ecler jaqua, md

Ecler Ercole Jaqua is an Associate Professor of Family and Geriatric Medicine and the Associate Program Director of the Loma Linda University Family Medicine Residency. She completed her family medicine residency at Loma Linda University and her geriatric medicine fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles. In addition to her board certification in Family Medicine, she is board certified in Geriatric Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine, and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Jaqua also completed a Master of Business Administration with a track in strategic leadership and received her Lifestyle Medicine Intensivist certification.

Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification? Obesity is a significant public health concern worldwide, leading to various chronic diseases. I pursued certification to actively contribute to addressing this epidemic and preventing related health complications. Obesity medicine certification also equips healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to offer comprehensive care, including dietary guidance, exercise prescriptions, behavioral therapy, and, in some cases, medications or surgical interventions.

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? Yes, I had the opportunity to witness a significant positive transformation in my father’s life when he was able to lose weight after so many years of struggling with obesity. He changed his mindset when he started to be diagnosed with diseases that were consequences of obesity. He developed hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, and hyperlipidemia and had to take medications for it. With lifestyle changes only, he successfully reached his weight loss goals and improved his overall health. Today, he does not need any medicines because his chronic conditions were minimized, and some were resolved with weight loss and a change in his unhealthy habits.  

How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice? I provide personalized, patient-centered counseling sessions focusing on lifestyle modifications during their lifestyle medicine/obesity visit. I address dietary habits, physical activity, and behavioral patterns. I also utilize motivational interviewing techniques to encourage patients’ active participation in their weight management journey. Our clinic also has psychology students under supervision who help us integrate behavioral therapy strategies to address the emotional and psychological aspects of obesity. We offer counseling for stress management, emotional eating, and building healthy coping mechanisms.

Why do you believe obesity medicine certification is valuable? Obesity is a multifaceted condition with diverse causes and complications. Certification signifies specialized knowledge in understanding the complexities of obesity, including its physiological, psychological, and social aspects. Certified practitioners are equipped to provide comprehensive and individualized care. The obesity medicine certification also ensures practitioners are well-versed in evidence-based treatments and the latest research in the field. Staying updated with the most recent scientific developments enables practitioners to offer cutting-edge, effective interventions to our patients.

What is your greatest success story so far? Mine. I was able to lose more than 60 lbs. with lifestyle changes and temporary use of medication for weight loss. I was diagnosed with hypertension and hyperlipidemia due to my unhealthy lifestyle and weight. Today, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are within normal limits.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your practice? Insurance coverage limitations for weight loss medications and visits can be a significant hurdle for both healthcare providers and patients. These limitations often hinder patients’ access to essential treatments and healthcare services, impacting their ability to manage obesity effectively.

What do you wish other physicians knew about treating obesity? There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating obesity. Each patient is unique and requires personalized treatment plans, considering their medical history, lifestyle, and psychological factors. Tailored interventions are essential for long-term success.

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