Dr. Angela Fitch, an American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Diplomate, answers questions regarding the importance of an obesity medicine physician.
What unique skill set can the obesity medicine physician bring to the bariatric surgical setting?
An obesity medicine physician brings a holistic medical perspective to patient care in the bariatric surgical setting. Often times surgeons do this as well but really value spending time in the operating room where their skills are in highest demand. The obesity medicine physician is trained to treat the complex medical issues that many patients that struggle with obesity need treatment. Optimizing medical care prior to surgery can improve surgical outcomes. Obesity is a multifactorial disease that needs treatment from many angles and many patients can benefit from obesity medication in conjunction with surgery to get the greatest results.
What impact can the obesity medicine physician have on patient outcomes?
Perioperative optimization especially with control of diabetes and management of cardiac conditions can improve patient outcomes and prevent readmission after surgery. Controlling diabetes prior to surgery decreases the chance of infection and promotes healing. We need to begin to look at outcomes with respect to weight loss after surgery when surgery is combined with weight loss medication especially for patients with significantly disordered eating pathology.
Have you had the experience of working with a bariatric surgeon?
I currently am the medical director of our medical weight loss program in our combined medical/surgical weight loss center. We see patients for surgery and medical weight loss side by side every day. I work with two amazing surgeons, Dr. Brad Watkins and Dr Jonathan Thompson.
What is the value of working with an ABOM Diplomate specifically?
I believe being certified by ABOM means you have committed to obtaining the latest evidenced based knowledge on the treatment of obesity. ABOM dipolmates are comfortable caring for very complex patients with obesity and committed to the care of patients with obesity.
About Dr. Fitch
Angela Fitch, MD, has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University. She worked for Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati before going to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. She then completed Internal Medicine and Pediatric residency training at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Dr. Fitch is currently the Director of Medical Weight Management at the UC Health Weight Loss Center. She is also Medical Director for the Executive Health & Wellness Program at UC Health.
Dr. Fitch developed an interest in obesity medicine after years of treating patients with obesity and related complications in primary care and finding this to be an area not adequately addressed in general practice. Her commitment to focus on practicing in the field of obesity medicine was solidified when she completed her training and board certification from the American Board of Obesity Medicine in 2012.
Dr. Fitch is also an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. As part of an academic medical center, Dr. Fitch integrates science-based treatment, backed by world-class research. She collaborates with specialty physicians in the practice of integrative medicine, diabetes, nutrition and behavioral health to address the whole person and the patient’s total health profile.