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July 2024 Newsletter

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In this issue:

GroupMe Reminder

Introducing the Association for Weight Inclusive Medicine

Recap from the 2023 Weight Stigma Conference

The Latest from Social Media

GroupMe Reminder

We have moved over to GroupMe (from Slack). Please remember to check it when you can. This is where we’ll discuss current happenings, projects, rants, wins, and more!

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Q&A with Dr. Lisa Erlanger, president of the Association for Weight Inclusive Medicine

Dr. Lisa Erlanger, MD, an advisor to MSSI,  is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and practices at the Emily Program. She is the inaugural president of the new Association for Weight and Size Inclusive Medicine (AWSIM), a professional organization for physicians to advance weight-inclusive care. Below she shares some more about the new organization.

Why did you decide to start AWSIM?

It has been hard to be a weight-inclusive physician within a weight-centric profession. When I started my journey to weight-inclusive care, I couldn’t find any other primary care physicians practicing this way.  I’ve been lucky to be supported by an incredible community of dietitians and therapists, and to learn from my generous patients along the way. I’ve always wanted to build a physician community, but, frankly, I wasn’t sure how!

As an advisor, I have been so impressed with how quickly MSSI has grown and the impact you’ve been able to have in such a short time. One of the big impacts is that you’ve brought the professional community together and exposed how eager students and practicing physicians are for this information and support. You are entering school and practice committed to social justice, and you are changing the way things are done!

Inspired by you and our desire not to let you or our patients down, a group of us launched AWSIM.

What is AWSIM? What are you hoping to do through this organization?

We formed AWSIM to use leverage our influence as physicians to advance weight inclusive care with the goal of reducing health disparities for larger bodied patients.  We envision a world where patients of all sizes have access to compassionate, patient centered, evidence based healthcare.  AWSIM to be a professional home that provides mentorship, community, and continuing education to members as well as a public-facing provider listing. It will also promote scholarship, education, policy, and advocacy. 

We look forward to working closely with MSSI! In fact, we welcome MSSI members as no-cost AWSIM members when we launch. There will be many opportunities for shared projects and mutual support.

How can help/get involved? 

Our official launch will be in the fall with a series of CME events. Please tell physicians in your network about the organization and direct them to our website!

Want to help organize? We’d love your help! MD/DOs (including residents!) can join our leadership team by submitting the interest form on the website.  Not an MD/DO but want to help? Great! Please submit an interest form on the website, and we’ll contact you when we are forming our advisory board.

Recap from the 2023 Weight Stigma Conference

AsiaLuna Patlis, General Member of MSSI and student in the NMB PhD Program at Columbia University, recently attended the 2023 Weight Stigma Conference (WSC) in Colchester, UK. Below, AsiaLuna shares the work they presented and some thoughts from the conference.

A labmate of mine asked me what I was most excited for about attending the 2024 Weight Stigma Conference (WSC) in Colchester, UK. I told her I was most excited to be around people who are passionate about the same thing I’m passionate about.

It is profound to be surrounded by individuals who fundamentally share the same paradigm as you: that health exists along the entire size spectrum, that weight is not a barometer of worthiness, and that people of all sizes have the right to pursue health to the ability they are able, but that this is not a moral obligation. Having a weight-inclusive approach in basic science research feels like swimming upstream.

At the WSC, it was refreshing to be with a community that cares deeply about the harms of weight stigma. It was wonderful to see the work of individuals contributing to this field from across so many different disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of the conference allowed me to learn and be exposed to aspects of weight stigma research that I was previously unfamiliar with, and it’s cool to see all the ways in which people from various fields bring so much value to the space. A big question that the conference left me ruminating on is: ok, the research is great, but how can I close the gap between the research and dismantling the barriers faced by higher weight individuals, particularly in medicine? 

There were so many people there whose names I knew but had never met before, so the conference was a bit of a fangirl moment for me. And, I got to connect with graduate students from universities across the globe who share my passion, which was a really special community building moment

Find us on social media

Instagram post by @sizeinclusivemedicine

This newsletter was authored by Sophie Lalonde-Bester, MSSI member and medical student at the University of Alberta.

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