ASMBS Connecticut State Chapter Board Annual Meeting - Notes

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 @ 5:30 p.m. PST/8:30 p.m. EST

In Attendance (via Zoom & in person): Dr. Darren Tishler, Dr. Saber Ghiassi, Dr. Juan Holguin, Dr. Pavlos Papasavas, Dr. Jon Aranow, Dr. John Morton, Dr. Danielle Friedman, Dr. Nicholas Dugan, Dr. Mia Shapiro, Dr. James Healy, Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, Dr. Dale Bond, Dr. Ed Hannoush, Bethany Mulone, Jane Sweeney, Connie Santana, Tammy Piel, Kerry Roy, Karen Gibbs, Vicky DiNardo, Rebecca McCollum, Dr. Adrienne Sprouse & Katy Dunay (If an attendee is not listed, please email Katy to revise and add)


Meeting Notes

1.     Call to order & Welcome: Dr. Darren Tishler

  • Dr. Tishler sends condolences to Dr. Craig & Dr. Neil Floch whose father passed away
  • Open of the meeting, Dr. Tishler’s final meeting as President of the Chapter

2.     Treasurer’s Report: Presented by Dr. Darren Tishler and submitted for review (distributed)

3.     Walk from Obesity 2023: Bethany Mulone & Kate Lee Salerno – 20th Anniversary!

  • Thanks to all who came out and supported the 2022 Event – Connecticut was a top fundraiser!
  • Save The Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023 @ Old Grove Park, 1 Palace Street, West Haven (same location as last year)
  • Setting the Goal: Bethany & Kate hope we can raise $30,000 – let’s do this!

4.     Obesity Summit 2024

  • Location: Foxwoods Resort
  • Meeting Date: January 18-19, 2024Save The Date!
  • Meeting Focus: TBD
  • New Goals – expand to New York & New England – larger draw, earlier planning & sponsorship
  • Call to Share Photos – Please submit photos from the Obesity Summit - connect with Katy

5.     Website Updates & Development

  • We will continue to use the website for news, updates, events, and communication – Dr. Tishler reviews the change of management company and cost savings we have been able to realize
  • Updated Information for the Walk from Obesity and the Obesity Summit will be coming soon!
  • Look for new and updated photos from our 2022-2023 events coming soon!
  • Registration, sponsorship information & links will be available as we get closer to our events

 6.     New Business

  • Access to Care Committee has Integrated Health open positions – expansion in progress – we would like to appoint someone within the next 30 days – commitment is once a month on the 1st Wednesday of every month – any member interested, please let us know
  • Obesity PAC – Where our funding for supporting legislative work comes from – if you have not already started to support, please consider – Dr. Tishler shares there is a $42/month option
  • SB 977 in the State of Connecticut passed!
  • Dr. Tishler discusses the Top Priorities for the AMA
  • Fix Medicare and Medicaid
  •  Consideration to reduce the Administrative Burdens by adding efficiency – set standards where specific procedures and surgeries will not require authorization but will be audited post-procedure – reduce burden on physicians and offices
  • Obesity – All patients are entitled to treatment and access to care – no discrimination, no barriers no nutritional holds, remove burden of authorization
  • The AMA cannot do this nationally, so it is working state by state – need proposals put forward in each state
  • Obesity PAC budget is $750,000, the AMA budget is $75,000,000
  • Request to consider support on local and state level (CSMS & AMA) – currently there are not many members in these organizations among this group

7.     New Proposals & Open Invitation:

  • Proposal from Dr. Tishler – add a nonvoting member to the Board – Obesity Medicine liaison – 2-year position, coordination with legislation, pharmaceutical support and foster stronger relationships – motion to create by Dr. Jon Aranow, Dr. Saber Ghiassi second – voted & passed
  • Proposal from Dr. Tishler – Create a STAR IH representative position – Appointed Position, not a board member – motion to create by Dr. Saber Ghiassi, second by Dr. Jon Aranow – voted & passed
  • Proposal from Dr. Tishler – Approve coverage of travel and attendance cost to the annual meeting for the executive director of the chapter – motion to create by Dr. Pavlos Papasavas, second by Dr. Danielle Friedman – voted & passed
  • Anyone who may be interested in participating on the Planning Committee for the Obesity Summit 2024 – please let Darren or Katy know – we had a small team for planning and would look forward to expansion and creation of sub-committees – please email
  • Encourage engagement and new membership – throughout all organizations, looking forward to new members joining!

8.     Election Results:  Dr. Darren Tishler (induction of the 2023 CT Chapter ASMBS Board)

  • President: Dr. Saber Ghiassi – newly elected
  • Vice President: Dr. James Healy– newly appointed* (Dr. Nadzam elected – declined, unable to serve currently given other commitments)
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Dr. Vanessa Malit
  • Integrated Health Chair: Dawn Garcia, APRN
  • STAR Access to Care Rep: Dr. Danielle Friedman – newly appointed*
  • Member at Large: Dr. Juan Holguin
  • Member at Large: Dr. Grigoriy Klimovich
  • Member at Large: Dr. Neil Floch – newly elected (former STAR rep)
  • Past President: Dr. Darren Tishler
  • Non-voting Board Member Obesity Medicine Liaison: Dr. Devika Umashanker – newly appointed*


  • STAR IH Representative: Gabrielle Barthiaume, APRN – newly appointed* (non-board position)


Next Year – Due for Election/Terms Complete:

  • Treasurer/Secretary
  • Integrated Health Chair
  • Member at Large (Dr. Klimovich’s seat)

9.     Summary & Open Discussion

  • Dr. Tishler reviews work on the website, update, reduction of cost, strong partnership, and ability to work with the website for communication and advocacy
  • We will continue to sponsor the CT ACS and invest in the relationship ($500/sponsorship)
  •  Encourage members to be active with the CT ACS, CSMS and AMA
  • Dr. Aranow asks about spending some of the funds saved on advocacy – work on membership – there are a few programs in the state that are not engaged – can we work on outreach to all surgeons throughout the state; suggestion to use some funds for IH providers to travel – costs are kept low but still challenge
  • Dr. Aranow suggests creating a newsletter – great opportunity for communication – can we launch an outreach via Canva to our members & beyond?

10.  Conclusion & Thank You to the Chapter Board for your service and advocacy work! – Our new President – Dr. Saber Ghiassi thanks all for attending and closes the annual meeting.