Hosted by the Bariatric Society™
May 5-8, 2022 | Orlando, FL
The Bariatric Retreat series works to connect weight loss surgery community members with the network, education, and personal growth to be successful in their bariatric journey.
This year, as we partner with AdventHealth, the event will have sessions, activities, and workouts focused on the self-care and wellness needed for anyone in the bariatric world, pre-op, post-op, or just exploring.
Thursday, May 5
Registration/ Swag Bag Pickup
Friday, May 6
Welcome Keynote + Activity
Walt Disney World!
Saturday, May 7
Brunch & Keynote
Proffee & Snacks
Sunday, May 8
Mother’s Day Brunch
Register for the Retreat
Tickets are $400 + taxes and fees. This ticket includes all sessions, activities, and workouts at the retreat, in addition to food at all relevant activities (5 meals + snacks).
Betsy Dovec, MD
Dr. Dovec (@drdovec) serves as the divisional medical director for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery at AdventHealth and is a board-certified general surgeon. Passionate about diminishing the staggering obesity epidemic, Dr. Dovec is the co-founder of NewTri Health, a standardized, state-of-the-art, virtual pre-operative education system to prepare patients for bariatric surgery. With the exception of surgery, she offers 100 percent virtual consultations, pre-op and post-op appointments, and lifelong support to her patients.
Nerissa (@rissarecharged) is a wife, mother of 5, corporate executive, and founder of Rissa Recharged. When faced with the lack of energy needed to be fully active and present with her children, Nerissa and her husband turned to bariatric surgery and had VSG in July 2019. Nerissa lost 125+ pounds and has maintained this weight loss even after having a baby in 2021. She is dedicated to eliminating the stigma of weight loss surgery and does so with candor and humor. Join Nerissa and her husband, Chris at their Fashion Show at Retreat!
TERRY HARDEN II
Gus Bello, MD
Dr. Bello (@dr.bello)is a native Venezuelan who earned his medical degree at the respected Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas before moving to Pittsburgh, PA for his general surgery internship and early residency at Western Pennsylvania Hospital. He completed his residency at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he served as chief resident, and continued his clinical fellowship in advanced minimally invasive and bariatric surgery. He is the founder and former medical director of a groundbreaking weight loss surgery center in western Pennsylvania.
Dr. Bello serves as the medical director for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery at AdventHealth Orlando. Today – as always – making patients feel comfortable, heard, reassured and part of the family is a top priority for Dr. Bello and his team.
Kedric Barrett, Sr. (@sleevedbelievethehype) is the creator of the podcast, “Sleeved Believe the Hype.” Kedric is a husband and father who had weight loss surgery in 2019, and to date, has lost 245 pounds. He created the “Sleeved Believe The Hype Podcast” in late 2019 with the hope of sharing his journey and possibly helping others make the conscious decision to take back their health and add more years to their life. He is also a co-founder of My Bro Ain’t Heavy, a community to spotlight and inspire other men on their weight loss journeys.
Chris (@bariatric_bro) is a husband and father of five. As a young(ish) dad he realized that he wanted to be more active for his family. He and his wife had VSG surgery in July 2019 and lost over 100 pounds. Chris is a stylist and just has “that eye.” He is an avid lover of fashion and believes that style knows no size or budget. Join him and his wife, Nerissa at their Fashion Show at Retreat!
Desiree Mize (@wokeuplikedez) is a full time content creator and influencer esteemed by the bariatric and weight loss communities. She is a bariatric patient who had gastric bypass in December 2017, after a lifetime of struggling with her weight since being diagnosed with Hypothyroid Disease at 8 years old. Dez found that this tool was exactly what she needed to live the life she always worked for. After losing over 160 pounds, Dez is now focused on building muscle and sharing every chapter of her never-ending journey! She was nominated for the Emerging Fitness Influencer of the Year at the 2021 American Influencer Awards and has placed two years in a row at Summer Shredding. She is passionate about motivating and inspiring others to find what they are truly capable of when we fight through self doubt, gym anxiety, and finally getting comfortable with being uncomfortable! Dez strives to help women feel comfortable and confident in their own skin while taking the focus off of the number on the scale and focusing more on self love and healthy habit and routine building.
Shiva Seetahal, MD
Shiva Seetahal, MD (@dr.seetahal) serves as the Medical Director for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery at AdventHealth Heart of Florida with his specialty being minimally invasive and laparoscopic approaches. He prides himself on maintaining high standards of surgical management, patient care and patient satisfaction.
Dr. Seetahal received his medical degree with honors from the University of the West Indies. He completed his surgical residency at Howard University Hospital and a fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Atlanta Medical Center. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Seetahal participates actively in outcomes research and has published research papers, abstracts and book chapters. He also serves as an editorial board member for the Global Journal of Surgery and Minerva Chirurgica Journal and is also a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
HALEY LEMIEUX, MS, RD, LDN, NASM CPT
LORA GRABOW, LMSW
Lora Grabow (@bariatric.therapist) is a bariatric therapist who partners with patients and other medical providers to empower patients to holistically change their lives. Holding a Masters in Social Work, Lora has worked with bariatric surgery patients for two decades and helped countless bariatric surgery patients transform their lives. She is also a contributing author for the Walk from Obesity newsletter and Obesityhelp.com, and an active leader in the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery.
Tabitha Johnson (@therealbariboss) is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified health and life coach, and founder of BariBoss LLC and the BariBoss Academy. She’s on a mission to help weight loss surgery peers be their own BariBoss by providing information, coaching, and support to pre and post-op patients.
Christian Birkedal, MD
Dr. Birkedal (@dr.christianbirkedal) served as the medical director of the Wound Treatment Center and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee.
Dr. Christian Birkedal now serves as the medical director of bariatric services at AdventHealth Daytona Beach, a 239-bed hospital in Daytona Beach.
The AdventHealth Daytona Beach Bariatric Center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) for surgical treatment of severe obesity and its related conditions.
KRISTIN HIRANO, MS, RD, CN, CD
Kristin Hirano (@justbetterfiber) is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified in Adult Weight Management with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She is the founder of Bites of Wisdom, PLLC – a concierge nutrition coaching company and the founder of Just Better Brands. As a gut microbiome and obesity expert, Kristin’s clients hire her to help them end their life-long struggle with weight.
Danielle Nyhof (@vsgdee2020) is a mother of three and in the two years since her VSG surgery, she has lost 150 pounds and kept it off. She has struggled openly with depression and anxiety before and since WLS, but she has found tools to drastically reduce the severity and frequency of her panic attacks, and hopes to share those with the community.
Dennis Smith, MD
Dennis Smith, M.D. (@dennissmithmd) is a board-certified bariatric surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic minimally invasive and robotic surgery to treat obesity and metabolic-related health issues. Dr. Smith received his medical degree from UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ, and completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Alabama Hospital. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Aside from serving as a committee member, Dr. Smith is also an active member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, where he continues to help train other surgeons and medical professionals.
BRENDA HOEHN, MSN, BSN, RN, CHTP
Brenda (@hoehnb_bariatric_lifesupport) is a nurse and has worked with thousands of bariatric surgery patients pre- and post-op. She has certifications in both life-coaching and in a holistic energy practice called Healing Touch. She currently works in the bariatric vitamin industry where she offers bariatric topics in weekly live videos & support groups. She intertwines all of this including her own incredible bariatric surgery journey – VSG in 2013.
Rochelle Monique (@theerochellemonique) is a lifestyle expert, speaker and consultant with over 10 years of experience in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle arenas. She has always been a body positivity advocate, but found that at her heaviest weight of 380 pounds, with sleep apnea, a knee injury, and low self-worth, she needed a tool to get her strength and energy back. With weight loss surgery, diet, and exercise, she lost 220 pounds and is on a mission to encourage and empower women to live their best life – mind, body and soul.
Michaela Miller (@losingtoblooming) a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, and weight loss specialist. She is also the founder of Bloom University, helping more than 50 women find success in their bariatric surgery journey. Since having her own weight loss surgery in 2016, she found a love for fitness and has lost about 150 pounds and maintained it with an active and healthy lifestyle.
Raj Sawh-Martinez, MD
Dr. Raj Sawh-Martinez MD (@rajsawhmd) is a board-certified plastic surgeon and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons who offers superior cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery to patients in Orlando, FL, with patients traveling from throughout central Florida and beyond to see him. His private practice is a state-of-the-art medical practice where he focuses on helping patients achieve their aesthetic goals with artistic precision.
Suzanne (@1gastricgirl) is an Educator, Certified Coach, and founder of Gastric Girl, a bariatric coaching and digital course company. Before VSG, she weighed 325 pounds and had suffered two strokes. Now, 130 pounds lighter, she is obsessed with helping others achieve long-term success on their weight loss journeys.
Dalton Musselwhite (@msslwht) started his journey at over 515 pounds, but in the three years since weight loss surgery, he lost over 300 pounds. With a dynamic journey behind him, Dalton has incredible insights to share on post-bariatric plastic surgery, relationships, and much more.
Leanne Nagle (@Leanne_lately) is a certified Yoga instructor and post-op bariatric patient. After having VSG surgery in 2020, Leanne lost 90 pounds and discovered a new-found love for fitness.
Ashley Nestle, PA
Ashley Nestle (@withashleykay) is a board-certified physician assistant (PA-C) with AdventHealth plastic and reconstructive surgery at Orlando, focused on delivering world class service to her patients. Practicing in plastic and reconstructive surgery, she works in close collaboration with board-certified plastic surgeons, in both clinical and surgical settings. Ashley’s interpersonal enthusiasm and analytical expertise is focused on optimizing all her patient’s clinical care needs and expectations, through dedicated treatment plans based on their individual needs.
Alicia Briggs (@thebrownmamimelts) is a wife, mom of 4, writer behind the blog, The Brown Mom Experience, a content creator, & maternal mental health advocate. After many life altering challenges, Alicia decided to have weight loss surgery & has lost 175 pounds. Alicia’s passion is to encourage, inspire, and assist women by reclaiming their health and power.
Teri Tenille (@ttgotvsg) had VSG in 2019 and lost 150 pounds, after which she was approved for the ever-coveted insurance-covered tummy tuck! She is now a prominent social media influencer and inspires women from all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life to practice self-love.
Samantha Rawley (@therealslimsammii) is a prominent influencer and content creator in the weight loss surgery community, known for her open and honest portrayal of her severe post-surgical vitamin deficiency and extensive skin-removal/ plastic surgery experience. She had gastric sleeve surgery in 2018 and lost over 200 pounds since her surgery. Sammi is a body-positivity advocate, and is open and honest about the mental struggles behind weight loss surgery.
Indira Leila Abraham-Pratt, PHD
Dr. Abraham-Pratt is a licensed psychologist specializing in the psychological aspects of weight management problems in children. Her goal is to help improve kids’ self-esteem and overall mental health while putting them on track for healthy lifestyle choices through adulthood. Dr. Pratt earned her doctorate degree in counseling psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Stephanie Clemson (@metamorphasteph) is a 50 year old WLS patient, wife and mom of two teens. After years of yo-yo dieting and regaining and losing weight with every diet under the sun, she had VSG and lost over 100lbs. She maintained her goal weight for over a year and in October of 2021, had plastic surgery to remove excess skin with an extended tummy tuck and a brachioplasty (arm lift).
Niki Stryjak, (@ModernMom_vsg), lives in Washington with her two daughters, ages 8 and 9, and her husband Simon. Niki is 3 years post-op and continues to live a healthy bariatric lifestyle. Her focus lies in managing, teaching and supporting a healthy Bariatric lifestyle within a family, and she is extremely passionate about choices and behaviors that support overall health and wellness versus an inconsistent and damaging diet culture.
Monique Coleman (@healthylivingwithmonique1) is a Certified Instructor and founder of Thick Chixx Fitness – a dance fitness program for all bodies. After losing a child, Monique turned to food for comfort and ultimately found herself at over 300 pounds with no energy, pre-diabetes, and fears of chronic illness and obesity-related morbidities. She had weight loss surgery in 2021 and is passionate about celebrating all bodies and making fitness fun without judgement.
STEPHANIE RANALLO, RN, BSN, CCRN, FNS, CPT
Stephanie Ranallo (@_shrinking_steph) is a registered nurse and certified personal trainer who has helped more than 500 weight loss surgery patients establish healthy habits as a lifestyle coach. Before her own Bariatric surgery in 2016, Stephanie faced severe medical challenges due to morbid obesity, but has since lost more than 160 pounds and developed skills to stay accountable and maintain her health. In the coming months, Stephanie will be graduating as a primary care nurse practitioner with a specialized focus on Lifestyle and Functional medicine.
HANNAH SCHUYLER, RD, LDN
Hannah Schuyler (@hannahschuyler.rd) is the dietitian for AdventHealth Bariatrics out of Orlando. As a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist, she works one-on-one with patients to get them set up for success before surgery and help them continue to be successful after.
Alexis Swindell (@lexxlevelup) is a professional photographer, mom to three beautiful boys, and a body-builder. She lost more than 140 pounds since she had VSG in 2020. Alexis experienced some intense ups and downs in her relationship pre- and post-op WLS, but ultimately found the secret-sauce for a healthy and happy marriage. She now advocates for balance in fitness, love, and life.
Melanie Lindell (@myroux_n_why) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and two years post-op from weight loss surgery. While she had a tumultuous surgery recovery, Melanie believes we need witnesses to the beautiful and shattered parts of our stories as humans. She has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and helps survivors of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and child abuse.
DR. WHITNEY ADAMS
Whitney (@imperfectprogress) has over 12 years of experience in the field of nursing, holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, and is currently a Professional Development Specialist. She has taught various professional development workshops on journaling, mindfulness, and goal setting. Her passion is mentoring and supporting others in their personal and professional journeys. Whitney had RNY Gastric Bypass in March of 2021 and has since lost over 110 pounds.
SAMUEL TAMBEAUX, RD, LDN
Sam (@bariatricchefboyrd) is a Registered Dietician and has spent his whole professional career supporting patients on their nutrition journey before and after weight loss surgery. His mission is to help others find balance and confidence when tackling nutrition and food – without sacrificing the fun and flavor that comes with both.
Mabel Joseph (@beyondthesleeveacademy) is a Certified Mindset Coach and three-year weight loss surgery veteran. She is the founder of Beyond the Sleeve Academy and is on a mission to show bariatric patients their unlimited potential so that they can create any result they want in their life.
Michelle Farraj (@michobabyy) turned her life around at only 17 years old, beginning her journey to lose 145 pounds. She has become immersed in the world of health and fitness, venturing into body building and ultimately becoming pregnant with her beautiful baby boy. Now a social media influencer, Michelle motivates hundreds of thousands of followers daily with her fitness tips, consistent gratitude and grace, and resilient mindset.
Maddie (@maddie5088) is a bariatric patient who had gastric bypass in June of 2017. She is currently a full-time bariatric influencer/blogger and a part-time inpatient hospice nurse. She is working to break the stigma around bariatric surgery and helping others to love themselves in their very own skin. She is the author of foodfitnessandbeauty.com and has a passion for creating affordable, bariatric recipes.
Johanna Navarro (@johannaxvsg) had weight loss surgery in April 2021. Since starting her weight loss journey she has lost more than 100 pounds. She advocates for the latina WLS experience, highlighting the judgment among family and friends in a culture revolving around food. Johanna also loves to review new bariatric friendly snacks and items on her TikTok.
DANNIE LYNN FOUNTAIN
Dannie Lynn Fountain (@halftheoldme) is a passionate storyteller who helps companies focus on people. By day, she’s a staffer at Google, hiring the world’s most talented software engineers, and by night she supports clients and brands with HR-focused diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. Beyond working in HR, Dannie is a five-time author, doctoral student, licensed Enrolled Agent, and founder of the #sidehustlegal movement. Dannie had VSG in 2021 and has lost more than 100 pounds.