A Decade of Helping Transform Lives through Weight Loss

Published in Medical Professionals, Bariatrics/Weight Control Tag: Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, MD  

Author: Staff

It’s been ten years since ACMC’s Bariatrics & Weight Control Center opened its doors.  Though the Center’s programming has changed and matured in that time, one thing remains the same: the drive to continue helping individuals reach their weight loss and wellness goals.

Taking a Leap of Faith: ACMC Bariatrics & Weight Control Center

Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, medical director of the ACMC Bariatrics & Weight Control Center, was a driving force behind the development of this multi-disciplinary clinic to address the emerging obesity epidemic.

“I’ve always had a strong interest in chronic disease management.  My dad is a retired family physician, and a founding member of ACMC, and my mother a retired dietitian.  I’ve been fortunate to blend their careers into one,” she said.

“As a family physician, I am able to apply my training in family dynamics and motivational interviewing in this career focus, treating adult and pediatric patients.”

In the fall of 2003, the idea of a Weight Control Center at ACMC became a reality.  “We were one of the first organizations to offer physician-directed medical weight management in our region,” said Dr. Johnson.

Less than a year later, bariatric surgery was available in Willmar as an option for patients.

“Our multidisciplinary approach incorporates a team of healthcare professionals located under one roof, and the availability of modern technology for the betterment of patient care,” said Dr. Johnson, referencing the use of metabolic testing equipment and body composition scales in her department.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Many patients come to the Weight Control Center at a crisis point in their lives.  It might be a patient newly diagnosed with diabetes, pre-diabetes or a fatty liver.  It might be a prostate cancer patient who has been given a urologist’s recommendation to lose ten percent of his weight to improve treatment outcomes.  It might be an orthopedic patient who needs a joint replacement, a woman with infertility issues attempting to improve her chances of getting pregnant, or a teen and his family who are ready to embark on a plan of action to improve their family weight and wellness concerns.

Whatever the case, the Center’s medical model of weight loss incorporates experts who understand the elements of helping people work toward and achieve individual goals.  Depending on patient needs, their team could include a physician, dietitian, exercise physiologist and psychologist.  For those considering a surgical solution, surgeons and a nurse case manager will also be a part of their team.

“Every patient we see is unique,” said Dr. Johnson.  “Losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.  It’s so important for us to understand each patient so we know how to help them reach their individual weight loss goals.”

With benefit from medical and surgical weight loss research in the past ten years, the Center’s healthcare team continues to incorporate new evidence-based ideas into individualized treatment plans.  A care plan is developed to provide patients with long-term success.  This is what helps set ACMC’s program apart from other “quick fix” weight loss programs.

“The past ten years have been truly amazing for the Bariatrics & Weight Control Center and me personally.  We’ve helped countless patients achieve, surpass and best of all maintain their weight loss goals.  It’s exciting as a physician to see the progress of individuals in our program.  We’ve helped many patients lose more than ten percent of their initial weight through medical weight loss. Bariatric surgery patients typically will lose between 100 and 200 pounds,” said Dr. Johnson.

“Patients have come up to me in the community to tell me how well they’re doing.  The benefits to their overall health, energy, and quality of life seem to cause a ripple effect to families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.”

If one thing stands out to Dr. Johnson, it’s the privilege of helping her patients achieve a new beginning.  “I am forever impressed with how life-transforming this process can be, and I am thrilled that we have this program available in our community.”