MEET THE DIPLOMATE

diana thiara, md

 

 - American Board of Obesity MedicineDr. Diana Thiara is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. She is the medical director of the UCSF Weight Management program as well as the Program Director of the UCSF Obesity Medicine Fellowship. Her main scholarly interests are in medical education as well as patient programming for lifestyle change and weight management – she runs a Culinary Medicine program at UCSF and has also created a virtual curriculum for lifestyle change for patients with obesity. She has been interviewed by local and national news organizations to discuss issues in obesity medicine, including KQED, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. She also lectures nationally to primary care providers about medical and surgical weight loss. Dr. Thiara graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed Internal Medicine Residency and fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification? I chose to pursue obesity medicine certification because I wanted to provide my patients with the most evidenced-based care possible.

Many doctors have told us about the “aha” moment that stimulated their interest in obesity medicine. Do you have an obesity medicine “aha” moment that sticks out in your memory? I was exposed to an Obesity Medicine elective as a 4th year medical student, and I knew after that experience, that I wanted to be an Obesity Medicine specialist. I saw that practicing good obesity medicine was the ultimate form of personalized medicine – you have to understand your patient on a deep and personal level and work with them to come up with long-term care plans.

How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice? I am the Medical Director of the UCSF Medical Weight Management Program as well as the fellowship director for the UCSF Obesity Medicine Fellowship. I regularly see patients, focus on clinical operations for our practice, and work on medical education in the Obesity Medicine and nutrition space.

What is your greatest success story so far? Because I work at a major academic center, we receive referrals from our colleagues in various transplant departments. Patients with obesity or excess weight often have to lose a certain amount of weight to be listed for transplant. My greatest success story has been working with a patient with lung disease who needed to lose weight to be listed for transplant. We worked very closely and focused on lifestyle change plus anti-obesity medications. She lost so much weight that her pulmonary function improved, and she ultimately has not needed a transplant.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your practice? The biggest challenge we face is not enough access for patients. There are access issues when it comes to establishing care with clinicians, engaging in lifestyle change interventions, and attaining anti-obesity medications.

What do you wish other physicians knew about treating obesity? Obesity is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment.


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