Obesity Medicine: Increasingly Valuable in Healthcare and Innovation

October 6, 2014

Guest blog by: Dana Brittan, MBA
Executive Director, American Board of Obesity Medicine

What is an Obesity Medicine Physician?

  • An obesity medicine physician is a physician with expertise in the sub-specialty of obesity medicine. This sub-specialty requires competency in and a thorough understanding of the treatment of obesity and the genetic, biologic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity.
  • The obesity medicine physician employs therapeutic interventions including diet, physical activity, behavioral change, and pharmacotherapy.
  • The obesity medicine physician utilizes a comprehensive approach, and may include additional resources such as nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and bariatric surgeons as indicated to achieve optimal results.
  • Additionally, the obesity medicine physician maintains competency in providing pre- peri- and post-surgical care of bariatric surgery patients, promotes the prevention of obesity, and advocates for those who suffer from obesity.

Over the past three years, the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) has continuously increased the rigor and professionalism of the examination process. This year the ABOM has fully transitioned to the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) as its psychometric vendor and has launched an online application portal. The NBME upholds the highest standards in the industry and is the organization that oversees the Step exams for medical students. As a result, the quality of examination questions, the professionalism of the testing centers and the efficiency and ease of application submittal and processing have all substantially improved.

We are also extremely gratified by the overwhelming interest among physicians in becoming ABOM certified. The application process for the 2014 examination was completed in mid-September. Over 425 physician candidates submitted applications. This is a 40 percent increase in the number of candidates from 2013. The increase in the number of candidates speaks volumes to the work the organization is doing to mirror the standards of American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized boards. The ABOM Board of Directors and Staff are dedicated to raising awareness about the field of obesity medicine and the opportunity for certification. All ABOM Diplomates are encouraged to promote awareness of the ABOM and the heightened competency that comes with the achievement of certification.

Update on pharmacotherapy
In the clinical arena, it is important to acknowledge two new exciting developments from the FDA. On September 10th, the FDA approved a new drug treatment, Contrave(tm), for the long-term medical treatment of obesity in adults. Contrave (combination of naltrexone sustained release [SR] and bupropion [SR]) is a drug developed by Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. and will be marketed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. It is expected to be available on pharmacy shelves this fall. On September 11th an expert advisory committee appointed by the FDA voted by an overwhelming margin of 14-1 to recommend approval of liraglutide 3mg (proposed brand name Saxenda(r) manufactured by Novo Nordisk) for obesity treatment. The next step for this medication will be a final ruling by the FDA, which is due in October. Currently, liraglutide is approved and marketed under the brand name Victoza(r) at doses of 0.6, 1.2, and 1.8mg for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

2015 ABOM Certification Examination
2015 ABOM Certification Examination will be administered December 5 - December 12, 2015.

Early Application Deadline: July 13, 2015

Final Application Deadline: August 24, 2015