MEET THE DIPLOMATE

madhu pamganamamula, md

Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification? Pursuing obesity medicine certification was a natural progression for me due to my extensive experience in this field prior to becoming certified. My motivation stemmed from a strong desire to enhance my clinical expertise in this specialized area of medicine. By staying updated with the latest tools and advancements in the battle against the obesity epidemic, I aimed to further equip myself as a proficient physician. The certification process enabled me to evolve into a more impactful healthcare provider, enabling me to deliver well-structured and comprehensive treatments to my patients. This endeavor aligns with my commitment to addressing the pressing issue of obesity and its associated health challenges. 

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? Certainly, there’s a memorable “aha” moment in my journey within obesity medicine. The introduction of dual incretin mimetic agents such as tirzepatide, along with the promising development of triple G receptor agonists in the pipeline, represents a significant turning point in the field. Envisioning the potential impact of these innovative pharmaceutical approaches has left a lasting impression on me. These advancements are poised to revolutionize the obesity landscape in the coming years, holding the potential to markedly improve the lives of countless individuals. This moment underscores the dynamic nature of obesity medicine and reinforces my commitment to staying at the forefront of these transformative changes for the betterment of my patients. 

How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice? Integrating my obesity medicine training into my practice has enabled me to embrace a comprehensive perspective. Recognizing that obesity is just one facet of a complex puzzle, I draw from my board certifications in Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine, and Lipidology to approach each patient’s situation holistically. By utilizing techniques such as motivational interviewing, I establish a meaningful connection with patients and delve into the underlying psychological, physical, and environmental factors that contribute to obesity.

This thorough assessment serves as the foundation for crafting personalized strategies. With a customized approach in mind, I offer a range of medical and surgical options, tailoring interventions to the specific needs of each individual. This multidimensional strategy ensures that my patients receive not only the most appropriate treatment for their obesity, but also a comprehensive plan that addresses their broader health and well-being.

Why do you believe obesity medicine certification is valuable? Obesity board certification holds significant value within the context of my diverse medical background. While my board certifications in Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine, and Lipidology equip me with a broad understanding of various health aspects, obesity medicine certification adds a specialized layer of expertise that is vital for addressing the complexities of obesity.

Obesity is not isolated; it often intertwines with other medical conditions and factors. The comprehensive training provided by obesity board certification empowers me to delve deeper into the intricate interplay between obesity and various physiological, psychological, and lifestyle factors. This specialized knowledge equips me to uncover hidden connections and potential underlying causes of obesity that might not be immediately apparent.

Furthermore, obesity medicine certification enhances my ability to formulate highly personalized treatment plans. By combining insights from my diverse certifications with the specific insights gained through obesity medicine training, I can craft comprehensive strategies that address not only the obesity itself but also its broader impact on a patient’s overall health.

In essence, obesity board certification enriches my medical repertoire, allowing me to provide a more informed, specialized, and nuanced approach to patients dealing with obesity and its related challenges. It strengthens my capacity to create tailored interventions, promote lasting lifestyle changes, and offer patients a more holistic path toward improved well-being.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your practice? The most significant challenge I encounter in my practice revolves around the affordability and insurance coverage for the latest obesity medications. While these medications hold substantial promise in enhancing treatment outcomes, their accessibility is hindered by cost barriers and the need for insurance approvals.

Navigating this challenge necessitates a multifaceted approach. I’m committed to advocating for my patients, working alongside them to explore potential avenues for securing necessary medications within their financial means. Additionally, I place a strong emphasis on patient education and empowerment. By helping patients recognize their personal hurdles in managing obesity and guiding them through the array of available tools and strategies, I aim to foster a sense of ownership over their health journey.

In essence, addressing the financial barriers tied to newer obesity medications requires collaborative efforts and an unwavering commitment to patient education. Through these means, I strive to optimize the overall effectiveness of treatment plans and empower patients to achieve their health goals despite these challenges.

What has been your greatest achievement so far? Receiving the “Community Statesman Award” for Health and Science in 2018 stands as a significant highlight among my achievements. This prestigious acknowledgment serves as a validation of my dedicated endeavors to establish a comprehensive center for Hypertension, Sleep Disorders, Obesity, Diabetes, and Lipidology in a semi-urban setting.

The journey to create this state-of-the-art center was not without its challenges, particularly in terms of managing limited staff resources. However, this recognition reflects the positive impact that the center has had on the health and well-being of the Midland/Odessa, TX community. It underscores my commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility and quality in the region, and I continue to be driven by the goal of fostering a healthier and more informed community through the services provided by the center.

What do you wish other physicians knew about treating obesity? It’s essential for fellow physicians to understand the significance of a cohesive team approach in treating obesity. Collaboration between bariatric surgeons and diligent follow-up with obesity medicine specialists can substantially influence treatment outcomes. I emphasize the need to perceive obesity as a complex syndrome or disease, encouraging a shift away from stigmatization that can affect individuals already grappling with it.

My plea to fellow physicians is to approach patients with empathy and respect, recognizing the emotional and physical complexities tied to obesity. Striving for compassionate communication is vital, as language choices can either foster a supportive environment or inadvertently contribute to patients feeling humiliated. By fostering understanding and implementing a unified approach, we can collectively improve the quality of care and the overall well-being of individuals facing the challenges of obesity.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with obesity medicine? Considering the magnitude of the obesity epidemic, I feel it’s crucial for primary care specialists to incorporate the principles of obesity medicine into their practice. This shift can yield more favorable outcomes and contribute to preventative health measures. Referring patients to proficient obesity medicine specialists can result in comprehensive management and improved results.

Furthermore, the expansion of obesity medicine certification among a diverse array of physicians and providers is pivotal. This broadening of expertise ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, which is inherently multidisciplinary. As patients witness positive transformations and experience the benefits of well-managed obesity, they naturally become advocates for the standards of care embraced by these practitioners. Ultimately, this collective effort not only enhances patient health but also works to elevate awareness about effective obesity management within the medical community and beyond.


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