While Integrated Health, formerly Allied Health, has been a part of the ASMBS since its inception in 1983 (with only 3 members), it wasn’t until 1987 that the first allied health program was introduced at the annual meeting. There were few attendees and the next program did not occur until 1991, when an official “Allied Health” committee was formed. The program was a simple roundtable discussion that included nurses, a psychologist, a program director, dietitians and an operating room technician. What started out as simple, but important exchanges of information between a diverse group of providers, has turned into data presentations, best practice guidelines and peer-reviewed articles.
Between 2000 and 2015, the Integrated Health Section of ASMBS has experienced explosive growth. During this time, the number of Integrated Health members grew from 113 to over 1500 — a nearly 15-fold increase. But the numbers alone do not tell the story of the rise of Integrated Health in terms of its significance to metabolic & bariatric surgery and patient care.
The Integrated Health section of the ASMBS drives innovation in the management of obesity. It has organized itself around both the opportunities and challenges facing the specialty. It has an IH Executive Council and seven committees focused on professional education, clinical issues, membership, support groups, credentialing, multidisciplinary care, and other areas. The voice of Integrated Health members is strengthened by having two Integrated Health voting members on the ASMBS Executive Council. No other surgical society enjoys this level of collaboration and integration among its professionally-diverse members. The Integrated Health Professionals are fully incorporated into the surgeons’ segment of the society’s organizational framework as evidence by this chart:
Increase awareness of the importance of an integrated multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of obesity. Optimize patient access to comprehensive and long-term bariatric and metabolic surgical health care.
Promote a better understanding of the role of the integrated health professionals in bariatric and metabolic surgery.
Be the recognized authority on the integrated multidisciplinary approach to caring for the bariatric and metabolic surgical patient.
Improve outcome through the multidisciplinary approach that care for patient 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.
Generated an Integrated Health portion of the ASMBS website to be launched in 2016, creating a space for integrated health professionals to find information, news, and resources
Developed a video to encourage members to become leaders and peruse professional development
Produced electronic membership applications
Developed a retention survey for non-renewing members
Created an IH Membership welcome letter with overview of membership benefits
Developed a letter to surgeon members and hospital administrator promoting allied health membership by focusing on the attributes it can bring to their programs and hospitals
Hosted a membership drive at the IH Health Expo at Annual Conference
Established and maintained a presence in social media
Completed a communications needs assessment
Created a letter to hospital administration from ASMBS leadership endorsing and promoting social media in professional networking and patient/program outreach was approved by the IHEC and ready for dissemination
Two IHCC members were elected sit on the surgeon’s communication committee and website development task force
Reviewed and revised outreach letters
The IH Membership Chair was invited to join and serve on the Organizational Membership Committee
A keynote speaker was chosen for the IH Program Main Session
Reviewed all IH membership applications submitted monthly, with approximately 300 applications reviewed since July 2010
Developed strategies to identify and respond to emerging issues
Cultivated a knowledgeable, skilled and empowered membership inclusive of all integrated health specialties
Integrated health members see many benefits, from reduced registration fees at educational events to leadership opportunities at the local and national level. Visit our membership information page for more information on joining ASMBS.