Star Struck

Stars of the Obesity Action Coalition

Some of the stars of the Obesity Action Coalition really shined last night at the closing ceremonies for the national Your Weight Matters 2015 annual meeting. Fourteen individuals and organizations were called out for special recognition in their work to help the OAC deliver education, advocacy, and support for people everywhere affected by obesity.

Justin PuckettJustin Puckett, a board certified obesity medicine physician, received the Bias Buster of the Year Award for his outstanding efforts to identify and fight back against weight bias, stigma, and discrimination wherever he sees it. Both by personally speaking up and by identifying injustices for the OAC to challenge, Puckett is a true leader in the fight against weight bias.

Scott KahanAnother obesity medicine physician, Scott Kahan, was awarded recognition as the Healthcare Provider Advocate of the Year for his outstanding work to advocate for better access to care and higher standards of compassionate clinical care for people with obesity. His personal compassion for the cause is remarkable. Not only do his patients speak highly of him, but so do policy makers in Washington.

Rocky Mountain Associated PhysiciansThe Robin Blackstone Award for Outstanding Membership Recruitment went to Sherman Smith, Steven Simper, and Rodrick McKinley of Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians. Through their participation in the OAC Sponsored Membership Program, Smith, Simper, and McKinley have played a leading role year after year in helping the OAC grow with many thousands of new members.

Patty NecePatty Nece received the Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy because of her tireless work in Washington before regulators, policymakers, and thought leaders. Time after time, Patty provides a compelling personal story about the impact of obesity in her life and moves people to make policy that accounts for the needs of people living with obesity.

Michael and Jenny SegerIn receiving the Community Leader of the Year Award, Michael and Jenny Seger, along with their colleagues at the Bariatric Medical Institute of Texas, were recognized for their outstanding work to advance the mission of the Obesity Action Coalition in their community of San Antonio. Through their constant work with OAC, the Segers have raised awareness for OAC and its mission, recruited new members, raised money, and played a critical role in assuring the success of YWM2015.

Jaime FivecoatJaime Fivecoat received the Chairman’s Award for her outstanding work as the founding Chairman of the OAC. Leading and serving on OAC’s Board of Directors since the very beginning of the organization, Jaime laid the foundation for the vibrant community and potent advocate for change that the OAC has become today.

Rob Portinga 2The highest award of the evening, The OAC Member of the Year, went to Rob Portinga, who has worked tirelessly for the OAC on multiple fronts for years. Rob has raised public awareness for the OAC through his work in media. He has represented the OAC in advocacy efforts. He has worked to fight bias and stigma. He has helped to assure the success of YWM2015 as an active member of the planning committee.

OAC AnniversaryFinally, six special milestone awards went to the founders of the OAC and its founding staff members for making it possible for the organization reach the milestone of its tenth anniversary this year. Robin Blackstone, Chris Still, and Georgeanne Mallory Joe Nadglowski 2had the foresight a decade ago to recognize the Kristy and Jamespotential for a an organization representing people living with obesity to bring needed change in the realm of obesity policy and patient care. When they founded the OAC, they chose Joe Nadglowski to lead the organization. Along with Kristy Kuna and James Zervios, Joe has created the OAC from the ground up. Through their dedication and hard work, Joe, Kristy, and James have sparked real change in the outlook for people living with obesity.

Joe spoke with conviction in accepting his Milestone Award, saying:

We are on the verge of fixing the tremendous inequity in access to care that people with obesity face. With you, the members of the OAC, I am convinced that we will do it in the next five years. It is a privilege to serve with you in this important task.

Star Struck, photograph © Neal Fowler / flickr

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August 16, 2015