THE ABOM ITEM WRITING COMMITTEE
Item Writing Committee members represent many different medical specialties associated with obesity medicine. Members write new items for the ABOM item bank of examination questions and are required to sign the ABOM Written Examination Confidentiality Policy. Members are not allowed to teach, lecture, provide seminars, assist, make comment or in any way participate in preparatory or review courses for the ABOM exam while serving on the Item Writing Committee. If you are interested in joining the ABOM Item Writing Committee, click here to download the application.
Dr. Maria Elena Pena
Dr. Maria E. Peña was born in NY and raised in Queens. She attended the highly competitive advanced seven year program at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedicine where she was awarded several scholarships and graduated cum laude. She proceeded to finish the last two years of her clinical training at their affiliate school, New York Medical College, where she obtained her MD degree in 2008. Dr. Peña completed her Internal Medicine training at North Shore University Hospital/LIJ and proceeded to pursue another two years of training to specialize in the field of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She developed a special interest in weight loss medicine as she saw many obese patients suffering from preventable diseases such as diabetes and other complications.
Dr. Peña is a member of numerous Medical Societies including: The Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The Obesity Society. She also has publications in medical journals such as Practical Gastroenterology and has presented her work at National Conferences. Furthermore, Dr. Peña has done several interviews for the NSLIJ media, namely, “Focus on Health” and “Doctoring”, as well as local television, radio and several newspapers and magazines.
In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Peña is the Director of the new Center for Weight Management at NSLIJ Syosset Hospital. She is also the Physician Champion for the Diabetes Task Force and the Director of the Advanced Inpatient Diabetes Management for Disease Specific Joint Commission Certification for Syosset and Plainview Hospital. Dr. Peña also holds a title as an Assistant Professor at Hosftra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.
Dr. Peña’s goal is to offer evidence-based medical care with proven efficacy while using a modern approach to ensure her patients’ trust and compliance to treatment.
Dr. Jennifer Rajkumar
Dr. Jennifer Rajkumar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and is employed at the Northwell Health’s Center for Weight Management. She is board certified in Family Medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the Obesity Medicine Association. She received her undergraduate degree from George Mason University and an M.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University prior to completing her residency training in Family Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University’s affiliated Riverside Health System. She is passionate about chronic disease prevention, nutritional and culinary education, and evidence-based treatment of clinical obesity.
Dr. Trissa Reid
Dr. Reid is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University in the Division of Endocrinology. She completed her medical training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After her residency, she spent a year as a Research Fellow and then completed her fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, both at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
Dr. Reid is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. During her fellowship, her research focused on acromegaly. She received an Endocrine Fellows Foundation Award as well as an NIH supplemental grant to investigate the endothelial function of patients with acromegaly. Her current research focuses on obesity and changes in hormones and medical co-morbidities in patients undergoing bariatric surgery. She currently treats patients at the Columbia University Weight Control Center.
Dr. Amy Rothberg
Dr. Rothberg is the Director of the University of Michigan Weight Management Program a unique demonstration program supported by both Blue Care Network (BCN), one of the largest managed care organizations in southeast Michigan, and by the NIH as part of the Michigan Nutrition Obesity Research Program (MNORC). She specializes in the treatment of overweight and obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic diseases. Dr. Rothberg conducts comprehensive baseline and interval phenotyping of patient-participants to identify the factors that predict successful and cost effective long-term weight loss including studies of the neuro-biopsychosocial adaptions that occur with weight loss. She has enrolled over 800 obese patient-participants in her clinical-research program. She facilitates collaboration and works with other investigators who use her cohort, the biological samples or both. Her program is a model for implementing a comprehensive research component within the context of a 2 year clinical program of real world patients. In addition, Dr. Rothberg interacts with the relevant clinical education faculty to coordinate rotations by graduate students from the School of Public Health and Nutrition and medicine residents and fellows from both Family Medicine and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. She provides comprehensive didactics and training to those rotating in the clinic.
Dr. Katherine Saunders
Katherine H. Saunders, MD, DABOM is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and an Assistant Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Saunders received her undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa/Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Religion and Engineering. She received her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, where she became a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed her internship and residency training in Internal Medicine (Primary Care) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Saunders was the first Clinical Fellow in Obesity Medicine at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she trained under the supervision of Louis J. Aronne, MD, FACP, FTOS, DABOM. Dr. Saunders is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM). She is a member of The Obesity Society (TOS). She serves on TOS’s Clinical and CME Oversight Committees as well as ABOM’s Journal Article Review Recertification Pathway Committee. She gives lectures and has published several peer-reviewed articles on pharmacotherapy for obesity.
Dr. Kavitha Selvaraj
Dr. Kavitha Selvaraj is a pediatric weight management specialist trained in clinical medicine, research, teaching, and advocacy. As a pediatrician, her career goal is to promote trauma-informed obesity care in order to reduce toxic stress and improve children’s long-term cardiometabolic and emotional health.
She obtained her Bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from the University of Chicago, during which time she volunteered as a state-certified rape and domestic violence crisis counselor on the south and west sides of Chicago. After college, she taught 7th grade biology and health in an underserved neighborhood through Teach for America in Los Angeles, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Secondary Science Education from Loyola Marymount University. She returned to Chicago to complete medical school at the University of Chicago and her pediatrics residency at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She recently completed her fellowship and chief fellowship in Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Lurie, where she also served as an Instructor of Pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Northwestern. She is a double board-certified attending physician in pediatrics and obesity medicine with clinical experience in Lurie’s Wellness and Weight Management Clinic, Preventive Cardiology Clinic, Primary Care Clinic, and Inpatient Service. Her research involves screening for adverse childhood experiences and social determinants of health in the pediatric primary care setting, as well as improving quality of care for children with severe obesity attending subspecialty clinics.
Dr. Linda Shapiro
Dr. Linda Shapiro’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Southern California, a Medical Doctorate degree from Tulane University School of Medicine, an Internship in Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, followed by a PhD and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Kinesiology and Physiology at the University of Colorado.
Dr. Robert Siegel
Dr. Siegel attended the New York University School of Medicine and did his pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He has 30 years of experience as a general pediatrician and has been the Medical Director of the Center for Better Health and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center since 2009. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati.
Stephanie Sogg, PhD
Dr. Stephanie Sogg, PhD a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing for 15 years and in the field of obesity for 14 years (focusing exclusively on obesity for the past 12 years). She is a full-time clinician in an obesity medicine practice at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She has worked with thousands of patients with obesity spanning the age range from children to older adults. She also conducts clinical research focusing on the psychosocial aspects of obesity and weight loss surgery, and teaches/presents locally, nationally, and internationally on topics pertaining to obesity. She has served on the Clinical and Education committees of TOS, and was recently elected to the ASMBS Integrated Health Executive Council. She is the lead author of the revised ASMBS Recommendations for Psychosocial Evaluation of Weight Loss Surgery Patients and the co-chair of the ASMBS Integrated Health Clinical Issues and Guidelines Committee.
Dr. Taraneh Soleymani
Dr. Taraneh Soleymani is an Assistant Professor in University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Nutrition Sciences, Associate Scientist in the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), and Fellow of The Obesity Society. After completing her Internal Medicine residency at Seton Hall University, Newark, NJ, she completed a fellowship in clinical nutrition at UAB with a focus on obesity and inpatient nutrition in critically ill. Dr. Soleymani practices patient tailored, evidence based, and comprehensive medical management of obesity working alongside bariatric surgeons, dietitians, behaviorists and exercise trainers. She also practices inpatient nutrition at Birmingham VA Medical Center with a focus on malnutrition and parental nutrition.
Dr. Soleymani is the Medical Director of EatRight by UAB and co-director of UAB Weight Loss Medicine where she is involved in developing protocols to ensure quality medical care and operational efficiency and overseeing strategic program developments to achieve optimized obesity care.
Dr. Soleymani is involved in several obesity related multidisciplinary and translational research projects. Her research focus is the effect of diet macro composition on management of chronic diseases related to obesity, and changes in body composition. She is passionate about educating the future healthcare professionals in obesity and its management. She is the course director for UAB School of Medicine elective titled “Obesity, Clinical Nutrition, and Food Policy”. And the course director for two clinical electives: “Clinical Management of Obesity” and “Hospital Nutrition”. Dr. Soleymani is board certified in Internal Medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Dr. Hani Soudah
Dr. Hani Charles Soudah earned his M.D. and PhD from The Eppendorfer-Klinik at the University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. He completed his post-doctoral research fellowship training in gastrointestinal motility disorders at the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Subsequently, he completed both his internship and residency training in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Soudah is specialized in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. He provides state-of- the-art treatment for patients with obesity and obesity-related medical diseases. Dr. Soudah believes that obesity is a progressive disorder of weight regulating mechanisms that may lead to an abnormal communication between feeding and satiety centers in the brain. Subsequently, obesity may lead to numerous medical diseases and cancers. Presently, he is developing a multi-disciplinary unit to treat obesity and obesity associated diseases.
Dr. Reshmi Srinath
Reshmi Srinath, MD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease, and is the director of the Mount Sinai Weight and Metabolism Management Program. Her interest in metabolism, nutrition, and prevention of metabolic disease started in college as a Division 1 tennis player and led her to pursue a career in medicine and specialize in Endocrinology. She graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine with a merit scholarship. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, and fellowship training in Endocrinology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, before moving to New York to join Mount Sinai. As a faculty member, her expertise is in the prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic complications. She is also involved in supervising students, residents and fellows both inpatient and in clinics, as well as preparing current fellows for the Endocrinology board exam.
Dr. Kimberley Steele
Kimberley E. Steele, MD, PhD, FACS, FASMBS completed her surgical residency at Hershey Penn State University from 2000 to 2005 and her minimally invasive and bariatric surgical fellowship at Johns Hopkins 2005-2006. She is currently an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has a secondary appointment as an Associate Professor in Heath, Science and Behavior, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Steele represents the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and is actively involved in the organization serving on both the research and pediatric surgery committees. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Dr. Steele received a KL2 NIH award and Clinician Scientist Award in 2011, which allowed her to study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she obtained a PhD in the Graduate Training in Clinical Investigation. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her research in obesity and bariatric surgery. More specifically her research interests include the neural correlates of feeding behavior, the influence of the gut on the brain, and improvement of surgical outcomes through the optimization of perioperative care.
Dr. Steele contributes in all facets of academia including clinical expertise, research and education.
Dr. Brooke Sweeney
Brooke Sweeney, MD, FAAP, is a Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric Physician and the Medical Director of Weight Management services at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
Nationally, Dr. Sweeney is on the Governance Board of POWER (Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry) and the Associate Director of POWER Recruitment. Dr. Sweeney is active in the Weight Management Expert Exchange of the Children’s Hospital Association/American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight. Her clinical expertise is in prevention and treatment of chronic disease, weight management, and clinical care for children with obesity. Her research interests include improving the effectiveness of weight management clinics, transitional care, and using a national registry to improve pediatric weight management.
Dr. Devika Umashanker
Devika Umashanker, MS, MBA, MD, has an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Biology from Rutgers University. She worked for Stryker before obtaining her Business degree in Healthcare Management and Finance at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. Dr. Umashanker worked for the Division of Medicare and Medicaid Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Philadelphia, PA as a Business Analyst while obtaining her Postbaccalaureate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained her medical degree at the American University of the Caribbean, St. Martin. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Yale University and practiced Hospital Medicine for two years. Afterwards, Dr. Umashanker completed her fellowship in Obesity Medicine at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, where she trained under the guidance and mentorship of Louis J. Aronne, MD, FACP, FTOS, DABOM .
Dr. Umashanker is the Obesity Medicine Director of Medical Weight Management, Department of Bariatric Surgery at Hartford Healthcare, Connecticut. Dr. Umashanker is an Assistant Professor at University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Assistant Professor at Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.
Dr. Cherie Vaz
Dr. Cherie Lisa Vaz is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Philadelphia where she practices Endocrinology and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Vaz has been involved in obesity and diabetes research since she began her fellowship in Endocrinology at The State University of New York, Buffalo in 2011. She currently conducts clinical and translational research at Temple University in the fields of obesity, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Dr. Vaz received the 2015 Obesity Medicine Grant Award supported by the Obesity Treatment Foundation. Dr. Vaz’s research involves lifestyle modification and technology for the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.Her research also studies neurocognitive function and neuroinflammation in vulnerable populations with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Nationally, Dr. Vaz serves on American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Endocrine Training Support Committee and AACE Technology Committee. She is also an abstract reviewer for the AACE National Meetings and has authored chapters in publications of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Dr. Vaz is board certified in Obesity Medicine, Endocrinology and Internal Medicine. As faculty for the School of Medicine at Temple University, she mentors students and residents with an interest in Endocrinology or Obesity Medicine. She provides comprehensive didactics on the topics of obesity and type 2 diabetes as part of the medical school curriculum, in depth pathophysiology courses in Endocrinology and core curriculum lectures for the Endocrinology fellowship program.
Dr. Christy Watson
Dr. Christine Kirkendol Watson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and her MD from Indiana University.
She is the founder and medical director of LiveLight Clinic, LLC with three locations in the Indianapolis area. She has a lifelong interest in fitness, wellness and nutrition, and is passionate about obesity as a chronic medical condition and working to change the medical culture to accept this.
Dr. William Yancy
Dr. William Yancy is a board-certified internist and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1991 and his medical degree from East Carolina University in 1995. He was a resident and Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh from 1995-1999. He completed a fellowship in General Medicine at Duke University, earning a Master in Health Sciences Degree in 2001. Dr. Yancy is Director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center, physician in the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University. He is also a Research Scientist in the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Staff Physician in Ambulatory Care, and Co-director of the MOVE! Weight Management program at the Durham VA Medical Center.
Dr. Adrienne Youdim
Dr. Adrienne Youdim is well-recognized for her expertise in the areas of nutrition, obesity medicine and preventative medicine. Formerly the Medical Director of the Cedars Sinai Center for Weight Loss, she has partnered with hundreds of patients helping them achieve their goal of better health through good nutrition. Dr. Youdim specializes in medical weight loss, medical nutritional therapy and nutritional and metabolic support of bariatric surgery patients.
Dr. Youdim is board certified and diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists and the American Board of Obesity Medicine as well as Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She is currently Associate Professor of Medicine at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Dr. Youdim received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a well as a fellowship specializing in nutrition and bariatric medicine.
Dr. Youdim has lectured extensively at the local and national level and has served on numerous professional committees and societies including serving as president of the Bariatric Section of the Obesity Society. Her published works include the Clinical Practice Guidelines in the Nutritional and Perioperative Care of the Bariatric Surgery Patient among other publications in peer reviewed journals such as Endocrine Practice, Obesity, Journal of Surgery and Obesity Related Diseases, Journal of Immunology and Bariatric Times. She has also edited several chapters in Nutrition and Obesity.