The Professor

CSOWM: New Marker for Expert Obesity Care

Until recently, finding expert obesity care has not been easy. Most primary care providers are reluctant to treat obesity seriously. They are also slow to refer. Among hundreds of thousands of allied health professionals, some have real expertise in obesity care, but most do not. Finding an expert provider is often a matter of trial and error.

Beginning in March, an important step forward will come. That’s when the first ever exam for Certified Specialists in Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM) will be open to a wide range of allied health professionals.

Kudos to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for developing this credential as an interdisciplinary certification. In addition to registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical psychologists, and clinical social workers will be eligible to earn this certification.

At the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition in Boston yesterday, the CDR provided an update on the tremendous progress over the last year to get this examination ready to go as promised in early 2017.

This represents an important step toward helping people find expert obesity care. Progress started with Centers of Excellence for bariatric surgery. It continued with Certified Bariatric Nurses. Development of a rigorous board exam for obesity medicine physicians was another major step forward.

The visionaries who developed these credentials are solving an important problem. People seeking good medical care for obesity will have an easier time finding it because of them. People will no longer have to rely on trial and error or word of mouth to identify a skilled provider. Professional credentials are no guarantee, but they’re a good place to start.

Many, many thanks to the Commission on Dietetic Registration and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for advancing this important new credential.

Click here for an outline of the content for the interdisciplinary certification in obesity and weight management and here for information on eligibility and exam dates.

The Professor, painting by Thomas Eakins / WikiArt

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October 17, 2016