by Stephen G. Boyce, MD, FACS
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I have been taking care of patients affected by obesity for almost 30 years.
In 1992, fresh out of general surgery residency, I moved my family to Knoxville, Tennessee and
set up my general and vascular surgery practice which included bariatrics. Realizing the harmful effects of obesity on the health of my patients, I decided to devote my career to helping those affected by obesity.
By performing one operation, I could often cure as many as five diseases – dramatically improving the patient’s health and life expectancy. In 2003, I created The New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery, which was designated the 7th Center of Excellence in the nation by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
The New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery’s success was the result of creating a multidisciplinary team of nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, exercise physiologists and psychologists – creating a pathway for long-term follow up care with a heavy emphasis on education. I was searching for resources that would mesh well with my philosophy and provide added education and support for my patients.
How I Became Involved with the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
My association with the OAC began in 2005 and it has been my privilege to work with this outstanding organization, its amazing staff and members. The OAC’s drive for advocacy, patient education and support meshed perfectly with the patient’s needs that I saw in my practice.
With regards to advocacy, in 2005 I began giving every patient a membership to the OAC – a practice that I continue to this day. I have enrolled almost 3,500 patients to date, and have been the recipient of the Dr. Robin Blackstone Outstanding Membership Recruitment by a Physician award on several occasions!
My Involvement with the OAC
However, more than awards, I have personally benefited from the relationships that have developed with the OAC staff and members. I am also proud to have participated in National Obesity Care Week’s Bariatric Surgery Day, thanks to which I will soon be performing a much needed operation for a patient without insurance coverage – free of charge. This is being done to highlight the difficulties some patients have with access to care for their disease.
From an educational standpoint, I have authored several articles for the OAC’s most popular educational resource – Your Weight Matters Magazine – including:
- How Does Bariatric Surgery Resolve Diabetes?
- Current State of the Treatment of Obesity
- And sensitive topics like Men: Is Obesity Affecting Your Sex Life?
Other educational efforts by the OAC that I have participated in include their educational blogs and the Your Weight Matters National Convention for its members. I have had the pleasure to speak at the Your Weight Matters National Convention on a couple of occasions covering topics such as Weight Regain after Surgery and Medical Concerns of the Long-Term Bariatric Patient.
The OAC supports its members through many channels including their publications, Your Weight Matters National Convention, webinars and social media. I am able to reach patients with my knowledge of bariatric surgery, long-term health maintenance and nutrition. Proper nutrition and vitamin supplementation is the key to long-term success for my patients. In an effort to make vitamin supplementation easier and more affordable for my patients, I developed a bariatric multivitamin mineral supplement that evolved into Bari Life Bariatric Supplements in 2003. Bari Life has been a financial supporter of the OAC since the Your Weight Matters National Conventions started in 2012.
While continuing to treat, advocate, educate and support my patients as the medical director for both the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery and the Tennova Center for Weight Loss Surgery and as the Founder and President of Bari Life Bariatric supplements, I consider my relationship with the OAC organization, its staff and members key to providing comprehensive care for my patients affected by the disease of obesity.
About the Author:
Stephen G. Boyce, MD, FACS, obtained his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science from Texas A&M University and medical school at the University of Texas Southern Medical School. Dr. Boyce has completed more than 4,000 bariatric surgical procedures, has special training in advanced laparoscopic surgery and has also completed a Masters Certification in Bariatric Surgery. He started his own practice, the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery, in Knoxville, Tenn. in 2002, which became one of the Nation’s first Centers of Excellence (7th in the Nation) in 2005. His special interest in bariatric nutrition led him to develop Bari Life Bariatric Supplements. Additionally, he is an active educator for Ethicon-Endo Surgery and a three-time recipient of the OAC’s Dr. Blackstone Outstanding Membership Recruitment by a Physician award.