Research Collaboration

Expediting access to specialized clinical and research capabilities

Weight Management Center: Gateway to clinical obesity-related research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

The Weight Management Center at Wake Forest Baptist provides access to diverse patient populations and interdisciplinary medical experts for research in obesity and its comorbidities.

Research Opportunity

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions and shows no signs of abating. Recent survey data shows that nearly 40% of Americans have a BMI of 30 or above1. Obesity drives other diseases—type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, fatty liver disease—that have also seen a significant increase in diagnosis. This disease burdens both the economic and health care systems through lost wages, increased medical expenses and skyrocketing insurance premiums2.

Currently, there is no magic bullet for obesity. Reviews of current medical and surgical therapies show great variability in weight loss and mitigation of comorbidities (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, etc.)3. Socioeconomic disparities complicate potential interventions and are a hurdle to successful weight loss.

The Weight Management Clinic is a unique asset of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and one of only a few comprehensive weight management centers in the nation. An interdisciplinary team manages obesity and weight loss with three approaches: physiologic (surgery and/or medication), educational (exercise and nutrition) and behavioral (counseling and therapy) interventions. This combination of interventions creates an ideal environment to test novel therapies against an established control group.

The clinic sees an average of 1,400 new patients per year and completes over 400 bariatric procedures. The medical weight loss programs have a high retention rate—over 85% of participants complete their initial treatment program. Patients come from all over the region, resulting in a diverse population. This large population opens the door for research on obesity and its comorbidities (fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.).

  • Bariatric surgeons
  • Multidisciplinary team of obesity experts with industry experience, including internal medicine physicians, epidemiologists, nutritionists, psychologists and exercise physiologists
  • On-site exercise studio for personal training and exercise testing
  • On-site lab for specimen collection
  • Diverse patient population
  • Access to interdisciplinary team of specialists including hepatologists, cardiologists and endocrinologists