Letter from the Executive Director: TOS Heads to Democratic & Republican National Conventions

July 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Later this month, representatives from TOS will be heading to Philadelphia and Cleveland for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. While there, we hope to encourage all individuals – regardless of political affiliation – to take a stand to understand and support patients with the serious, but treatable disease of obesity. Obesity is not a lifestyle disease addressed simply by diet and exercise alone, and our goal is to help Americans understand the multiple genetic, biologic, metabolic, behavioral, social, economic and cultural determinants that have driven obesity to epidemic levels.

Novo Nordisk is hosting a luncheon at the conventions in which TOS will participate along with other members of the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN), a diverse group of organizations that have come together to influence change in the U.S. healthcare system by urging policymakers to recognize that obesity is a complex chronic disease that deserves to be treated seriously in the same fashion as other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. OCAN recently developed a one-page handout with overview information about its mission, vision and goals that will help convention attendees visualize how these leading organizations are coming together to implement a national change. The handout will be available soon on the OCAN website.

At TOS, we continue to encourage the treatment of obesity as a serious disease through our Treat Obesity Seriously campaign. One of the best ways you can support the campaign is by signing the pledge to treat obesity seriously. Each signature supports TOS’s efforts to educate care providers, policymakers and the public on the need to recognize obesity as a serious disease.

You can also make a difference by sending a letter to your state representatives through TOS’s Advocacy Action Center. From this page, you can send a letter directly to Congress encouraging them to support the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) and Essential Health Benefit (EHB) coverage of obesity treatments. With just the click of a button, you can help facilitate the passage of policies at both the state and federal levels that improve coverage of and access to obesity treatments.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to those of you who have already supported us in this important endeavor, and I encourage anyone who has not yet taken action to do so today. By aligning in this mission, we can make a difference for the millions affected by this chronic disease.


Francesca Dea
Executive Director, The Obesity Society

Letter from the President: Spotlight on Early Career Professionals at ObesityWeek 2016

June 22, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Now that registration for ObesityWeekSM 2016 is officially open, I’m pleased to highlight some of the planned activities designed specifically for early career professionals in attendance. Advancing the careers of early career researchers and clinicians is a top priority for TOS, and one that we have worked diligently toward during the past several years. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about them and share the details with your friends and colleagues who may be interested in participating. One of the best things about ObesityWeek are the many opportunities for early career professionals to interact with scientists, clinicians and professionals across a range of specialty areas and career stages.

Tuesday, Nov. 1: Early Career Academic Workshop
This free, TOS pre-conference workshop has something for everyone who is in academia or anyone considering an academic path. This year, we are honored to have Dr. David Allison from the University of Alabama at Birmingham present at the workshop. Dr. Allison is an Associate Dean for Science, Director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the Office of Energetics, and the Principal Investigator on several training grants. The Academic Workshop will also include a roundtable session with discussions and hands-on activities.

Finally, you can get a head start on networking at ObesityWeek with a meet-and-greet session at the Workshop with representatives from TOS’s Sections, the Early Career Member Committee and TOS Fellows.

Wednesday, Nov. 2: Early Career Industry Panel & Reception
All ObesityWeek attendees are welcome to attend this free discussion and Q&A with industry leaders who have successfully applied their scientific and/or clinical skills to build careers in industry. The event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6:30pm-7:30pm. A reception with refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will follow from 7:30pm - 8:30pm.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, Nov. 2 – 4: ObesityWeek Education Theater
Last year was the first time TOS held this all-new poster competition for early career professionals. Each day, top poster abstract authors will get five minutes to present their research on the education theater stage. This opportunity allows early career abstract submitters to practice presenting their research and allow senior researchers to offer constructive feedback. Join us in the exhibit hall Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 12:30pm-1:00pm, Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6:30pm-7:00pm, and Friday, Nov. 4 from 12:30pm-1:00pm to vote on the best poster abstracts. Keep an eye out in the eNews and for additional details about the selection and live voting process.

Early Career Research Grants & Awards
TOS offers our awards and grants program as a member service to foster and stimulate new research ideas in any area of investigation related to obesity. The following awards and grants are offered specifically for early career members. Two exciting grant opportunities will become available in the near future.

Application period opening soon:

  • The Early Career Research Grant targets junior-level investigators and postdoctoral trainees by funding proposals that demonstrate a high likelihood of resulting in new and innovative approaches in obesity research. A call for applications will go out in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for more information.
  • The Early Career Grant Challenge is an opportunity for one early career member to receive a large research grant at TOS’s Opening Session at ObesityWeek 2016, Nov. 1 from 5:00 – 6:30pm. TOS will be issuing a call for applicants in the coming weeks for early career members to submit LOIs about their research for a chance to win a large research grant. Five finalists will be selected to present at the Opening Session for a chance to walk away with the funding. Keep an eye out for more details in TOS eNews and at

Application period closed; winners announced at ObesityWeek 2016:

  • The Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award recognizes excellence in research by young investigators based on their submitted abstracts and presentation during ObesityWeek. Five finalists are selected as part of the abstract review process. Each finalist will receive up to $1,000 to cover Annual Meeting expenses. The award is presented during a plenary session at which the five finalists are invited to present their oral abstracts. The recipient will be announced at the conclusion of the session and will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize. The application period for this award is now closed.
  • The Bench to Bedside Award is a recently established early career travel grant created by 2014 Atkinson-Stern recipient, Martin Binks, PhD, FTOS, which is open to all early career TOS members in attendance at ObesityWeek. Currently TOS Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Binks established the award to create a path to travel funding for early career professionals working in all areas of obesity, as treatment and prevention require an integrated, multipronged approach. The award includes two $1,000 annual travel grants. Recipients are chosen on-site based on a simple lottery.
  • The George A. Bray Master’s Thesis & Doctoral Dissertation Awards recognize two students for their complete master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation (respectively) that was successfully defended in the current year (between April 1, 2015 and March 30, 2016). Applications will be judged by a committee of three members based on: significance, relevance/potential impact in the field of obesity, scientific methodology, writing quality, overall approach and scope and innovation. Each recipient receives $1,500 travel and registration for the Annual Meeting plus a $500 cash award. The winners will be announced at ObesityWeek during the George Bray Founders Award Lecture. The application period for this award is now closed.

Application period closed; winners announced later in 2016:

  • The Pat Simons Travel Grants offer a number of $1,000 travel grants to support young investigator attendance at the Annual Meeting. Barbara Rolls, PhD, TOS past President, created these special grants after losing her mother, Pat Simons, to an obesity related disease. The application period for these grants is now closed.
  • The Weight Watchers Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is a two-year postdoctoral fellowship program from TOS and Weight Watchers that will provide training and research experience in obesity within an industry context. This fellowship provides access to a Weight Watchers scientist mentor, Gary Foster, PhD, who will: 1) guide the postdoc's research, 2) immerse the postdoc in industry experiences, and 3) expose and train the postdoc in the overall culture of industry scientific research.  The application period for this Fellowship is now closed.
  • The Fellowship Sponsored by Pfizer is a Postdoctoral Fellowship (PhD or MD) from TOS and Pfizer for a two-year period totaling $150,000, with an option of a third year. The funds provided are to be used for salary support of the mentee and the research project. The fellowship will focus on central control of obesity, with an emphasis on mechanistic studies to deepen our basic understanding of the homeostatic and reward neurocircuitries underlying food intake. The application period for this Fellowship is now closed.

I look forward to sharing more details about these and the many other exciting events taking place at ObesityWeek 2016 in the coming months.


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society

Letter from the Executive Director: Support National Obesity Care Week and Treat Obesity Seriously

June 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our planning for ObesityWeek 2016, TOS looking is also looking forward to co-hosting the second annual National Obesity Care Week, Oct. 31 - Nov. 4, 2016, a campaign that seeks to ignite a national movement to ensure anyone affected by obesity receives respectful and comprehensive care. Last year, TOS was pleased to introduce the campaign along with our partners the Obesity Action Coalition, Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and we were thrilled to have more than 30 like-minded organizations from across the healthcare industry sign on to the campaign. This year, it is our goal to bring awareness of the campaign to an even broader scale and attain support from additional organizations. We feel confident that this year’s efforts will take us one step closer to reaching our goal of achieving better obesity care. Mark your calendars and join us in recognizing National Obesity Care Week, Oct. 31 - Nov. 4.

In addition to National Obesity Care Week, we continue to encourage the treatment of obesity as a serious disease like heart disease and cancer through our Treat Obesity Seriously campaign. This effort is intended to provide clinicians with tools to prevent, diagnose and treat obesity. TOS has created free materials for clinicians to integrate into their practices, which you can order by filling out the electronic request form on the Treat Obesity Seriously website (scroll to the bottom of the page).

One of the best ways for everyone to support the campaign is by signing the pledge to treat obesity seriously. Each signature supports TOS’s efforts to educate care providers, policymakers and the public on the need to recognize obesity as a serious disease. A signature can also help facilitate the passage of policies at both the state and federal levels that improve coverage of and access to obesity treatments.

I would like to take a moment to offer our gratitude to thousands who have already supported these two important campaigns, and appeal to those of you who have not yet taken action. With your support we are excited to see what our combined efforts this year can accomplish.


Francesca Dea
Executive Director, The Obesity Society

Letter from the President: ObesityWeekSM 2016 Features Genetics of Obesity Expert, All-New Moderated Poster Tours

March 18, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

With the planning for The Obesity Society meeting at ObesityWeek 2016 well underway, I’m pleased to announce some exciting updates that I’m really looking forward to in New Orleans. Our program is sure to offer you cutting-edge obesity research from basic science and clinical research to population and policy research.

For our keynote this year, we’ll be joined by genetics of obesity expert, Professor Sadaf Farooqi  PhD, FRCP, FMedSci, Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories. In her work, Dr. Farooqi is applying a genetic approach to help patients with early onset obesity. She identified the first single gene defect to cause human obesity in patients with a mutation in the leptin gene, published in Nature in 1997, where she described the dramatic response of these patients to leptin therapy. I hope you’ll join me at ObesityWeek 2016 for her talk on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 8 – 9:30am CT. I am also very excited about Kelly Brownell’s Track 6 presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 5:15 – 6:15pm CT, where he will be discussing the “The Deepening Need to Connect Obesity to Broader Food System and Food Policy Issues.”

For 2016, TOS and ASMBS worked together to create an hour-long discussion session designed to engage the full spectrum of membership: basic scientists, neuroscientists, clinicians, surgeons, population researchers and policy makers. The session will include a panel of leading scientists and clinicians from TOS and ASMBS who will discuss a challenging case study with involvement from the audience. The case will touch on complex issues related to surgery, weight loss and regain, and insurance coverage of several different treatment modalities.

Our program committee has developed an exciting slate of symposia, debates and keynotes, many of which have come from membership suggestions and submissions. In addition to track-specific sessions, we have a number of really exciting cross-track offerings. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about ObesityWeek 2016.

As I’ve shared previously, TOS is also excited to host two Poster Education Theaters in the ObesityWeek 2016 Exhibit Hall featuring author presentations of top-scoring abstracts. As in 2015, one of these stages will be dedicated to recognizing early career authors who will pitch their research in a live competition. The audience will elect the prize-winning abstracts. Given the success of the 2015 poster theater, we have added a second poster theater. All top-ranking abstract submitters will be eligible to present on the all-new, second poster education stage. 

We have also added a new moderated poster tour format for top-scoring abstracts. Leading TOS clinicians and scientists will moderate these poster sessions that will allow poster presenters to present the highlights of his/her work followed by a moderated session and Q&A from attendees. Keep an eye on the horizon for additional information about which leading researchers and clinicians will be hosting these tours and when. 

Finally, I’m pleased to share that we had a great response during our abstract submission period, with nearly 750 submissions, and I am very excited to hear about new research findings from our members. I wish you all the best as you prepare for your research presentations at the 2016 event.


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society

Letter from the Executive Director: Become a member of TOS and join others committed to ending the obesity epidemic

May 11, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Here at TOS, we firmly believe that membership with our Society is an integral part of developing the careers of individuals working to end the obesity epidemic. Whether you are a basic or clinical researcher, physician or clinical care provider, educator, public health and policy professional or anyone else working to end obesity, TOS can connect you with others in the field and help advance your career.

Over the past few years, TOS has worked to ensure membership is achievable to all professionals – regardless of how far along they are in their careers – as outlined in our five-year Strategic Plan. We recognize that professionals early in their careers are the future of TOS.

Now, we are pleased to announce the creation of our new early career membership category for those who have recently completed their degree and started a professional career. Post-doctorates, medical residents, clinicians-in-training, scientists-in-training, junior faculty and any others who have completed a doctoral or medical degree within the past five years are eligible to become an early career member. Early career members can hold office and committee positions, vote for amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and elect officers and committee members. It is our hope that the creation of this new member category will encourage obesity professionals of all levels to get involved with our Society.

Many of you may also be unaware that students are eligible to join TOS for free for one year. If you are a professor or work in academia, we encourage you to make your colleagues and students aware of this valuable opportunity and invite them to join TOS for free. Once they see all that TOS has to offer, we hope they will renew their membership for the duration of their careers.

Need some help persuading people to join? Take a moment to remind them of all the benefits of TOS membership, including opportunities to:

  • Advance your career – Membership is a small investment with big rewards. Join and get discounts to attend ObesityWeekSM, exclusive access to our journal, Obesity, and much more.
  • Access to nearly 50 award and grant opportunities – TOS recognizes and rewards members each year through our prolific awards and grants program.
  • Connect with TOS members – Our social network, TOS Connect, is designed exclusively for collaboration among obesity professionals. Stay tuned for more information! TOS’s annual meeting at ObesityWeek is also a prime location to connect with peers and leaders in the field.

Find more information about joining TOS, including our membership application, here.


Francesca Dea
Executive Director, The Obesity Society

Letter from the President: IOM Roundtable on Obesity Solutions

April 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues, 

Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Roundtable on Obesity Solutions. The Roundtable was established in 2014 and was designed to engage leadership from multiple sectors to solve the obesity crisis.

The April 2016 Roundtable, entitled “The Role of Business in Multi-Sector Obesity Solutions: Working Together for Positive Change” focused on why and how the business community can be involved in obesity solutions. The Roundtable brought together leading speakers and stakeholders to provide examples of businesses engaged in obesity-related efforts with a focus on community level multi-sector collaborations. I was impressed to see employers who, rather than focusing on penalizing people with obesity, were stepping up to find meaningful solutions.

I was blown away by several innovative efforts occurring in the business community. Business leaders are increasingly feeling the need to become involved in their communities to prevent obesity through compliance, charitable efforts, strategic and systematic efforts. Several outstanding examples were presented, including a dynamic presentation by Ralph Shultz from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce who discussed the increasing attention of employers to the health and lifestyle of the potential workforce when selecting the placement of their business site locations – essentially jobs follow the workforce and a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Derek Yach spoke about the tremendous investment of food companies on developing healthier portfolios, while at the same time the government is seriously cutting investment in research on nutrition science. Dr. Yach also talked about the obesogenic profile of companies, much like we see for “green companies” relative to environmental issues. Such data on employee health will become increasingly relevant for investors and shareholders.

There were several speakers who presented examples of how businesses are engaging with communities. Ron Gifford presented the case of Indianapolis where the CEOS of the largest companies and foundations brought together 85 businesses into task forces to address obesogenic behaviors and environments with the goal of reducing obesity by 12% in 20 years. Paul Bakus from Nestle talked about leadership around healthy lifestyles and worksite incentives to increase healthy behaviors of employees. In addition, Nestle’s Creating Shared Value report for the US provides an annual scorecard for its nutrition, health and wellness, environmental sustainability and social impact commitments.

It is amazing to see the progress and attention to obesity across diverse stakeholders. Increasingly consumer demand is shifting to concern for health and lifestyle. Company profits are increasingly tied to the health not only of their employees, but also of their communities.

How can TOS researchers be involved? There is clear need for strong research in the areas of measurement and metrics as well as evaluation of these recent efforts. Companies and organizations can benefit from having scientist involvement early on to set the baseline metrics and data before changes are made. However, it is critical that independent research using credible methodologies is put into action to evaluate these changes and provide empirical evidence to take successful efforts and policies in specific cities and companies to broader scale. There is also a major need for actionable, granular, and real-time data on communities and workforce.

You can see more about the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions here.


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society

Letter from the Executive Director: TOS leaders meet with ODSP Deputy Director about dietary supplements for weight loss

April 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues

Last week, representatives from TOS had the unique opportunity to meet with Mr. Robert Durkin, Deputy Director of the new Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP) under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to offer TOS’s support and expertise on dietary supplements sold as medicinal or curative treatments for obesity.

Dietary supplements have become an important part of America’s struggle with obesity, and today 30 percent of U.S. adults report using a dietary supplement for weight loss. Unfortunately, many dietary supplements have no evidence to support the weight-loss claims that their advertisers are making, adding to the confusion surrounding safe and effective methods for weight loss.

Last fall, TOS issued a public position statement on this very topic, which was later followed by a letter from TOS President Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, to the FDA offering TOS’s support for the formation of the ODSP, a new department within the FDA charged with regulating dietary supplements.

When a group of TOS leaders were in Washington D.C. for advocacy meetings late last week, they contacted Mr. Durkin – who serves as the Deputy Director of the ODSP – to see if a meeting could be arranged. To our delight, Mr. Durkin and his team welcomed the expertise that our members brought to the table, and were happy to collaborate on this important initiative. 

The ODSP is sympathetic to the issue of dietary supplements sold as curative treatments for obesity, and urged our leadership to focus on two things: 

  1. If/when there are specific supplements on the market that TOS feels are targeting the vulnerable population of individuals with morbid obesity who are trying to lose weight, they should alert the ODSP to the product and provide any specific evidence of unfair marketing.
  2. TOS should focus on working to make consumers aware that false products may be available on the market, and teach them how to spot these types of supplements before making a purchase. The FDA has published guidelines for this purpose as well. 

With this new plan in place, we are excited to offer to our scientific knowledge to the ODSP, and plan to work closely with our partner organization the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) to help teach consumers about potentially harmful or ineffective dietary supplements that are on the market.

While the ODSP was interested in starting a dialogue with TOS and exploring strategies for working together in the future, they noted that progress can be slow, and that strategies for addressing these issues are bound by the rules and guidelines set forth by the FDA.

At any rate, we are extremely grateful to Mr. Durkin and his team at ODSP for helping us take strides to protect the public from any false claims regarding efficacy and safety of dietary supplements. We also thank our leadership for setting up and attending this important meeting in Washington.


Francesca Dea
Executive Director, The Obesity Society

Letter from the President: Amazing opportunity for abstracts submitted to ObesityWeekSM 2016, Making the most of your abstract submission by submitting your work for consideration for a special Obesity issue

March 23, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The ObesityWeek call for abstracts is rapidly approaching: the abstract submission site will open on April 1, 2016 and close May 2, 2016. As you prepare to submit your abstract for this year’s ObesityWeek, you are also likely developing your work for a submitted manuscript. If you are, you should consider submitting your full manuscript for consideration for the 4th annual Obesity Journal Symposium (open until June 1). The editors of our journal are looking for the year’s top papers to showcase during this special event held during ObesityWeek. So, submitting both an abstract and a full journal manuscript will give you the opportunity for rapid publication of your work and increased attention from your colleagues.

Young investigators and experienced researchers alike are welcome to submit their current work in any area of obesity research for the annual competition. Four winners will be selected to present their findings during the Symposium at ObesityWeek, which will be held Wed., Nov. 2, 3:30 – 5:00pm. The winning papers will also be featured in a special section of Obesity – prime real estate on the first pages of the November 2016 issue, with hard copies distributed on site in New Orleans. TOS also promotes the winning studies to the media and the obesity research community, as well as in our newsletters and ObesityWeek meeting materials.

This year Obesity is offering two valuable new benefits for Symposium entries. First, the four winning speakers will receive complimentary ObesityWeek registration. In addition, all papers accepted by the journal, but not chosen as winners during judging in July, will be published immediately as “Original Articles.” This is a fantastic opportunity.

The deadline for Symposium consideration is June 1, and full instructions are available here. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact the journal’s editorial staff at

Abstract submitters may be wondering whether it’s worth submitting your full paper to the journal for this special issue. What if your manuscript is not chosen as Symposium winner? What if you can’t meet the June 1 Symposium deadline? Well, go for it regardless because this year the Obesity editors are expediting the processing of journal submissions that are also ObesityWeek abstracts. You will still be able to present your abstract as a poster or oral presentation, and there may be time to get your paper accepted and published so that it appears simultaneously in the journal online during ObesityWeek. Obesity is the home for our members’ best research. Our journal is now stronger than ever under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Eric Ravussin, PhD, FTOS, and Associate Editor-in-Chief Donna Ryan, MD, FTOS, who are always looking for high-quality studies that provide important insights into the study of obesity. The entire editorial team is committed to making Obesity the pre-eminent journal in the field, and this includes getting accepted papers published online even more quickly in 2016. So be sure to send your best obesity research to Obesity.

You also may be interested in an upcoming special section in the journal’s April issue, “Statistical Issues in Obesity Research.” This special section includes three articles - with an overarching commentary by John Ioannidis - on biases in obesity research. These articles address placebo effects in obesity research, weight change among people randomized to minimal intervention control groups in weight loss trials, and a review of the 10 most common statistical errors and problems (and how to avoid them!), written by Obesity Associate Editor David B Allison et al. This is a great set of articles that will make an important contribution to obesity research.


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society

Letter from the Executive Director: Interested in earning a certification in obesity medicine? Here’s how.

March 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Seventy-three TOS members recently joined the now nearly 1,600 physicians with a certification in obesity medicine. I’m pleased to congratulate these members today and hope you will join me in recognizing them for this great accomplishment.

Have you ever thought about earning a certification in obesity medicine? Certification as a Diplomate by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) distinguishes a physician as having achieved a high level of competency and understanding in obesity care. The next ABOM exam is Dec. 3 - 10, 2016.

For those of you thinking about taking the exam here’s a bit of history: The concept of the exam was created nearly a decade ago, and put into place beginning in 2012 to address a gap between recommended obesity care and physician practice. Some of the primary reasons for this gap include: time restraints in a busy practice; very few effective treatment options and practical tools; low confidence or insufficient training in weight management skills and counseling; and concern that raising the topic will be interpreted by the patient as being insensitive.

To address this need and create standardization and increased competency in the field, TOS, along with 13 other society and organization partners, formed a steering committee that eventually led to the development of the ABOM exam.

If you’re not familiar with the process of becoming an ABOM diplomate, here’s a brief overview: First an applicant must complete the requisite training and experience qualifications, then meet the continuing medical education requirements, and finally pass a stringent certification examination. Certification periods were recently increased to 10 years and require a thorough understanding of the treatment of obesity and the genetic, biologic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors that contribute to the disease. Once certified obesity medicine physicians provide comprehensive approach to treatment to achieve optimal results, which may include support from other healthcare providers, including nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and bariatric surgeons.

To help you prepare TOS offers a Review Course for the ABOM Exam, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, where attendees can earn more than 15 CME credits. Taught by the industry's top educators, TOS’s Review Course is designed to strengthen physicians' obesity knowledge and offers sample exam questions, didactic lectures, and a 100+ page educational workbook for attendees to take home. The course is offered a pre-conference to ObesityWeek 2016, Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 in New Orleans, LA.

Be sure to keep in mind that ObesityWeek attendees may use the CME credits from the meeting to count toward their 60 CME credits required to sit for the ABOM exam, even though the conference takes place after ABOM's final application deadline of Aug. 24. In total, ObesityWeek offers attendees a chance to earn more than 30 CME credits.

Hope to see you there!


Francesca Dea
Executive Director, The Obesity Society

Letter from the President: What’s new at ObesityWeek 2016?

February 17, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The Obesity Society begins planning early in the year for our Annual Scientific Conference at ObesityWeek. The program committee braved a massive winter storm to meet in Baltimore and plan OW2016! Led by our fabulous program committee chairs, Corby Martin, PhD, and Jeff Zigman, MD, PhD, the committee put together a slate of wonderful keynotes and sessions. Get ready for some amazing science!

In addition, we’ve already set into motion several new updates for the 2016 event in New Orleans, Oct. 31 – Nov. 4. These changes have been made as part of a larger effort to increase the focus on the science of the meeting and give you – research authors and attendees – more opportunities to present and interact. Starting with the opening session, we will have a cash bar and some local New Orleans jazz to welcome you as the scientific sessions begin.

We are also planning to change TOS’s poster area of the Exhibit Hall to make it more compact and easier to navigate. Similar to the way we displayed posters prior to 2013, this year we will highlight a third of the posters each day instead of hanging all posters for the entirety of the week. This change is intended to make the most of the poster experience for both presenters and attendees.

To further improve poster navigation, TOS Council Members will personally host tours of top-scoring posters in certain subject areas. Keep an eye on the horizon for additional information about which leading researchers and clinicians will be hosting these tours and when.

TOS is also excited to host two Poster Education Theaters in the ObesityWeek 2016 Exhibit Hall featuring author presentations of top-scoring abstracts. As in 2015, one of these stages will be dedicated to recognizing early career authors who will pitch their research in a live competition. The audience will elect the prize-winning abstracts. All top-ranking abstract submitters will be eligible to present on the all-new, second poster education stage.

Are you planning to submit an abstract to TOS’s Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek? This is your chance to share your research at the leading event for obesity professionals. Information about the science at ObesityWeek reaches billions of people, and your research could be among the top featured. Mark your calendars for April 1, 2016, when the abstract submission site opens. It will remain open until May 1, 2016.

Don’t miss out on regular meeting updates – connect with ObesityWeek here.


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
President, The Obesity Society


Letter from the Executive Director: TOS Supports AICR’s Cancer Prevention Month

February, 2 2015

Dear Colleagues,

February 1 marked the start of Cancer Prevention Month, a month-long campaign led by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) that urges Americans to take evidence-based action to lower their risk of cancer. This year, TOS is pleased to partner with AICR to promote this important message.

According to AICR, fully one-third of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented if Americans moved more, weighed less and ate more healthfully. Additionally, AICR notes that the number of cancer cases due to obesity and lack of physical activity are expected to surpass those due to tobacco in 20 years. By being more active, eating better and staying at a healthy weight, the risk of cancer could decrease significantly.

As part of AICR’s month-long campaign, “Cancer Prevention: Together We Can,” TOS joins other partners in encouraging you to share the steps you’re taking to lower your cancer risk using #cancerprevention and tagging @ObesitySociety and @AICRtweets on Twitter, and joining the conversation on TOS’s and AICR’s Facebook pages. You can also learn more about the campaign on AICR’s website.

Additionally, if cancer prevention is a topic that is important to you, then I recommend joining our Obesity and Cancer Section. The purpose of this Section is to promote research, education and advocacy related to cancer, including:

  • Understanding how obesity affects etiology, prevention and management of cancer.
  • The development of effective strategies, interventions and educational efforts that may reduce the impact of obesity on cancer risk and progression.
  • Promote the dissemination of knowledge of the obesity-cancer relationship to the scientific community, clinicians and the public.

Last year, the Obesity and Cancer Section offered an annual business meeting and reception at ObesityWeekSM, where like-minded colleagues could connect with one another and numerous awards were presented by Susan G. Komen and AICR. We offer our thanks to Nadia Naser of Susan G. Komen and Susan Higginbotham, PhD, of AICR for continuing to make it possible for our members to receive these awards.

If you’re interested in something other than obesity and cancer, you may want to take a look at some of our other Sections:

Here at TOS, we are pleased to offer a wide variety of Sections for our members with similar interests, expertise or educational backgrounds to join to work together to advance the mission of the Society. We encourage you make the most of them!

Francesca Dea


Letter from the President: ObesityWeekSM 2015 news reached new heights

January 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As we plan for ObesityWeek 2016, it’s natural to think back on our many successes over the past few years. We have had a banner year in science and education and the dissemination of our work. One particular success story from ObesityWeek 2015 relates to our traditional and social media outreach efforts. During the months leading up to and following the conference, TOS reached more people than ever with information about the cutting-edge science and education presented at ObesityWeek. In fact, our metrics show we secured more than 6.7 billion impressions - or number of times a person was reached with a message about ObesityWeek. This is more than three times the number of overall impressions compared to ObesityWeek 2014. 

While the majority of the data collected showed improvements for ObesityWeek 2015, interest among the news media and the public was particularly improved - reaching more nearly 6 billion alone. People read about ObesityWeek in leading outlets including The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, TIME, NPR, AP, Reuters, HealthDay, Huffington Post. Further, we’ve also reached leading health-related publications referenced frequently by providers and researchers, including WedMD, MedPage Today, Medscape, Kaiser Health News, Healio/Endocrine Today and HealthCentral. You can find some of the leading ObesityWeek media coverage on the ObesityWeek website here.

The success in communicating ObesityWeek research to the media is due in large part to coordination by TOS Communications, our Public Affairs and abstract authors. Each year, they work diligently to identify top research presented at the meeting, and develop and issue press releases on ObesityWeek research and other news. You can find the press releases (and abstracts) from ObesityWeek 2015 here

Beyond our internal efforts, TOS closely collaborated with our partner organizations to secure approvals and coordinate simultaneous publications of papers in journals to coincide with the embargo release of abstracts. Some of these partners include the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Obesity Action Coalition. 

Additional increases are notable on our social media channels, as we’ve shared previously. With a focus on Twitter and Facebook, and the use of the hashtag #OW2015, we reached more than 38 million via these social networks alone. 

As we plan for ObesityWeek 2016, we hope you’re also preparing to submit your research to the conference when the abstract submission site opens on April 1. It will remain open through May 1, 2016. The success of our meeting depends on the outstanding science being conducted by our members. Our program committee, led by Corby Martin and Jeffrey Zigman, are hard at work planning amazing keynote speakers and scientific sessions. Our meeting is the highlight of the year, bringing together the top names in obesity research and allowing lots of opportunities for networking and learning.  We can’t wait to see you in New Orleans.

Keep an eye out for regular updates about ObesityWeek in the eNews, and on Twitter and Facebook. We’re looking forward to another successful year!



Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
The Obesity Society President

Letter from the Executive Director: Continue learning from ObesityWeek℠ 2015

January 6, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year! Now that 2015 is behind us, planning for ObesityWeek 2016, Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 in New Orleans, has accelerated. Later this month, TOS’s Annual Programming Committee will meet in-person to finalize the program for the 2016 meeting. Thank you to everyone who submitted suggestions for topic areas, symposia and potential speakers for ObesityWeek 2016. The Annual Programming Committee is reviewing your suggestions and will work them into the program as they are able.

As for ObesityWeek 2015, I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of the enduring resources at your disposal. Though the excitement from the meeting has died down, the knowledge shared at the meeting lives on in a few key places.

First, I recommend taking a look at the Potential Contributors to Obesity Infographic that was unveiled by TOS Immediate Past-President Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS, during the ObesityWeek 2015 Opening Session. The infographic is intended to represent the complexity of potential contributors to obesity by highlighting the breadth of topics that have been considered a question for investigation in the scientific literature. While the infographic is not intended to evaluate whether these are or are not contributors, or their relative importance, we hope it will broaden the public dialogue and stimulate ongoing research. We hope you will consider including the infographic in your presentations and sharing it on your social media channels; all we ask is that you do not modify it and that you fully attribute it to TOS. We are also seeking feedback on this infographic so it can evolve as new research becomes available. You can download the infographic (as a JPG, PDF, and/or PowerPoint slide) and submit your feedback at

Next, I suggest browsing through the abstracts presented at the 2015 annual meeting. All TOS’s ObesityWeek 2015 abstracts are posted on the ObesityWeek website, and you can choose to view them by day and type (e.g., oral presentations from Thursday, Nov. 5) or you can see them all in one file. From the abstract PDF documents, you can click Control + F on your keyboard to search for specific key words you are interested in reading about, or scroll through all of the abstracts. Remember to use the following citation when referencing any ObesityWeek research:

[Presenting author last name] [First initial]. [Title]. [Oral or Poster] abstract presentation at: The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeekSM 2015; November 2-6, 2015; Los Angeles, CA.

Lastly, I recommend taking a look at ObesityWeek On Demand, a CME accredited online program containing approximately 120 hours of ObesityWeek presentations from both TOS and ASMBS covering a multi-track schedule of topics including abstract presentations, partner symposia, educational courses, video sessions and more. When you sign up for ObesityWeek On Demand, you’ll get access to synced slides and audio from ObesityWeek 2015 in a convenient online media player, while also accessing online CME tests. Find out more about ObesityWeek On Demand here.

Of course additional information is always available at both the ObesityWeek and TOS websites. You might also be interested in taking a look at this Storify story that includes social media and news highlights from ObesityWeek 2015. Be sure to check it out; you might even see a familiar face or two. Feel free to share the story on your own social media handles using #OW2015 and tagging @ObesitySociety on Twitter and @The Obesity Society on Facebook.

Thank you again for helping us to make ObesityWeek 2015 such a success, and we look forward to all that the 2016 meeting in New Orleans will bring.

Francesca Dea

Letter from the President: Celebrating TOS accomplishments & planning for 2016

December 16, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Twenty-fifteen was yet another exciting year for The Obesity Society. We’ve continued to advance the awareness of obesity as a disease, a cause generously backed by the evidence-based research of our members. Further, both our new and ongoing efforts have enhanced interest in and support for our efforts. As we close out the year, the Society celebrates these accomplishments and we thank you for your support. 

While it’s impossible to list out all of our successful efforts during the past year, I’d like to highlight some of TOS’s top accomplishments. In 2015, we: 

  • Held the 3rd Annual ObesityWeekSM Conference bringing together 5200+ obesity professionals to share innovation and scientific breakthroughs in the field in more than 1,000 presentations of new research
  • Launched several new initiatives to nurture the careers of early career researchers and clinicians, and pay it forward with an all-time high of 49 award and grant opportunities for our members
  • Made progress toward federal support of obesity treatment, including action by the Department of Labor to rule out general exclusions for obesity treatment under ACA, as well as state-based efforts to expand treatment coverage under benchmark plans
  • Dramatically enhanced the Society’s visibility and connections among our partner organizations, the news media and on social media:
    • Established ongoing partnerships with more than 20 organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
    • Redesigned and launched our website to include a simplified design, improved navigation and the planned launch of our social community, TOS Connect
    • Increased our social media engagement by 77% - the third consecutive year of a more than 50% increase; secured more than 36.5 million impressions (messages reaching an individual) over a two-week period with the use of the ObesityWeek hashtag, #OW2015, on Twitter alone 
    • Continued efforts to improve public education, including the launch of the first-ever National Obesity Care Week and ongoing Treat Obesity Seriously efforts.

As we move into the new year, I look forward to capitalizing on this momentum and leading the charge to harness the Society's strengths, which include:

  • Synergies in science across basic, neuroscience, clinical, population, and policy research
  • Giving back through the Society’s grants and awards campaign 
  • Strong engagement of our leadership and volunteers 
  • And truly making a difference in the way we view, manage, prevent and treat obesity!

I also challenge you, our members and partners, to further strengthen your work to achieve the goals as set out in the Society's five-year strategic plan by:

  • Doing as much as we can to enhance the science of obesity
  • Networking and outreach to lead the charge and make a difference for obesity management, prevention and treatment 
  • Advancing clinical and education efforts with integration of basic and population science 
  • Enhancing translation and outreach in support of public health 
  • Improving development to push science forward 
  • And capitalizing on our momentum to continue to nurture and support the careers of our early career professionals.

We hope you'll continue to engage with us in the coming year and find new ways to get involved. Visit our website to join a TOS Section, connect with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), find out more about member benefits (if you’re not yet a member), and much more!

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016!


Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS
The Obesity Society President

Letter from the Executive Director: Success at ObesityWeek 2015

December 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones. As the year winds down, I want to take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments during TOS’s Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek℠ 2015 in Los Angeles. This year we had a strong turnout with more than 5,200 attendees for the second year in a row, as well as groundbreaking science for TOS and ASMBS presented in more than 1,000 abstracts. You may have also noticed the substantial news coverage that comes as a result of the top-notch science submitted to the meeting combined with our staff and volunteer efforts. This year news stories ran in numerous top-tier outlets including The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, TIME, NPR, Associated Press, Reuters, HealthDay, Huffington Post, and many others.

Further, I’m pleased to share that we reached a record 36.5 million people with news and information about obesity on Twitter alone. Thank you to the 1,500 participants using the #OW2015 hashtag on Twitter, and the many more who shared on Facebook and Instagram.

The excitement of ObesityWeek does not stop with the close of the meeting. We hope you will continue to access and cite the abstracts available online, read news coverage from the meeting and interact with us on social media. On the ObesityWeek Facebook Page, you can browse through the numerous photos from the meeting; we encourage you to tag your friends and share the photos with your online community! If you had your professional photo taken by the photographer at the Exhibit Hall Photo Booth, you can find and download your photo for free here. You may also still need to claim your CME credits for ObesityWeek 2015. For TOS sessions, claim your credits here using your TOS username and login. If you are not a TOS member, access your evaluations using the "Non-Member Login." For ASMBS sessions, claim your credits here. Your username is your first name and last name (with no spaces), and your password is your email address. Please note, the email address you enter to claim your credits should be the same email address you used for ObesityWeek registration. 

With the conclusion of ObesityWeek 2015, planning for the 2016 meeting in New Orleans begins right away. We are now asking for your feedback, suggestions and opinions on ObesityWeek 2015 so we can make improvements for next year. Please fill out our ObesityWeek feedback survey here. TOS’s Annual Program Committee is also now accepting suggestions for topic areas, symposia and potential speakers for ObesityWeek 2016. We would like to invite our members and partners to submit their symposia suggestions today.

Thank you so much for all your help in ensuring ObesityWeek 2015 was a success, and we look forward to all that 2016 will bring.

Happy holidays!

Francesca Dea