ABOM diplomates come from many different fields of medicine. We often get questions about how our diplomates arrive at the decision to certify and how they incorporate obesity medicine into their practices. In this occasional series, we will introduce you to ABOM diplomates who can shed light on these questions. Please take a moment to learn more about how Diplomate David Rometo, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) utilizes his obesity medicine training on a day-to-day basis.
Why did you choose to become certified by the ABOM?
The process of certification, specifically studying for the exam, ensured that I filled in all my knowledge gaps on the subject of obesity. Having the certification, I now stand out amongst physicians in the region and my institution, as an expert in this growing field, making me sought-after for speaking roles and patient consultation.
Why would ABOM certification be valuable for an endocrinologist who doesn’t treat obesity and overweight exclusively?
Many endocrine disorders can be vastly improved, if not cured, with the treatment of obesity. To be knowledgeable, confident, and comfortable in treating the underlying cause of the patient’s metabolic disorder is not just an advantage, it frankly should be a requirement. ABOM certification will give an endocrinologist that knowledge, confidence, and comfort to treat patients with the best evidence-based and most up-to-date therapies.
Alternatively, patients with obesity and non-specific symptoms often present to endocrinologists, seeking a “hormone imbalance” diagnosis to explain their weight and symptoms. Once the imbalances are excluded or treated, being able to treat their obesity (which itself may be causing their symptoms) makes my job more fulfilling and lucrative.
How does obesity medicine fit into your practice?
I am a general adult endocrinologist, and I have started a physician-supervised intense lifestyle intervention weight loss and diabetes remission program within my clinic. This includes meal replacement VLCD, protein-sparing modified fast, ketogenic diets, and the use of FDA approved weight loss medications. Interested patients are interspersed with my other endocrine new and follow-up patients.
How did the process of preparing for the obesity medicine certification exam enhance your knowledge of obesity medicine in general?
I attended the Obesity Week conference the last two years, taking the board review course before the first. I read the Handbook of Obesity 2 volume text book by Bray and Bouchard in the two months before the exam. I also used the Obesity Hyperguide. I learned a lot from the textbooks that I never would have learned were I not studying for a test.
How do you plan to alter your practice because of your recent board certification?
With my certification, I plan to expand the volume of my obesity practice, through advertising my status to increase referrals. I also plan to seek promotion and titles in my academic institution, setting aside administrative time to coordinate system-wide improvements in obesity care.
ENDOCRINOLOGISTS BY THE NUMBERS
Total # of ABOM Diplomates: 1,182
Total # of ABOM Diplomates board-certified in endocrinology: 35
Total # of endocrinologists who passed the ABOM exam in 2013 and 2014: 27