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About Bariatric-University

It's day ☝️ of hospital orientation.

I am filled with excitement over my FIRST job in bariatrics. The hospital CEO walks into orientation, hands me the newly established Center of Excellence criteria and says, "Here, we'd like you to build this. We'd like to do our first cases in July [it was April]. Let me know if you need anything."

Gulp. I've never been a coordinator before. I've never worked in bariatrics before. This was 2004 and the list of things I'd never done before was long. Really, impressively long.

When I started at my first bariatric coordinator position, I had never:

  • developed a new program from the ground up
  • created patient education materials
  • led a support group
  • taught a patient class
  • hosted a seminar
  • verified insurance benefits
  • completed the pre-determination process
  • obtained approval for surgery
  • scheduled a surgery
  • saw a patient in a clinic, much less run one
  • led a hospital-wide training initiative
  • marketed anything

I was sequestered in a trailer on the far corner of the hospital campus while our office was under renovation. Every day I came into work, Googled the hell out of bariatric surgery, used some resources the hospital had purchased and over the course of three months built a new and shiny bariatric surgery program from the ground up. I relied heavily on my personal experience as a bariatric patient to guide me.

Well, we did do our first two surgeries in July (on July 5th to be exact.) It wasn't easy. I had to fill in for the surgeon on a peer-to-peer to obtain the insurance approval. I had lithotripsy two days earlier and passed a kidney stone at 2 a.m. the morning of our cases. We did 63 cases in a year and a half. I knew every single one of those patients inside out. I knew their kids' names, where they worked, if they had support or not. It was at that first job that I became hooked. I knew I wanted to change the world for people living with obesity.

Fast-forward to the present. With the passage of time comes experience and expertise. Now, as a Certified Bariatric Nurse and a bariatric surgery patient, I have 25 years of nursing experience including 15 years of experience working with those affected by obesity. I've had the opportunity to write articles, encyclopedia entries, patient education materials, and practice guidelines for treating individuals affected by obesity.

In 2007 I received the Award of Service Excellence from the Case Management Society of America and in 2015 received the Integrated Health Circle of Excellence Award from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. 

I am also a chronic volunteer. I encourage you to 🖐 and volunteer too.

Obesity Action Coalition

2007-20   Board of Directors

2012-14   Chairman of the Board

2013-15   Chairman of Visibility Committee

2018-20   Chairman Convention Planning Committee

ASMBS | National Service

2016-19   Access to Care Committee

2016-17    Integrated Health President-Elect

2012-15    Integrated Health Executive Council

2007-15    IH Clinical Issues & Guidelines Committee Chair

ASMBS | Tennessee Chapter

2008-18   Board of Directors, Access to Care Representative

2008-18   Conference Planner, Course Director

The bottom line is, I've been in your shoes. I know what it's like to want to excel while having no idea who to ask or where to turn. That's why I created Bariatric-University. For you to have a place to ask questions and find answers.

If you're new to your role as a coordinator, or you're looking for new ways to tackle old issues, please >>>>click here<<< to sign up for the Coordinator Essentials Course. 


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