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Public Bariatric Speciality Clinic in Ontario

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail wrote an extensive article on Dr. Sean Wharton, an internist, who runs a clinic that delivers a full range of bariatric medical care within the Ontario public health care system.

I was particularly pleased to see this portrayal of Dr. Wharton’s clinic, as I had the pleasure of training him during my time in Hamilton. Joining me as a young doctor, just on the verge of completing his training in internal medicine, he quickly gained an appreciation of and a remarkable competency in bariatric medicine. He recognized that patients challenged with excess weight are as deserving as patients with any other medical condition, with the difference that they have nowhere to go.

Dr Wharton is also a graduate of the 2006 Canadian Obesity Network Obesity Boot Camp.

On May 1 of this year, he started the Wharton Medical Centre in Hamilton, dedicated to providing Government-funded speciality bariatric care.

The Clinic has recently expanded to over 5000 square feet and now approximately 1500 active patients.

The Clinic Staff includes 3 Internists, 2 nephrologists, and 2 family physicians, as well as bariatric technicians, cardiovascular technicians, clinic research staff, a dietitian, behavioural therapists, kinesiologist, and administrators.

The clinic provides a full range of bariatric care in individual and group settings at no charge to the patient. Up to 5-10 classes per week address topics such as emotional eating, body image, pre- and post-bariatric surgery support, meal planning, label reading, exercise classes and more.

While the G&M article focuses on the progress of a couple of extremely large patients, the clinic is open to anyone who needs to manage their weight for health reasons.

Although Dr. Wharton’s model may be unique, it certainly proves that at least interested specialists can provide comprehensive bariatric care within the public health care system in Ontario.

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. I loved the article about Dr. Wharton. He is very bright young man who is always willing to learn, especially from his mentor Dr. Sharma.
    Mostly though he is a compassionate and caring young man who loves what he does and loves helping his patients.
    He is also a visionary and will stick with the concept through the bumps until he is satisfied that he is helping the masses of people who are normally overlooked.

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  2. I have been a patient of Dr. Wharton’s since July, and am travelling monthly to see him from out of province. At first, I thought…no one can be this caring about treating the obese…there has got to be a catch. Nope, just someone who believes that he can make a difference. I’m lucky enough to be funded by my organization to see Dr Wharton(on your recommendation, Dr. Sharma!), and my life has changed in that short time span. Losing 60 pounds, having lap band surgery, and having a physician who wants me to do be the best I can be, is incredibly empowering.

    He has a great team, and while he is incredibly busy, he took the time to meet my husband, invite him in to our consult, and I so throughly enjoy my visits to his clinic. I also like meeting his other patients, through sessions he has sponsored or just through sitting chatting in the waiting room – to meet other people with your same problems, and to hear about their successes and their challenges, has been so helpful.

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  3. I am inspired by all the info i have been reading about Dr. Sharma and his team. Unfortunately i live in Calgary and i’m sure we don’t have the same program here that is accessible. I am a 33y woman,no major health concerns, who’s BMI is about 53. I looked into this similar program offered here in Calgary. I was very discouraged as it was going to take about a year and in the end of it all the head DR’s who i never get to meet, were going to decided if i’m worthy of the surgery or not. I was one of 35 people in the last intake in 2008 and we were all told that out of 35 only 3 were going to be chosen and it was more likely to be people who have health problems(ie diabetes,hypertension,edema…)the list goes on. I felt that it was going to be a waste of my time to go to the classes and do all the work for in the 11 months later to be told sorry maybe next time. I wish it would be a lot easier to get the surgery(lap band)maybe some psychological sessions to make sure the person isn’t mentally unbalanced. I didn’t know any other way to reach you to express how i feel and my cry out for help. I am in need to talking to a bariatric DR. in Calgary. My Family GP doesn’t really know where to go… Can you help? Do we have enough Bariatric DR;s in the Calgary area in case complications arise or would the patient be flown to the nearest area hospital who has one. Thank you for your time and any referrals i can pass on to my GP. Sincerely Patti Gedak

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