A Note From the President

Published in November Issue             

What a fabulous ObesityWeek 2017 meeting! I would like to thank all of you who attended OW 2017, the program committee and our office staff for helping us make the meeting such a success. More than 5,000 members from both societies attended and the feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive!

It is with deep gratitude and genuine humility that I assume the presidency of this remarkable society. I joined ASMBS (known as ASBS at the time) in 2003, just as our field was being propelled into the surgical stratosphere, fueled by our adoption of laparoscopic principles and ever-improving outcomes. The advancements that were achieved have resulted in a reverse-flow pattern of knowledge that originated in our operating rooms, traversed through our happy clinics, and terminated at countless laboratory benches, triggering an explosion of research that has revolutionized our understanding of metabolic disease.

One would be hard-pressed to find an occupation that is more rewarding and, yes, challenging, than what we do. Every day, whether delivering a patient seminar, counseling patients and their families in clinic, or performing an operation, we are fulfilling the promise of rendering them healthier, bolder, livelier and happier; in every sphere of life. No other profession comes close to what we accomplish on a daily basis.

Over the years, I have had the good fortune of sitting on numerous ASMBS committees, affording me the opportunity to serve; rubbing shoulders with giants in our field, and reaping the satisfying feeling of contributing towards the growth and progress of our noble discipline. This experience has provided me with deep understanding and respect for the numerous projects that are concurrently in action and the sheer magnitude of the progress that can be realized when smart and dedicated individuals volunteer to passionately work together towards a common goal.

As I step into my new role at the head of this celebrated organization, I will focus on both building on what has been cultivated by my predecessors, and initiating projects for the future.
As we proceed, an area of prime importance will be the need to maintain, and enhance, the transparent nature of all our proceedings at the Executive Committee of the Executive Council and of the Executive Council itself. We will add to the EC three invited members, comprised of past Executive Council members Rami Lutfi representing our Foundation, past-president Raul Rosenthal will represent our journal SOARD, and past-president John Morton will represent MBSAQIP, our spectacularly-successful accrediting body. The addition of these individuals will serve to guide deliberations at the EC level and ensure the coordination and integral inclusion of these three important components of our society.

Other areas of focus will be addressing the Achille’s heel of bariatric surgery: our sub-optimal follow-up rate. This is a vital area that calls for our attention, since it undoubtedly impacts our claims of durability. An additional area of attention will be the development of updated guidelines for VTE prophylaxis. Although our mortality rates have dramatically decreased, pulmonary embolism remains the most common cause of death in our patients; and we will address that head-on.

So, my friends, you can see that we have a full and exciting agenda ahead; one that will surely grow. Many of these projects were conceived by the EC, but we are much more interested in receiving your ideas. For that purpose, we will be launching a webpage dedicated to receiving suggestions from our members. I strongly encourage you to freely and vigorously share with us any thoughts you may have on how we can continue to create the perfect society!