Meet the Team!
The medical bariatrican evaluates the patient addressing the medical, psychological, and social demands to help them achieve their weight loss goals. The bariatrican educates the patient about lifestyle habits and how to make changes that will last a lifetime. The medical bariatrican is a coach that motivates, but also offers the patient support and guidance. A medical bariatrican's job is to help the patient to be successful.
The medical bariatrican is also trained in the treatment of co morbid conditions that exist with obesity, such as sleep apnea, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. There will be medication adjustments with many of these medicines as the caloric intake is drastically reduced, most commonly the diabetic medications. After as little as a 10% weight loss many patients can reduce or eliminate their hypertensive medicines. Depending on the diet used the diabetic medicines have to be reduced dramatically at the start of the diet to prevent hypoglycemia.
The bariatric physician works with the patient to develop a defined maintenance plan for those who achieve their weight loss goals. Weight loss must be treated as a chronic disease and requires long term follow-up. This follow up provides continued education about diet and regular exercise and the importance of continued follow up if there is an increase in weight.
Susan Lewis, MPH, RD
Susan Lewis is a registered dietitian who has many years of experience in weight loss and preventative medicine. She will provide you with guidelines of your nutritional intake prior to and after surgery. You will meet with her pre-operatively to review all pre- and post- nutrition instructions so that you are prepared for the changes that will occur. She will help you to understand the basics of good nutrition and what your lifelong eating plan should be. After surgery, you will meet to discuss follow-up regarding your nutritional needs and support. She also helps with support groups after surgery that will present a variety of topics.
Adam Arechiga, PsyD, DrPH, CHES, CNS
Clinical Health Psychologist
Dr. Arechiga will help guide you through any psychological issues that may be impeding your ability to be successful with surgery. Pre-operatively, the psychologist will consult with you and examine psychological testing that is completed to determine if there are any additional issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery. He may make recommendations to you to help you become more insightful about your eating habits and psychological issues that will, in turn, help you be more successful with surgery. After surgery, he is available for consultation to address issues as they present themselves.
Stephanie Keeth, MSN, ACNP-BC, CNS, CCRN
Stephanie Keeth attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), graduating with a Masters of Nursing in 2007. She received a dual degeree of Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. She's been a registered nurse since 2000. From 2001-2007 she was a surgical/trauma intensive care nurse at Loma Linda University Medical Center. In 2007 she became an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with the LLUMC Department of General Surgery & Minimally Invasive Surgery. Stephanie collaborates with the surgeons and other members of the Bariatric Surgery team during the patients' hospital stay and throughout the postoperative recovery. Her philosophy is to provide individualized care and inclusion of the patient & family throughout the patient's journey to a healthier life.
Angela Galusha, RN
Angela has been a registered nurse since 2000, specifically working as a pre-operative and post-operative nurse from 2002-2010, before coming to Loma Linda University Medical Center to become the Bariatric Coordinator. Her goal is to make the Bariatric process less overwhelming for patients. Angela works to make patients feel connected to their Bariatric team, and is available to help with any questions or concerns.
Melissa Thurnhofer, RD
Bariatric Coordinators Our Bariatric Coordinators will be your guide through the entire process, including before surgery, hospitalization and after the surgery, to help you to be successful. Pre-operatively, they will help you understand the risks and benefits of surgery, what to expect and how to prepare. The Bariatric Coordinators will also address issues related to the emotional aspect of surgery with the help of other members of the team. Prior to your surgery, our coodinators will review all pre-operative instructions with you so that you are prepared for your procedure. After surgery, the coordinator will continue to follow your progress regarding your post-operative recovery.
The financial coordinator will help provide you with all the information you will need to make important financial decisions. It is imperative to know up front the services that are covered by your insurance company and the payment amount and process if you are paying cash. The financial coordinator will help to ensure that this information is available to you and will communicate with your insurance company as needed.
Marie Hodgkins, RN, MB, NE-BC
Service Line DIrector
Marie oversees the operations of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery program. She is available for questions or concerns as they arise. She is dedicated to excellent customer service and quality patient care for all bariatric patients.