Integrated Health Support Group Committee

Nini Peterson, PhD
Chair & IHEC Liaison

Andrea Rigby, PsyD


Lauren Carey, RDN, LDN – Past Chair
Lora Grabow, LMSW
Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN, CLT
Kirsten Tychonievich, MS, SRPN, ANP-C
Lori Nevins, LCSW
Emily Thompson, RD, CSOWM
Jill Welshans, RN, MSN, AG-ACNP

ASMBS Staff Liaison

Karen Loerzel, MS, CMP


The mission of the IH Support Group committee is to promote the development of the concept of support groups in the care of bariatric surgical patient; identify the needs of support group leaders and develop strategies to meet these needs; identify, develop and distribute resources for support groups and support group leaders; and encourage the exchange of ideas and networking among support group leaders.


  • Support Group Leader Manual-update, revision and completion
  • Support Group Leader/participant survey
  • Update the ASMBS Support Group Listing and Program Information

ASMBS Mission(s) Met by the Committee

  • Improve outcomes through the multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients affected by obesity
  • Increase awareness of the critical role the multidisciplinary approach plays throughout the continuum of care
  • Optimize patient access to comprehensive obesity treatment
  • Promote best practices and an evidence-based approach to the treatment of patients affected by obesity
  • Cultivate and support a knowledgeable, skilled and empowered membership

Committee Objectives

  • Provide resources for the education and continued advancement of support group leaders
  • Increase awareness of the necessity for support groups and improve patient access
  • Further the development, implementation and continued advancement of support groups
  • Facilitate exchange of ideas and networking among support group leaders

Short-Term Goals

  • Complete the presentations needed to implement the Support Group Facilitator Training Program
  • Update the Support Group manual with virtual resources
  • Present at the annual conference in Dallas

Long-Term Goals

  • Keep the support group manual up to date and continue to market it to ASMBS members.
  • Continue to provide various resources for support group facilitators
  • Establish and publish best practices for running virtual support groups

2021 Completed Projects

  • Presented at the virtual conference in June 2021
  • Had an article published in the OAC magazine
  • Created an outline and content for the Support Group Facilitator Training Program

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