS, MPA, Vice-Chairman
“I give to the OAC because I know that my support is going to directly contribute to their core mission of providing education, advocacy and support. As someone personally affected by obesity, I’ve seen dramatic changes in the 10 years since their inception — from health care access, weight bias acceptability, and the amount of information that’s available about obesity, treatment and management. Simply put, the OAC has improved my quality of life. Please consider supporting the OAC with any gift that’s affordable for you.”
Pam Davis, RN, CBN, MBA, Immediate-Past Chairman
“As someone directly affected by obesity most of my life, I know how difficult it can be to speak up for yourself. I am fortunate to have been offered surgical treatment for my obesity. Treatment was recommended by my physician and covered by my husband’s employer. Our insurance plan did everything they could to support me, not to deny me. As a nurse, I realize this is not the circumstances for the majority of those affected by obesity. After surgery, I wanted to insure anyone who could benefit from treatment actually would have the option of treatment. After learning of the OAC, I knew that’s where I could make a difference for others.
“I invest my time, my experience and my knowledge in the Obesity Action Coalition. The return on that investment includes greater access to care, opportunities for education and networking through the annual convention and the realization that bias and discrimination against those affected by obesity is not okay and must end. I give because I care, and I give because others don’t care.”
Georgeann Mallory, RD, Treasurer
“The OAC represents people with obesity, and their voice is the strongest, most meaningful voice in this advocacy effort. An organization of the people and for the people is key to making important changes. The OAC is dedicated to staying on top of what is happening on the political front, within our communities and in the workplace. They work diligently to push for action and changes that are meaningful for people with obesity.”
Michelle Vicari, Secretary
“The OAC inspires me to give because their mission is to educate, support and advocate for those affected by obesity. I felt alone until I found the OAC. I was thankful to know there was an organization that was working to increase access to care and treatment. There should be no shame in seeking treatment for obesity, because health is not a game.
“Obesity is a disease that affects millions of adults and children; in fact, since millions are affected everyone knows someone, loves someone or may be that someone who is affected like I am. I will always be a person affected by obesity, it’s a chronic disease requiring reassessing and readjusting throughout life but today I am healthier and stronger and thankful for the OAC.”
Tammy Beaumont, BSN, RN, CBN
“The OAC unites us in the effort of awareness and education. Changes in public opinion and eventually legislation take time and a coordinated effort. The OAC brings together a group of leaders in the industry who are able to reach out into our communities to recruit members, educate the healthcare populations and hopefully teach us all how to not be afraid to stand up against bias and bullying.”
“I give to the OAC because I support the mission to end weight bias and to improve the ability for individuals living with obesity to access healthcare, employment and education so they can live their healthiest life.”
Jaime Fivecoat, MBA
“I give to the OAC because the OAC is the primary voice of those who seek treatment for the disease of obesity. We are the patients, the researchers, the medical professionals, the caregivers, and the people who care about those who suffer from obesity. By all of us coming together we have and will continue to make a difference.”
Robert Kushner, MD
“I give to the OAC because I care. I care that individuals who suffer from obesity have access to and coverage of weight management treatments that work. I care that individuals no longer feel the discrimination and stigma that often accompanies being affected by excess weight. I care that individuals have the opportunity to hear evidence-based and practical information at an annual convention. All of us have our part to play in advancing the field of obesity, whether it is in time, effort or money, and the OAC is the vehicle to help us accomplish all of these goals. Give today!”
Holly F. Lofton, MD
“The OAC is a group of ‘doers,’ not just talkers. The OAC has been instrumental in raising awareness for obesity stigma – which is prevalent in our society. I feel the efforts of the OAC have not only changed some policies that stigmatized those affected by obesity, but also have given many people the courage to stand up and do the same on a personal and on a community level.”
Tracy Martinez, RN, BSN, CBN
I give because the OAC has accomplished so much and improved so many individuals’ overall lives and health — and there’s so much more to accomplish. The OAC began — and remains deeply rooted — in its unwavering mission to be dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by obesity. Its influence and impact in social, political and medical communities is being recognized and appreciated. The OAC’s impact is undeniable.
Walter Medlin, MD, FACS
“The OAC is essential and gives voice to our diverse community – together we cannot be ignored. OAC also lets us collaborate on our journeys – with successes and challenges. No one should feel alone.”
Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS
“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 stomp 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.”
Melinda J. Watman, BSN, MSN, CNM, MBA
“While all groups, in one way or another, represent those with obesity, each has its own special interests, leaving the OAC to be the sole entity representing those affected by obesity. With obesity being in the minds of many decision-makers, having a strong presence at the table is critical in ensuring the non-science/medical perspective is heard.”
More than 93 million Americans are affected by obesity.
It’s time that we support these individuals by ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect,
have the right to access safe and effective treatment and are provided with the right information through unbiased education.
The OAC was formed in 2005 to make this support a reality. Our mission is to elevate and empower individuals affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support. For more than 10 years, we have been the voice for those with obesity. With more than 50,000 members nationwide, we stand strong and will continue to fight for the rights of all those affected by the disease of obesity.