Ivania Rizo, MD received her BS at the University of Maryland, College Park and MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Georgetown University Hospital and Endocrinology Fellowship at University of Alabama, Birmingham. She is triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, and Obesity Medicine. Currently, Dr. Rizo is  Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and attending physician and Director of Obesity Medicine in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Nutrition and Weight Management. She oversees a multidisciplinary practice with bariatric  surgery.  She is a clinical investigator focusing her academic work and research efforts on obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Her main interest include obesity medicine , diabetes remission through obesity management, and interventions that eliminate differences that exist in obesity, diabetes, and bariatric outcomes among racial/ ethnic and socioeconomically diverse populations. 

Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification?

As an endocrinologist with a focus on diabetes, I recognized that obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Approximately 80-90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also struggle with obesity or being overweight.  In order to truly improve the quality of life of all people with type 2 diabetes, I had to move beyond a glucocentric model and include a weight-centric model. Pursuing a certification in obesity medicine allowed me to gain expertise in this field and add credentials to my expertise. It was a way to bridge the gap between diabetes care and weight management, providing a holistic approach to improving the health of my patients.

Do you have an obesity medicine “aha” moment that sticks out in your memory?

My “aha” moment came when I witnessed the profound impact of weight management on diabetes outcomes. I had a patient who had been struggling with uncontrolled diabetes for years. After incorporating obesity medicine principles into their treatment plan, we not only saw a significant improvement in their blood glucose levels but also witnessed a remarkable reduction in their weight. This transformation allowed the patient to lead a more active and fulfilling life. It was a powerful reminder of the connection between obesity and diabetes and the potential for positive change through comprehensive care.

How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice?

I integrate my obesity medicine training into my practice by conducting thorough assessments of my patients’ weight-related issues alongside their diabetes management. I create personalized treatment plans that address both conditions simultaneously, incorporating dietary guidance, exercise recommendations, and, when appropriate, obesity pharmacotherapy. Regular monitoring and follow-ups are crucial to track progress and make necessary adjustments.

Why do you believe obesity medicine certification is valuable?

Obesity medicine certification is invaluable because it equips healthcare professionals with the specialized knowledge and skills needed to effectively address the complex issue of obesity. It enables us to provide evidence-based, comprehensive care that goes beyond treating the symptoms of obesity and its associated conditions. Certification demonstrates a commitment to providing the best possible care to patients struggling with obesity and related health issues.

What has been your greatest success story?

One of my most memorable success stories involved a patient who not only achieved significant weight loss but also experienced a remarkable improvement in their diabetes management. Seeing them regain their health, energy, and confidence was incredibly rewarding. It reinforced my belief in the importance of obesity medicine as an integral part of diabetes care.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with obesity medicine?

My experience with obesity medicine has reaffirmed my belief in the transformative power of healthcare. By addressing obesity alongside other chronic conditions like diabetes, we have the opportunity to make a profound difference in our patients’ lives. It’s a privilege to be a part of their journeys toward improved health, and it motivates me to continue advancing in the field of obesity medicine to provide the best care possible.