The events are structured in a way for both physicians and their staff to receive training and participate. First, an early morning continuing medical education (CME) session is offered to physicians. The CME addresses prevention, detection, assessment and management of obesity.
After the physician CME is completed, clinical staff members get the opportunity to participate in a body mass index (BMI) training session. That session includes valuable hands-on practice, along with tools and resources, including a BMI calculator wheel, BMI-for-age growth charts, job aids, family brochures and parent educational materials.
To conduct the CME sessions, UniCare is collaborating with Dr. Stephen Sondike, a physician specializing in pediatric and adolescent obesity prevention and management. Sondike is section head of adolescent medicine and director of the Adolescent Cardiovascular Health Program at West Virginia University Physicians of Charleston. He is also an associate professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University.
"Dr. Sondike has the expertise to champion the physician CMEs and we are certainly lucky to have him involved," said Mitch Collins, regional director for UniCare. "His knowledge will provide a valuable learning experience for physicians who take advantage of the events."
As obesity continues to be a significant concern, both in West Virginia and nationally, UniCare has made combating the epidemic a top priority. With the Weight Watchers program for members already in place, assisting physicians was the next logical step.
"We know that physicians play an important role in the fight against
obesity," said Dr. Harvinder Sareen, director of clinical programs for
UniCare. "Our goal is to provide training to physicians and clinical staff
and equip their practices with tools to facilitate standard screening for
members with this condition or those at risk. Early identification will
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