There is an explosion in obesity in Ireland and elsewhere. Our medical understanding and treatment of obesity and its sequelae have improved significantly in recent years, leading to an appreciation of the limitations and possibilities of treating this potentially life-limiting condition.
This programme is designed to provide medical professionals and allied health professionals with an up to date understanding and relevant skills for working through treatment pathways with obese patients. These skills will include a review of relevant lifestyle, nutritional, psychological, medication and surgical interventions.
The Diploma consists of two parts which combine an online learning element with workshop participation: certification via the online certification of Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional Education (SCOPE), followed by participation in two 5-hour weekend workshops facilitated by Dr Werd al-Najim and Professor Carel La Roux.
Attendees will be medical doctors and those working in allied health professions such as nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, physiotherapists etc.
1. Obesity and the regulation of body weight
The workshop will focus on the concepts of the body weight set point theory. Why is this theory being used to explain obesity? What are the alternative models? How do we explain body weight set point to patients? What is the value in patients understanding the concept of the body weight set point?
2. Causes of obesity
Students will pair up to discuss one cause of obesity, what we know about it, how it contributes to obesity, and why it still causes a threat. Students will prepare a presentation to share their findings to the whole group.
3. Complications of obesity
The workshop will cover recent publications on the impact of weight loss on the improvement of obesity complications. Students will be asked to evaluate strength and weaknesses of the chosen publications.
4. Starting the patient dialogue
During the workshop, students will be given multiple role-play scenarios. Barriers which prevent patients asking healthcare professionals for help as regards their obesity will be discussed. Barriers which prevent healthcare professionals offer help to patients with obesity will be discussed.
5. History taking and examination
During the workshop, students will be given multiple role-play scenarios. The Edmonton Obesity Staging Score and the King’s Obesity Staging scores will be discussed. Strategies will be explored that will allow a history to be obtained in a concise time to allow the staging scores to be used.
6. Management of obesity in adults
The workshop will focus on how to provide effective obesity management based on patients obesity stage and risk of mortality. Students will cover management provided in primary care clinics including dietary and exercise advice and when is the right time to refer patients to an obesity specialised service.
7. Obesity pharmacotherapy
Students will be asked to carry out small group discussions on the pros and cons of each medication and present their findings to the whole group. A number of case studies will be given where students need to evaluate which medication in their opinion is most suited and why.
8. Management of obesity in children and adolescents
The workshop will focus on how to provide effective obesity management in children and adolescents. Students will cover management provided in primary care clinics including dietary and exercise advice and when is the right time to refer patients to an obesity specialised service.
9. Challenging your prejudices
During the workshop students will be asked to discuss the causes of fat shaming and weight stigma, how these affect access to healthcare. Students will be asked to come up with ideas for weight stigma campaigns and to present their ideas to the whole group.
10. Decision making for bariatric surgery
This workshop will prepare students on how to initiate the discussion about bariatric surgery with patients, is it the last resort or part of an initial obesity management discussion? What should patients be told and how much should they know before being eligible to proceed?
Students must attend at least 80% of classes to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided.
If completing the course online, students’ attendance and participation of the live or recorded classes is tracked through Moodle.
A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma.
1. Students are required to complete the online Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional Education (SCOPE) Certification. To receive SCOPE Certification, participants must provide SCOPE with proof of experience in an obesity-related working domain.
(See here for the SCOPE certification pathway).
This certification may be completed in whole before the programme begins or may be completed as students attend workshops.
2. Each of the five workshops will be assessed either by marks given for presentations or MCQs.
3. Students must attend and complete all workshops and pass at 80% mark for each workshop.
Students are required to complete the online Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional Education (SCOPE) Certification. The content of the online Certification mirrors the workshop content.
(See here for the SCOPE certification pathway).
This online certification may be completed in whole before the programme begins or may be completed before each workshop.
Dr Werd Al-Najim
Responsible for delivering the programme and facilitating the workshops.
Dr Werd Al-Najim is a Consultant in Nutrition specialized in the treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from Kingston University/UK and a PhD from Imperial College London/UK where she investigated novel treatments for obesity. She also holds a health coaching certificate from the Integrative Nutrition School/New York and a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy certificate from City Colleges/Dublin. Werd is involved in ground-breaking research in both London and Dublin and is currently co-leading a number of global clinical trials investigating effective methods for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases. The focus of Werd’s research is developing personalized medical treatments for obesity and its complications.
Professor Carel le Roux (MBChB, MSC, FRCP, FRCPath, PhD) graduated from medical school in Pretoria South Africa, completed his Senior House Officer training at Barts and The London Hospital, his SpR training in metabolic medicine at the Hammersmith Hospitals and his PhD at Imperial College London. He was appointed as Senior Lecturer in 2006, promoted to Reader in 2009 at Imperial and accepted a Chair as Head of Pathology at University College Dublin in 2011. He received the President of Ireland Young Researcher Award from Science Foundation Ireland, a Clinician Scientist Award from the National Institute of Health Research in the UK and a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellowship amongst others.
A popular lecturer at undergraduate level, national and international conferences he has also supervised several MSc, MD and PhD students, many of whom have gone on to successful academic careers.
After establishing a successful independent research group, he published numerous high impact papers over the years that have influenced his field. In particular, his translational research on the understanding of the physiological role and pathological changes in appetite control has been widely acknowledged. He has also been able to take up a variety of editorial positions of peer-reviewed journals.
Working within the Diabetes Complications Research Centre and the Section of Surgery and Surgical Specialities the focus of his research is primarily concerned with increased mortality and morbidity associated with obesity and diabetes. A better mechanistic understanding of how the “gut talks to the brain” will allow safer and more effective treatments to be used in future. To this end, the role of gut hormones, bile acids and changes in food preference are areas of interest.
Professor Carel La Roux
Professor Carel La Roux will deliver a one-hour lecture during the programme sharing his expert insights into the current state of obesity treatments and possible future directions in the field.
Course Fee and Accreditation
Attendance at the five-week programme (the City Colleges Diploma will cost €700, payable on registration to City Colleges).
Completion of the online Specialist Certification of Obesity Professional Education (SCOPE) Certification will cost £70 (payable online to SCOPE).
The course (is/will be) accredited by SCOPE.
A maximum number of 14 students per class will be accepted.