The ASBS needed to rise as the champion for the care of the severely obese. The NIH Consensus conference supported our thesis of the surgical control of an incurable disease. We needed to stand up and fight on many fronts to make our goals possible:
- The need to strengthen our membership from all who do obesity procedures (Academe) and to provide attraction of new blood from residents in training.
- The need to be proactive in terms of malpractice and hospital restrictions and to communicate our standards and guidelines to the public.
- The need for quality data and performance relative to risk became a maxim.
Tolerant resolution over choice of procedure became critical. Programmatic recognition by ACS, SSAT and SAGES of our papers was essential. Insurance rebuttal, coding and access denials, and the need to stand up for the obese against lay and professional bias and prejudices became upfront challenges. Though there is still much to do, much has been gained! My presidential prediction at the tenth anniversary was that in ten years we would be the go to people to solve the obesity problem and all of the co-morbidities.
Boyd E. Terry, MD