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Chapter Information

Incorporated June 2009

Join our Facebook group Florida, Puerto Rico & the Caribbean Chapter of the ASMBS

Mission Statement

The main mission of the Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter is to improve access to care to all members in our region with the support and Collaboration of the ASMBS. We also want the chapter to enhance the interaction and communication among members within the region, as well as assist the practitioners in our state with their difficulties in providing care to the Bariatric patient.

Executive Officers

President: Samuel Szomstein, MD FASMBS
Past President: Michel Murr, MD
Vice President: Muhammad A. Jawad, MD FASMBS
Treasurer: Nestor F. de la Cruz-Munoz, MD
Secretary: John P. Gonzalvo, DO FASMBS
Integrated Health Chair: Vicky Blackard, RN, BBA, CBN, CEN
Integrated Health Co-Chair: Lillian Craggs-Dino DHA RDN LDN CLT
STAR (State Access to Care Representative): Joseph Cheblis, MD FASMBS

Board of Directors

George S. Webb, MD FASMBS
Patrick W. Domkowski, MD PhD FASMBS
Tiffany M. Jessee, DO


Samuel Szomstein, MD FASMBS
Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean ASMBS Chapter
2950 Cleveland Clinic Boulevard
Weston, FL 33331

Chapter Meetings

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

  • Certified Bariatric Nurse Review Couese in Florida
    When: October 18, 2019 (8:00am – 4:00pm)
    October 19, 2019 (8:00am – Noon)
    Where: Mease Dunedin Hospital, Dunedin, FL
    Contact for more information and to register

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

    The full Bariatric Day is $350, but as a chapter member you will receive a special discount of $150 off the $350 registration fee. Your final cost is only $200 for the entire bariatric day program, which includes breakfast, lunch, the chapter meeting, a snack, and CME/MOC credits. This is a great value for both our surgeon and integrated health chapter members! The Chapter is paying $100 and the Cleveland Clinic is paying $50 of your cost to attend. Please note that your 2018 ASMBS Florida, Puerto Rico & The Caribbean Chapter dues must be paid in order to take advantage of this rate.

    To register click here and enter the code FLABA150 during registration to receive this benefit. We have also set up a 10% discount for chapter members who would like to attend the whole conference; the code for this discount is FLBS10.

  • 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)

  • 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

  • In December 2017 Puerto Rico & The Caribbean were added to the chapter

  • Statewide Pedometer Challenge 2nd Edition (Date TBD 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
  • 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
    • 24 members attended
  • Several Advocacy efforts/letters (Chebli, Rosenthal, English, 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

Brandon Regional Hospital
Florida Hospital Tampa
Tampa General Hospital
BayCare Hospital System
Tampa Bariatrics
Venice Regional Bayfront Health

Advocacy Information

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