Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA
PresidentDr. Craig Primack is co-director and co-founder of the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Scottsdale, AZ. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Primack received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Banner University Phoenix Campus and Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona. In 2012, Dr. Primack received the Dr. Vernon B. Astler Award and in 2015, Dr. Primack received the Dr. Raymond E. Dietz Meritorious Service Award from OMA.
Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FOMA
Past PresidentDr. Wendy Scinta is a nationally recognized expert on adult and childhood obesity treatment. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at SUNY Upstate, Diplomate of the American Board of Family Physicians and the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Her recent awards include Bariatrician of the Year (OMA-2012), Physician of the Year (NY Business Journal-2013), America’s Top Doctors (CRCA-2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), and Dr. Vernon B. Astler Award for Advancing the Obesity Medicine Association in Media, Government and the Medical Community (OMA-2016). Dr. Scinta’s BOUNCE childhood obesity program has been researched and implemented internationally. Her practice, Medical Weight Loss of New York, has treated thousands of individuals with overweight and obesity, from 4 to 84 years of age, helping several lose in excess of 200 pounds.
Dr. Scinta holds several patents in the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and is the founder of One Stone Technology, a startup software company that recently won the Medical Device and Innovation Competition at the Syracuse Biotechnology Accelerator Building. Its first product, Agate, is a focused on automated and personalized text messaging with algorithms that support scalable coaching for patients trying to lose and maintain weight loss.
Dr. Scinta has been featured as the weight loss expert for the Steve Harvey Show and has appeared on CNN, Voice of America, John Tesh Intelligence for Your Health, Say Yes To the Dress: Big Bliss Edition on TLC, and PBS, as well as in print including AMA News, The Denver Post, MD News, Newsday, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Prevention Magazine, Shape Magazine, Web MD, Woman’s Day, and Woman's Health Magazine, among many others. Dr. Scinta also appeared in the 2014 documentary, “Carb Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat.”
Dr. Scinta is passionate about fighting obesity in minority communities. Through her foundation, Dora’s Dream, Dr. Scinta is focused on preventing and reversing obesity in minority communities through Food, Fitness, Family, and Faith.
Ethan Lazarus, MD, FOMA
President-ElectDr. Ethan Lazarus is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, and a Fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association. He runs Clinical Nutrition Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado, where he has practiced full-time obesity medicine since 2004.
As our OMA delegate at the American Medical Association (AMA), Dr. Lazarus advocated successfully for the recognition of obesity as a disease in 2013. Subsequently, he has introduced and passed policies to improve obesity education, reduce weight bias, and eliminate barriers to providing obesity care. In recognition of these achievements, the OMA has granted him several awards, including the Dr. Peter G. Lindner Award in 2017, the Obesity Medicine Clinician of the Year in 2015, and the Dr. Vernon B. Astler Award in 2013.
Dr. Lazarus has personally built and implemented a full electronic health record and practice management system and is able to track in real-time all of his patient outcomes. He uses this data to improve both patient care and the patient and staff experience in his clinic.
When not at the office or at OMA and AMA events, Dr. Lazarus is happily married with three small children. He is also an accomplished cellist and co-founder of the Grand Tango duo.
Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA
Vice PresidentDr. Angela Fitch is the associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Dr. Fitch worked for Procter and Gamble as a product development engineer for two years before she decided to follow her passion and go to medical school. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and then went on to do a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospitals. After her four-year residency, Dr. Fitch was chief resident in internal medicine for another year.
Dr. Fitch then moved to Minnesota to be a primary care physician for eight years for Fairview Health Systems. There she developed her skills and passion for treating obesity in the primary care setting and also developed a medical home model and new system of primary care delivery. While working as a primary care physician, she also worked at the University of Minnesota Pediatric Weight Management Clinic treating children ages 4-18 who struggled with obesity.
In 2012, Dr. Fitch became the medical director for the Metabolic Health and Weight Management Clinic at Park Nicollet Clinic and began practicing bariatric medicine full time. That same year, she became a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM). Dr. Fitch helped create a multidisciplinary medical surgical weight center at the University of Cincinnati and was the medical director of the Executive Health Program and Vice President of Primary Care before moving to Boston to join the MGH Weight Center. She currently is serving as Vice President of OMA and has previously served as secretary/treasurer and trustee on OMA's board of trustees, the 2015-2016 chair of the clinical management of obesity section of The Obesity Society, and a member of the ABOM writing committee. In 2016, Dr. Fitch received the Dr. Peter G. Lindner Award from OMA, and in 2017, she was recognized as OMA's Obesity Medicine Clinician of the Year.
Lydia C. Alexander, MD, FOMA
Secretary/TreasurerDr. Lydia C. Alexander practices obesity medicine as part of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Weight Management group in San Francisco, CA. She is a fellow and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and presently obtaining certification as a Culinary Medicine Specialist from the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine from Tulane Medical School. Dr. Alexander received her B.A. from Tufts University in International Relations and Spanish with a minor in Political Science and her M.D. from UC Davis School of Medicine. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and received her residency training at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, where she was also Chief Resident. Dr. Alexander was the recipient of the 2018 Obesity Medicine Clinician of the Year Award and the 2019 Dr. Raymond E. Dietz Meritorious Service Award.
Dr. Alexander is passionate about the practice of obesity medicine and committed to working with the Obesity Medicine Association to further it's mission, including educating primary care providers about the benefits of taking a weight-centric approach when addressing chronic diseases. Dr. Alexander is the Board Liaison for the Outreach Committee as well as the Speaker's Bureau.
She credits her mentor, Dr. Carla Callao, also an ABOM diplomate, with introducing her to this highly fulfilling field of medicine where doctors focus on treating the “roots, not the fruits” of disease. Nothing beats the feeling of managing a patient with metabolic syndrome and the carbohydrate intolerance of type 2 diabetes/prediabetes and seeing the improvement of blood glucose, hypertension, sleep, movement, and mental health with the concomitant positive effect on long-term patient health outcomes.
In her free time, Dr. Alexander loves to be with her four children, husband, and dog. She ran competitive track and field through college and still enjoys running the annual family Spartan Race, practicing martial arts with her boys, and of course, cooking!
Harold Bays, MD, FOMA, FTOS, FACC, FACE, FNLA
Trustee, Chief Science OfficerDr. Harold Bays is Medical Director and President of the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, and has served as a Principal Investigator for over 500 clinical trials. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, as well as Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. Dr. Bays has authored well over 200 peer review articles, and authored / coauthored / presented hundreds of abstracts at scientific meetings. He has served as scientific writer of the OMA Obesity Algorithm (slides and eBook) each year since its beginning in 2013. Dr. Bays was awarded the Obesity Medicine Clinician of the Year Award (2016), the Committee Leadership Award (2014), and the Dr. Peter G. Lindner Award (2019).
Marisa Censani, MD
TrusteeDr. Marisa Censani is the Director of the Pediatric Obesity Program in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital. She founded the Kids and Teens Healthy Weight Program at her institution, where she has developed after-school nutritional sessions for families and collaborated with various sub-specialists in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. She has served as chairperson of OMA’s Pediatric Committee, is a member on the OMA CME Review Committee and CME Planning Committee, and is co-author of OMA’s Pediatric Obesity Algorithm. As a member of the obesity certification course subcommittee of the Pediatric Endocrine Society Obesity Committee, she has contributed to the development and implementation of an extensive pediatric obesity course syllabus available nationally to healthcare practitioners. As an obesity medicine specialist, her goal is to address obesity and its comorbidities and to provide treatment and education for her patients and their families.
As principal investigator in several obesity-related research projects, she has published original articles in peer-reviewed journals pertaining to her research and has presented her work at both national and international conferences. Dr. Censani has been a featured speaker in Endocrine Society Annual Meeting news conferences on vitamin D and obesity, and her research has been reported in numerous media outlets, including Medscape, Medpage Today, Endocrine News, Clinical Endocrinology News, Science News, and Science Daily. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology and is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. In 2018, she received the Committee Leadership Award from OMA.
Sandra Christensen, MSN, ARNP, FOMA
TrusteeSandra Christensen is a board-certified nurse practitioner and has specialized in obesity treatment since 2005. She owns Integrative Medical Weight Management in Seattle, Washington, where she provides personalized, comprehensive obesity treatment. She holds the Certificate of Advanced Education in Obesity Medicine from OMA.
Ms. Christensen speaks on the topic of obesity at national, state, and local conferences and webinars, and is involved in projects and initiatives that educate clinicians about obesity treatment and advocate for access to care. She is a contributing author of the Obesity Algorithm and spearheaded the creation of the OMA Speakers Bureau. For the past several years, Ms. Christensen has served on the OMA CME Planning & Overview Committees, the NP/PA Committee, and has mentored several clinicians. She was the 2018 recipient of the Dr. Raymond E. Dietz Meritorious Service Award and the 2019 Committee Leadership Award.
Ms. Christensen has dedicated herself to educating others about the complexities of obesity. Through clinical practice, speaking, writing, and advocacy, she empowers clinicians to address obesity with knowledge and compassion.
Krishna Doniparthi, MD, FAARM, FOMA
TrusteeDr. Krishna Doniparthi is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board-certified in family medicine and functional medicine (Fellow). He did his residency in family medicine at the University of Alabama, where he was chief resident. Before residency, he published research on pediatric anaplastic thyroid cancer at USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland. Besides obesity medicine, his functional medicine focus is on lipid membrane therapy for neurological conditions, auto-immune, gut microbiome balance, genetic metabolism, and nutrigenomics. In 2013, Dr. Doniparthi was awarded the Committee Leadership Award from OMA.
Michelle Freshwater, MD, FOMA
TrusteeDr. Michelle Freshwater is a co-owner and obesity medicine specialist at Idaho Weight Loss in Boise, Idaho. She received her B.A. in Human Biology and M.D. from University of Kansas. She completed her residency training at Via Christi Family Medicine in Wichita, Kansas.
Dr. Freshwater is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine since 2008. She has exclusively practiced obesity medicine at Idaho Weight Loss since 2005. She has served on the Obesity Medicine Association's Advocacy Committee and looks forward to continuing to be an advocate for physicians and patients as a board trustee of the OMA.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Freshwater stays active enjoying all that Idaho has to offer with her husband and two young sons.
Larry Richardson, MD, MFOMA
TrusteeAfter completing medical school, Dr. Richardson began his specialty career as an emergency medicine physician. He enjoyed the satisfaction and adrenaline rush of working with patients needing acute care. However, over time he noticed a disturbing trend of younger and younger patients coming to the emergency room with diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes. Many of those individuals had excess weight or obesity. He came to realize that a better way for him to treat such patients would be to help them reduce their weight before they developed the medical complications (including death) that he was seeing in the emergency department.
As a result, he embarked upon educating himself in the field of medical weight management so that he could become both a teacher and a deliverer of better preventive health care. Knowing that even top athletes benefit by having a good coach, Dr. Richardson tries to be the best coach for all his patients. In his quest for knowledge and training, he joined the Obesity Medicine Association (previously the American Society of Bariatric Physicians), whereby he eventually led as president, chairman of the board, fellow, and master fellow. He was the Bariatrician of the Year in 1996 and received the Dr. Raymond E. Dietz Meritorious Service Award in 2010.
Dr. Richardson has taken and passed the specialty testing for advanced obesity certification, which allowed him to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Part of his current mission now is to train other doctors in treating obesity and its associated medical complications. He tries to have his patients not only focus on a specific number on the scale, but to teach them healthy lifestyles and habits that will sustain them and their families throughout life. His emphasis is not on dieting as much as it is on healthy eating, appropriate exercise, and behavior changes. His program has been in place for over 30 years of actual practice, resulting in many thousands of patient success stories!
Wickham Simonds, MD, FOMA
TrusteeDr. Simonds is the founder of Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss and currently practices obesity medicine with offices in Durham and Raleigh. Dr. Simonds is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He was chief resident during his residency in emergency medicine at Penn State University/York Hospital. Dr. Simonds received his MD from East Carolina University after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BS in biology from Campbell University. He received the Dr. Raymond E. Dietz Meritorious Service Award from OMA in 2017.
He was raised in Durham, NC, and he has served his country in the U.S. Army with duty stations in Korea, Louisiana, and Iraq. The latter involved deployments in (1) 1990 and 1991 for Operation Desert Shield and Storm, (2) 2003 to Southern Iraq in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and (3) 2005 to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Allen Rader, MD, MFOMA
Ex OfficioDr. Allen Rader began his medical practice in 1982 practicing as a family physician in rural Kentucky for two years. He transitioned to Emergency Medicine for the next 14 years. He became interested in the field of obesity medicine when he realized the emergency cases of cardiovascular events in younger adults had a high prevalence of obesity. He changed his field of interest and has practiced full-time obesity medicine since 1999. Dr. Rader was the 245th MD to achieve board certification in obesity medicine.
In his medical practice, his offices have helped over 24,000 patients lose over 614,000 pounds medically. He developed a clerkship program and has helped over 80 clinicians new to obesity medicine get started in their own practices. He developed an EMR and office software program specific to obesity medicine, allowing the tracking of weight loss and health parameters. He has given over 20 lectures nationally and was invited to present at the European Obesity Conference in Lyon, France.
He has served the association in numerous committees, task forces, and leadership positions on the Board of Trustees. He was awarded Bariatrician of the Year in 2007 and was awarded Master Fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association.