White Coat, Black Art

There are many things that are holding our health care system back from increasing access of competent care to people struggling with excess weight – my not spending enough time getting the message out is perhaps not one of them.

On Friday, I first spoke about obesity to allied health professionals working for primary networks in Edmonton, I then held the Key Note Lecture at the Annual Research Day of the Alberta Diabetes Institute, from where I went straight to a talk at the 22nd Annual Urological Excellence Conference of the Urology Nurses of Canada, followed by a brief visit to the Grand Opening of Me Without Measure, an eating disorder centre located on Edmonton’s busy Whyte Avenue.

On Saturday, I travelled to Banff, to give a workshop on obesity assessment and management to around 90 psychiatrists from across Canada, who were attending the 12th Annual Update in Medicine for Psychiatrists.

In total, that’s another 400 people, who have hopefully heard the message and will perhaps slightly change their views on obesity.

At of these events, the messages were almost the same: obesity is a huge problem, it needs to be addressed and managed as a chronic disease, and simply telling people to “eat-less and move-more” seldom works. The complex psychosocial and biological factors contributing to obesity make this a most challenging condition to deal with – something that cannot be achieved without a substantial investment in training of health professionals and provision of resources.

Interestingly, obesity was also the topic of this week’s edition of Dr. Brian Goldman’s widely heard radio documentary series on CBC Radio One, White Coat, Black Art that examines the world of the health care system.

The entire 30 min program, which includes a conversation with me and a few colleagues and patients regarding bariatric health care, can be accessed by clicking here. I believe Dr. Goldman did well to capture the essence of what bariatric care is all about.

I would certainly like to hear your comments on this radio documentary – I am sure that not everyone will agree with everything that was said – the more we have an open discussion of these issue, the better.

Edmonton, Alberta