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Dr. Wolfe reflects on term as President of ASMBS Share This OHSU Content

07/14/11  Portland, Ore.

Dr Bruce WolfeDuring the last year, Bruce Wolfe, MD, Professor, Department of Surgery, served as the President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). The Society is the largest of its kind for this specialty in the world.

Founded in 1983, the mission of ASMBS is to “improve public health and well-being by lessening the burden of the disease of obesity and related diseases throughout the world.” ASMBS leadership and staff are devoted to carrying out this mission in the critical areas of education, advocacy, patient care and research.  

Dr. Wolfe presided over an organization that was active at the national, regional and local levels in advocating for access to bariatric surgical and related care. The Society focused on educating appropriate persons in government, including members of the legislative and executive branches. Along with its premier surgical journal SOARD, and national and regional meetings, the Society continued to provide a major forum for the presentation and discussion of original bariatric surgical research.

Notably, under Dr. Wolfe’s tenure, ASMBS formalized a coalition, “The Obesity Care Continuum.” The coalition consists of ASMBS, Obesity Action Coalition, The Obesity Society, and the American Dietetic Association. “By formally joining forces with these organizations we created a broad-based obesity advocacy coalition with a combined membership of over 100,000 patient and health care professional advocates,” said Dr. Wolfe.

Other notable undertakings of Dr. Wolfe’s presidency include: providing formal input to the draft of the NIH proposal for future obesity-related research, and directing the ongoing financial support of original research. In addition, a formal partnership with the Surgical Review Corporation to maximize the research potential of the Centers of Excellence program and BOLD database was put in place.

In his Presidential address, Dr. Wolfe summarized extensive literature documenting systematic discrimination against obese people, which, among other problems, results in diminished access to health care services. He outlined the various approaches the ASMBS members and its staff are taking to counteract this discrimination, focusing on national, regional and local leaders in government health care policy and coverage, education, and others.

“Our challenge to achieve fair treatment of the severely obese while we pursue our educational and research objectives remains before us,” said Dr. Wolfe, whose term ended June of 2011. “But I am confident we are up to the challenge.”