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Chapter Information

Incorporated June 2009

ASMBS Florida Chapter Website (Under Construction)
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Join our LinkedIn Group ASMBS Florida
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Mission Statement

The mission of the Florida, Puerto Rico & the Caribbean Chapter of ASMBS is to advance the care and treatment of individuals affected by obesity through education, collaboration, and advocacy. We are focused on improving quality of care, ending weight bias and obesity stigma, and providing equitable access for all. Our goal is to foster collaboration among all healthcare professionals, policy makers, and the public to build a comprehensive approach to the care of obesity and to encourage further research into etiology, prevention, and treatment of this complex disease.

Executive Officers

President: John Paul Gonzalvo, DO FASMBS
Vice President/President-Elect: Alexander Ayzengart, MD MPH
Secretary/Treasurer: Alexander Ramirez, MD FACS
Member at Large Region 1: Michael Edwards, MD (Jacksonville)
Member at Large Region 2: Andre Teixeira, MD FASC (Orlando)
Member at Large Region 3: Bharti Shetye "Dr. Abby", MD FOMA Dipl. ABOM (South Pasadena)
Chapter Liaison Region 4: Limaris Barrios, MD (Miami)
Past Presidents: Michel Murr, MD; Samuel Szomstein, MD FASMBS
Integrated Health President: Daniel Baughn, PhD
Integrated Health President-Elect: Gwen Crispell, MSN, RN, CBN
Integrated Health Nurse Member at Large: Sharon Kryzanowski, BSN RN CBN
Integrated Health Member at Large: Aileem Schilling, MHSc RD LDN
Integrated Health Past Presidents: Vicky Blackard, RN MBA/HCM CBN; Lynne Thompson, RN
STAR (State Access to Care Representative): Dennis Smith, MD FASMBS
Integrated Health STAR (State Access to Care Representative): Vicky Blackard, RN MBA/HCM CBN


Chapter Meetings

For ASMBS accreditation statement please see:

Please contact Chapter for Zoom Information for any Chapter meetings

  • Virtual ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter Meeting
    Obesity & Reproductive Health & Bariatric Surgery
    When: Thursday, February 23, 2023 @ 6pm EST
    Where: Zoom

  • The Dominican Bariatric Society (a Chapter of IFSO) has invited the ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico, & the Caribbean Chapter to participate and present at the 3rd Annual Congress of the Dominican Bariatric Society (SODOCIMEB). The conference will take place at the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from November 10-12, 2022. The chapter will have the day of Friday, November 11 to present. If you are interested in presenting, please send your first and second choice of topic to: Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter. If you speak Spanish, that is a a great plus, but it is not mandatory. The deadline to reply is June 24th.

  • Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean ASMBS State Chapter Presents Metabolic Bariatric Surgery 2022: Current Trends and New Directions
    May 20 – 21, 2022
    Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
    We invite you to join us May 20 – 21 in Puerto Rico to discuss current trends and new directions in Metabolic Bariatric Surgery. Learn the latest in innovations, technology and best practices from world experts. Register Here!
    Learn More.

  • ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean State Chapter Webinar
    "Optimizing Nutritional Status of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical Candidates"
    Written and presented by Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN
    When: March 9, 2022 from 6:00-7:00pm Eastern
    Please register in advance for this meeting
    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter and the Advocacy Committee’s Advocacy Day in Tallahassee
    Chapter members met at the Capital and had the opportunity to discuss issues important to the MBS community with their Representatives
    When: Friday, February 11, 2022

  • ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico, & the Caribbean Chapter – Florida Advocacy Training Class
    Saturday, January 8, 2022
    10:00 to 11:15 AM EST
    1 free CME/CEU for chapter members
    Presented by: Joe Nadglowski, President/CEO Obesity Action Coalition, Chris Gallagher, Washington Policy Advisor, ASMBS, OAC, TOS and OMA

  • ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter CME Meeting (Virtual)
    When: November 17, 2021 at 5:30 PM Eastern

  • ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter CME Meeting (Virtual)
    "The Power of Social Media"
    Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Dovec
    When: Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter CME Meeting (Virtual)
    "Current State of Pediatric Obesity"
    When: May 26, 2021 from 5:30-7PM Eastern

  • Robotic Bariatric Surgery with 3 Ports
    Dr. Alexander Ramirez
    When: February 24, 2021 at 5:30AM Eastern

  • Role of the Bariatric Physician
    Dr. Lisa Ferreira and Dr. Bharti Shetye
    When: February 23, 2021 at 5:30 PM Eastern

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter CME Meeting
    When: Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 5:30pm Eastern
    Moderator: Dr. John Pal Gonzalvo
    Presenter: Dr. Alexander Ramirez
    Topic: "Robotic Bariartric Surgery with 3 Ports"

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Journal Club (1 FREE CME for ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean State Chapter Members and Candidates)
    November 19, 2020 from 5:30 – 6:30PM EST
    Presented by: John Paul Gonzalvo, D.O., FACS, FASMBS and Alexander L. Ayzengart, MD MPH FACS
    Topic: GERD and Barrett’s esophagus after sleeve gastrectomy

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Webinar: "Medical Marijuana: The Basics" (1 FREE CME for ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean State Chapter Members and Candidates)
    Monday, October 19, 2020 at 5:30 PM EST
    Moderator: John Paul Gonzalvo, DO FACS
    Presenter: Robert Ferreira, MD

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Webinar (1 FREE CME for ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean State Chapter Members and Candidates)
    "Management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the role of bariatric surgery: a brief review for surgeons"
    Tuesday September 1, 2020 at 5:30 PM EST
    Moderator: John Paul Gonzalvo, DO FACS
    Presenter: Michael M. Murr, MD FACS FASMBS

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Webinar (1 FREE CME for ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean State Chapter Members and Candidates)
    "Role of Robotic Surgery and Revisional Bariatric Surgery"
    Friday, July 24, 2020 at 3 PM Eastern
    Presented by Dr. E. Elli, Director of Bariatric Surgery Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville

  • Facebook Live Event "Mental Health for the Healthcare Workers"
    Host: Daniel Baughn, Ph.D
    Wednesday, April 15 at 6PM Eastern
    On the Florida, Puerto Rico & the Caribbean Chapter of the ASMBS Facebook page

  • Facebook Live Event "How to keep your immune strong with good nutrition"
    Host: Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN
    Wednesday, April 1 at 7PM Eastern
    On the Florida, Puerto Rico & the Caribbean Chapter of the ASMBS Facebook page

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Meeting at the 19th Annual Surgery of the Foregut Symposium
    Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 12:30pm Eastern
    Majorca Room (off Granada Ballroom)
    The Biltmore Hotel
    Coral Gables, Florida

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Meeting at IFSO
    Tuesday, July 28, 2020 12:30pm Eastern

  • Chapter Dinner December 2019 sponsored by Norvo Nordisk

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter Meeting at ObesityWeek 2019 in Las Vegas, NV
    Tuesday, November 5, 2019
    5:15-6:15pm Pacific
    Delano, 3940 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89119 (adjacent to Mandalay Bay), Sienna BC Room – 3rd Floor

  • Certified Bariatric Nurse Review Course in Florida
    When: October 18, 2019 (8:00am – 4:00pm)
    October 19, 2019 (8:00am – Noon)
    Where: Mease Dunedin Hospital, Dunedin, FL

  • Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter Meeting at the Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute Week 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Monday, February 19th
    Lunch meeting from 12:30-1:30pm
    The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

  • Florida State Chapter Meeting at ObesityWeek 2016 in New Orleans, LA
    Wednesday, November 2, 2016
    6:15-7:15pm Central
    Hilton New Orleans Riverside Eglinton Room

  • Bariatric Advocacy Training: Access to care for bariatric patients is something that affects every bariatric surgery program in Florida! Join your Florida colleagues at one of the events listed below as we work together on a common cause that will benefit everyone! The ASMBS Florida Chapter, in conjunction with the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), is holding two Advocacy Training Sessions to train our Florida Chapter Members, and any member of the Florida Bariatric Community, to influence the legislative process. The sessions are designed for attendees who have an interest in learning more about the legislative and regulatory processes and explores ways they can make a difference through advocacy on the local, state and federal levels. During this training session, you will learn from Joe Nadglowski, OAC’s President and CEO, Chris Gallagher, ASMBS’ Policy Consultant and other policy thought leaders about how to interact with your elected and appointed officials so that you can be an effective advocate for change. And before it’s over, you will have the opportunity to put your newly-learned advocacy skills to use during mock legislative visits and experience advocating for access to obesity treatments, obesity awareness and much more!

    January 22, 2016
    8:00am – 1:00pm (Lunch included)
    Cleveland Clinic
    2950 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard
    Weston, FL 33331

    January 29, 2016
    8:00am – 1:00pm (Lunch included)
    Baptist Medical Center
    800 Prudential Drive
    Jacksonville, FL 32207

  • Annual Meeting February 2016 (CME Activity)

  • September 24, 2015: Quarterly Educational Dinner for ALL Florida State Chapter members
    Topic: Anti-Obesity Medications: An Update on the Options Available in 2015
    Speaker: Stephen E. m. R. O’Brien, M.D., Senior Obesity Medical Liaison, Novo Nordisk, Inc.
    Where: Tarantella Ristorante, 1755 Bell Tower Lane, Weston, FL 33326

  • June 19, 2014 in Miami, FL – This event was held during ASMBS Spring Educational meeting (CME Activity)
    The Florida State Chapter was please & excited to welcome Dr. Nussbaum, Chair of the State Chapter Presidents; Joe Nadglowski, President & CEO of Obesity Action Coalition and many other exciting speakers to a very informative and well organized meeting. Several topics and aspects on how to improve and established a State Chapter were discussed and participation was very encouraging

Chapter Updates and Activities

  • Psychological Bariatric Consultation Group for Florida Behavioral Health Professionals (ASMBS members only)
    Will meet via Zoom; Contact Ashlyn Douglas-Barnes for details
  • Upcoming Executive Board Elections at ASMBS Annual Meeting
  • IH Executive Board elections August 2019
  • Numerous and continuing Advocacy efforts Led by STAR Joseph Chebli 2018-2019
  • Relaunching of the Official Chapter Facebook Page in November 2019
  • In December 2017 Puerto Rico & The Caribbean were added to the chapter
  • Statewide Pedometer Challenge 2nd Edition (February–March 2017)
  • March 2016: 3rd Installment of Florida Chapter Newsletter circulated
  • Multi-center Bariatric Journal Video Conferences: Two in 2015 and hoping to do more (every 3 months) (Jawad, Szomstein MD)
  • October 24, 2015: South Florida Walk for Obesity Event hosted by Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Foundation and the ASMBS Florida State Chapter: With the support of the Florida State Chapter and the ASMBS Foundation, The Cleveland Clinic of Weston did their first obesity walk. It was an amazing success, thanks to the energetic efforts of Lillian Craggs-Dino and her team. Over 100 walkers participated in the event raising $11,366 for the ASMBS Foundation. Where: Tree Tops Park, 3900 SW 100 Avenue, Davie, FL 33328
  • Several Advocacy efforts/letters (Drs. Chebli, Rosenthal, English, and Szomstein)
  • February 22, 2015: Statewide Pedometer Challenge: over 6 million steps and more than 38 Centers registered across Florida; Over 3 times the amount of steps and participation than expected at no financial cost; First activity of its kind; nationwide startup National Pedometer Challenge by ASMBS to be held late 2015
  • Fall/Winter 2015: “Day in Bariatric Surgery” at the Cleveland Clinic, Weston, FL to promote, advocate, and introduce bariatrics to legislators/insurance company executives (Rosenthal, Szomstein)

Support Groups

Please check with your provider for Support Groups in your area or online.

Advocacy Information

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