ASMBS Integrated Health Support Group Committee

Published in July/August Issue             

The ASMBS Integrated Health (IH) Support Group Committee was created to promote the value of bariatric support groups, provide education and resources related to such groups, address standards of care and to encourage expanding research into this vital area of treatment. The committee is highly multidisciplinary and representative of numerous types of programs. Over the past few years, the committee has tackled the challenge of providing members with increased information about support groups, has made support group training more available, and has established an aggressive agenda to elevate the role of support groups within the organization.

A significant achievement for the committee was the publication of the Support Group Manual two years ago, which is currently available on the ASMBS website and provides an excellent resource guide for individuals leading groups.

Last year, the committee led the first ever four-hour preconference support group training at ObesityWeek, and will be doing the same this year. The training offered the most up to date information about research in the field, topics, strategies, ways to handle group challenges, as well as therapeutic approaches. As part of the trainings, we have also established a listserv for support group leaders to share questions and ideas. Currently, the committee is offering expanded and more advanced group trainings at all ASMBS conferences.

To provide added value for ASMBS members, the IH Support Group Committee is working closely with the IH Executive Council on the Support Group Toolkit, a collection of resources to aid the practitioner in running groups, which will be available on the society website this year. In order to better understand the needs in the research arena, the committee is conducting a literature review and analysis that will be presented later this year. This will provide a springboard for supporting empirical study of bariatric groups, as well as leading to an original research project for the committee.

Lastly, part of the plan for the committee is the identification of best practices in running groups and determining a curriculum relative to competent leadership of groups. This should lead to creating both in-person and online training and the development of more appropriate standards of care for bariatric support groups for the field.