A Global Perspective : Bariatric Times


by Richard M. Peterson, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS, is the Co-clinical Editor of Bariatric Times; Professor of Surgery, UT Health San Antonio; Chief, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas

Dear Colleagues,

I just had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 3rd International Bariatric Club (IBC) Oxford University World Congress in Oxford, England. This was a three-day meeting that was full of great education and learning. Over 350 delagates from 75 countries were in attendance. I have been fortunate enough to have attended the first two of these meetings in 2018 and 2019, and like so many of our other meetings over the last couple of years, this 3rd World Congress was put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic several times. But as you have heard me say before in a previous editorial, timing is everything. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the meeting’s orchestration by Professor Haris Khwaja, Co-founder and Director of IBC Global Education and Director of the 3rd World Congress. Along with Dr. Tomasz Rogula (IBC Founder) and Dr. Ariel Ortiz, the meeting was livestreamed during a good portion of the conference to their global audience. Of course, as the meeting was getting set to start, it seemed that it might have to be put on hold as, England had one of its most historic events occur. With the Queen’s passing, the country was in a different state of affairs from my previous visits. It was quite a site, honestly, to be a part of such a historic time—truly history in the making. The first day of the meeting was the day of the Queen’s funeral. In all of England, businesses and stores were closed in honor of the Queen. In a separate room of the meeting, her funeral was being livestreamed for those who wished to be a part of it. We marked the end of the funeral with a two-minute moment of silence during the meeting. 

The meeting itself covered many hot topics in bariatric surgery, and several debates on the controversies were had each day. Panels comprised of a variety of surgeons from numerous countries added to the diversity of thought. Many of the keynote addresses were given by global leaders in the field, again representing the global fight of obesity, as well as the sequelae of our interventions. Lectures on esophageal carcinoma after sleeve gastrectomy, management of internal hernias after gastric bypass, and discussion on how to best capture long-term complications after bariatric surgery were included in the opening keynote session. 

In addition, the program has grown since its first meeting in 2018, now including concurrent tracks for the Middle East/Africa on Day 1, Latin America on Day 2, and Asia Pacific on Day 3. Each of the first two evenings finished with dinner in the historic Great Hall at Christchurch, part of the University of Oxford and the inspiration of the dining halls seen in the Harry Potter movies. Each time I have dined in this hall, I was still in awe. So much history is laden across the walls, and it adds to the grace of the overall meeting.

I am grateful to have been able to participate in this meeting. It has led to a truly global collaboration in this treatment paradigm. To quote Professor Rudolf Weiner, past president of International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) from his opening remarks, “…we must not lose sight that the pandemic of diabesity is still growing rapidly worldwide. Let us discuss, deliberate, and debate new and powerful strategies in the treatment and prevention of this chronic disease.”

I look forward to having the opportunity to continue to collaborate in new ways as we all continue our efforts to support those suffering with this chronic disease.

Sincerely,

Rich Peterson, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS 

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