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Exclusive Interview with the organisers of Obesity Week

Obesity Week ‘Where science and treatment meet’ November 11-16, 2013

In November this year, two American societies will come together for a unique collaborative meeting in Atlanta, Georgia – Obesity Week 2013. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS) have joined forces to create one of the largest obesity-related conferences to date. Bariatricnews.net talked to Dr Philip Schauer (ASMBS) and Francesca Dea (TOS) to discuss the aims of the meeting...

Why did the ASMBS decide to have a joint meeting with The Obesity Society - how did the joint meeting come about?

Philip Schauer:

The idea to partner with The Obesity Society (TOS) to create not only the largest but most valuable annual meeting in the world devoted to the science and treatment of obesity came about in 2007. The ASMBS leadership believed that TOS shared many of the same values regarding respect and empathy for patients struggling with obesity as well as the importance of improving our scientific understanding of this challenging disease. Further, both organizations have been committed to improving obesity treatment and prevention. Thus it seemed only natural for both organizations to combine their efforts and provide a much larger platform for obesity than each organization could do on its own. Since 2007, both organizations have worked diligently to put in place all the important components of the meeting.  Even before our first meeting in Atlanta, November 11-16 2013, much excitement and interest in Obesity Week (www.obesityweek.com) has already accumulated. As a result, more than 50 national/international professional societies that have a major focus on obesity have jumped on board as second or third level partners. It will be a “must attend event”.

Philip Schauer

What are the aims of the meeting?

Philip Schauer:

The aim is for Obesity Week is to be the preeminent annual scientific and educational conference for obesity health care professionals. From the latest in obesity science, treatment and clinical information to advances in improved public health, the collaboration of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and The Obesity Society, will present a comprehensive agenda on obesity studies.

Francesca Dea:

We want to create the single-most significant conference in the field of obesity where science and treatment meet. 

Why should ASMBS members attend the meeting?

Philip Schauer:

Obesity Week will provide double the value that ASMBS members have enjoyed in the past. In addition to all the excellent features of the ASMBS annual meeting, including pre-conference courses, oral and posters sessions, and interdisciplinary symposia, Obesity Week will also provide ASMBS members exposure to outstanding basic and clinical science presentations on obesity featured at TOS annual meetings.

Which medical professionals do you believe should attend the meeting?

Francesca Dea:

All medical professionals who see patients with obesity in their practice and would like to be able to provide high quality care to those patients.  Obesity Week will offer attendees cutting edge research and knowledge to gain a better understanding of obesity and treatment.

Francesca Dea

How have you decided the scientific programme – have you had a joint committee reviewing abstracts etc?

Francesca Dea:

The beauty of the Obesity Week structure is that we each maintained the high quality and quantity of content we have historically delivered.  Of course there were some minor tweaks but the goal was to continue to provide our attendees with the program structure and content they expected while offering the value of all the content of a second conference.  To do this, we have each maintained our own Program Committees to review the abstracts and develop the program.  The Chairs of each have been working together closely for nearly two years to ensure the programs are complimentary and coordinate details.

Philip Schauer:

The scientific program is nearly complete and available on our website: www.obesityweek.com. Abstracts submission for ASMBS is closed but still open for TOS. We have two incredibly outstanding keynote speakers. Bruce M Spiegelman is the Stanley J Korsmeyer Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and he will speak on the topic of “Transcriptional Control of Brown and Beige Fat: Toward a New Generation of Therapeutics”. We also have Dr Tom Farley, New York City Health Commissioner, who will speak on the topic “Saving Gotham: New York City’s Attempts to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic”.  

Please can you tell our readers about the programme?

Francesca Dea:

One of the exciting benefits of co-locating our meetings is that we are able to offer two very well-known Keynote Speakers that will be held in joint sessions.  Additionally, we will host several joint social and networking opportunities including the Opening Reception, the After Dark Party and daily lunches in the Exhibit Hall.

Will there also be separate sessions that concentrate on non-surgical treatments for obesity?

Francesca Dea:

The majority of programming will be in separate sessions of both TOS and ASMBS and attendees are free to move between.  The Obesity Society programming spans the full spectrum of treatment and prevention including diet and exercise, pharmacotherapy and surgery – all professionally supervised areas of treatment are covered in TOS sessions.

Philip Schauer:

The program will include all the highly acclaimed elements of the Annual ASMBS meeting including pre-conference courses, oral abstracts, video and poster presentations, interdisciplinary research, education sessions, policy programming, hands-on skills labs, shared keynote speakers, and industry-sponsored symposia.  Multiple joint sessions focusing on integrated medical and surgical obesity treatment strategies will also be included.

In addition, we have seven unique Level Two Partner Symposiums (American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology, American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, International Association for the Study of Obesity, International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, Weight Management DPG/Academy for nutrition and Dietetics) featuring programs on current trends in treatment and management strategies to provide participants with the most relevant and up to date information.

Obesity Week will be the largest scientific meeting devoted to the science and treatment of obesity, how much of an accomplishment do you think it has been to bring together and organise such huge meeting with so many differing interests and specialities?

Francesca Dea:

Building a new meeting like Obesity Week from scratch has been an awesome undertaking but one that will result in the best opportunity for scientists and clinicians to increase their knowledge of the field of obesity.  This idea was the vision of a few special leaders and has come to fruition through the countless hours and dedication of many people including the Council’s of both ASMBS and TOS, the Obesity Week Board of Managers and especially the Co-Chairs Phil Schauer and Gary Foster (representing ASMBS and TOS respectively). 

Philip Schauer:

The leadership of TOS and ASMBS are both excited and proud of the effort to bring perhaps the most important health problem of our time, obesity, to such a large and important international stage as Obesity Week. Yes, organizing such an important meeting has been challenging in many ways but definitely worth the effort! Whether you are a basic scientist, epidemiologist, public health official, health policy maker, dietician, nurse, physician, surgeon, or behavioural health specialist with an interest in the science, prevention or management of obesity, this inaugural meeting of Obesity Week, November 11-16, is a meeting you won’t want to miss!

For more information please visit the meeting website

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American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

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