Marcus Christopher Griffith, M.D., 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?
I am an obesity medicine specialist with a primary specialization in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. My specific skill set provides the unique ability to examine the impact of psychological, social and behavioral components related to weight management, coupled with the expertise of understanding the complex medical comorbidities linked with obesity in the bariatric surgery patient.
What impact can the obesity medicine physician have on patient outcomes?
The obesity medicine specialist can help to guide the process of evaluation and treatment. We can provide evidence-based sources of information to patients and members of the treatment team regarding weight management options. Treatments may include comprehensive lifestyle modification (counseling, nutritional support, exercise), pharmacotherapy for weight loss, and pre- and post-operative bariatric surgical support.
Have you had the experience of working with a bariatric surgeon?
I am employed by Kaiser Permanente of Georgia where we provide an integrative care delivery model, which is especially important in the bariatric surgical setting. My contact with bariatric surgeons spans throughout the entire treatment process. Collaboration with the bariatric surgeon typically begins during our Pre-Bariatric Surgery Group Class. Patients who are considering bariatric surgery are required to attend a group class, which provides information on nutrition and behavioral health, an overview of surgical options, and the opportunity to have their questions answered. The classes are held on a monthly basis and are facilitated by specialists from Endocrinology, Nutritional Services, Behavioral Health and the Bariatric Surgeon.
Are there any clinical findings or evidence-based research supporting the value of obesity medicine physicians and bariatric surgeons working together?
Several areas of evidence support the role of the obesity medicine specialist working in conjunction bariatric surgeons. These include the management of comorbidities associated with obesity and helping patients lose weight prior to surgery, which may lead to lower surgical complications and improved short-term weight loss.
What is the value of working with an ABOM Diplomate specifically?
I have asked Nathaniel Lytle, MD to provide his feedback on working with an ABOM Diplomate—Dr. Lytle is a Bariatric Surgeon with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. Below is his response:
I believe ABOM diplomates bring invaluable expertise and knowledge to a multiple disciplinary team focused on significant and sustained weight management. They serve as the constant, cohesive physician that can optimize both pre-operative and post-operative care for the bariatric patient. Diplomates are more equipped to manage changes in chronic medical conditions, nutritional issues, as well as identify both surgical and medical complications from surgery. Therefore, an ABOM diplomate should be considered for any successful weight management program.
Dr. Marcus “Chris” Griffith is a general adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist and previously owned and operated several successful medical practices in Henry County, Georgia for twenty years. Dr. Griffith is Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He is currently employed by The Southeastern Permanente Medical Group in Atlanta, Georgia and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at both Morehouse and Emory University Schools of Medicine. He is actively involved with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia’s Bariatric and Obesity Care Teams, Highly Reliable Training, Co-lead for the Behavioral Health UBT and Quality Review Management services.
Dr. Griffith has given over 1000 lectures on the local, state, and national levels. He has delivered presentations for The National Football League, Turner Broadcasting Corporation, Georgia Institute of Technology, National Medical Association, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and multiple academic institutions. Additionally, he has provided expert opinion to The Food and Drug Administration, the United States House of Representatives, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Griffith was previously a department chair at Southern Regional Medical Center and has served on the advisory boards for several local and national organizations.
He has been the recipient of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award presented by the City of Seaside and the California State Legislature (2011 & 2013); The E.Y. Williams Distinguished Scholar Award by The National Medical Association; and The Pinnacle Award from Live Healthy & Thrive Youth. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Georgia State Medical Association and The Southeast Permanente Medical Group Community Service Award. Additionally, he and his wife, Dr. Jeana Griffith, recently completed a book titled: The Tale of Two Athletes-The Story of Jumper and The Thumper, which is a true, inspirational story based upon a lifelong friendship that was turned into a children’s book to combat the obesity epidemic