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Bariatric surgery team

Brent A. Lancaster, MD

General surgeon at Wichita Surgical Specialists
Clinical Assistant Professor University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita, Department of Surgery
Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery, Via Christi Hospitals, Wichita.

Dr. Lancaster did his preliminary surgery residency at the Mayo Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, and his general surgery residency at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine – Wichita, Kansas. He received his Doctor of Medicine from Texas A&M University College of Medicine, College Station, Texas in 1990. Dr. Lancaster was Board Certified in surgery from the American Board of Surgery in 1997.

Since 1996, he has been performing all types of general and trauma surgery in Wichita and overseas during two tours of duty as an Army reservist. His primary areas of interest and expertise are endocrine surgery, laparoscopic surgery and laparoscopic bariatric surgery.

His interest in bariatric surgery was piqued after laparoscopic techniques for that procedure were being developed. He began working with James Early, MD, Medical Director of Via Christi Weight Management (1994-2011) to develop a surgical component to the Via Christi Weight Management programs. The first gastric bypass Roux en Y procedure was performed in 2002. Drs. Lancaster and Early strongly believed that the surgical procedure is a powerful tool to help an obese person lose weight, but it was not enough. They both were committed to building a surgical program that included pre-operative lifestyle education classes and a strong post-operative education and support system. Dr. Lancaster wanted to make sure that when the patient woke up after the bariatric surgical procedure, he or she knew how to eat, what type of lifestyle they need to live in order to achieve and stay at a healthy weight for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Lancaster's motivation

"From the time I was a young boy living in Winters, Texas, I knew I wanted to follow in my grandfather's footsteps and be a doctor. He was a 'horse and buggy' doctor who did everything from primary care to surgery. But my passion was to be in the OR. As a bariatric surgeon I am returning to my roots in family medicine because I get the opportunity to follow my patients' long term. It takes a lot of work on the patient's part in order to be successful. But for many, the program is truly life-changing. I enjoy getting to play a part in my patients' successes."

Jeremy L. Howes, MD

General surgeon at Wichita Surgical Specialists
Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita

Dr. Howes did his general surgery residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, Kansas. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Howes was Board Certified in general surgery from the American Board of Surgery in 2009. His primary areas of interest and expertise are trauma, laparoscopic bariatric surgery, spinal approach surgery and general surgery.

Nicholas Brown, MD

  • General surgeon at Wichita Surgical Specialists
  • Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita

Dr. Brown did his general surgery residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, Kansas. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas in 2006. Dr. Brown was board certified in general surgery from the American Board of Surgery in 2013. His primary areas of interest and expertise are trauma, laproscopic bariatric surgery, robotic surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy and general surgery. Dr. Brown completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas.

Kate Clawson, APRN 

Kate is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator, received her Bachelor of Nursing Science from Bethel College (North Newton, Kan.) and her Master of Nursing Science Advanced Registered Family Nurse Practitioner from Wichita State University. She is certified through American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Prior to joining the Via Christi Weight Management team and focusing on medical and surgical weight management, her experiences as a registered nurse and as an advanced nurse practitioner included work with patients with eating disorders at the Menninger Clinic. At a practice in Wichita, she coordinated research for clinical trials of pharmaceutical and cardiovascular devices. As a nurse practitioner, she worked in a cardiovascular and gastrointestinal practice.

Kate's motivation

"As a nurse practitioner, I have developed a particular interest in health promotion and disease prevention. My encounters with overweight patients in cardiology and family practice have shaped my career, leading me to preventive medicine. Obesity contributes to a significant variety of disease processes; therefore, I am passionate about what we do at Via Christi Weight Management. I enjoy educating and encouraging our patients as they work to overcome issues with food and change their lifestyle."

Bobbie G. Paull-Forney, RN 

Bobbie is a Clinical Outcomes Specialist, RN, started her career with Via Christi Regional Medical Center in 1998 as an exercise specialist in the hospital owned Health & Fitness Center. Prior to that she was a double major earning degrees in Exercise Science from Wichita State University and Business Management from Friends University.

In 1999 she accepted an offer from the Prevention & Health Center (later renamed Via Christi Weight Management) as a Health Educator. To broaden her scope of skills and patient care responsibilities, Bobbie continued her teaching as she studied nursing. In 2003 she grated from Hesston College with an Associates of Applied Arts and Sciences in Nursing.

One key aspect of the Via Christi Weight Management programs which helped Bobbie choose her professional career is the use of outcomes data to guide the behavioral and medical patient care decisions at VCWM. She enjoys managing and analyzing the data as a means of supporting the team in their providing excellent patient care and outcomes. This interest led her to the Public Health Program at UKSM-W where she earned her Masters of Public Health and graduated with honors from the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine—Wichita.

Bobbie's motivation

"I desire to reach the public through health education and promotion. Via Christi Weight Management provides an opportunity to teach a special population of people how to improve quality of life and prevent chronic diseases through data driven behavior modification. I have a passion for my career because of my past personal issues surrounding food. I believe there is hope for every person to overcome their personal challenges surrounding body weight and eating issues. Via Christi Weight Management provides valuable behavioral modification tools that assist individuals on their journey to overcoming."

Dena Marten, RN

Dena is a Nurse Health Educator, joined the Via Christi Weight Management team in 1998. Prior to working for Via Christi, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a Psychology minor from Fort Hays State University and her Master of Education in Counseling from Wichita State University She worked as an inpatient and outpatient nurse in medical, surgical and oncology units before she redirected her career to Behavioral Health, where she coordinated and delivered stress management programs in the hospital and throughout the community.

Dena began work as a nurse health educator with the HMR Program for Medical Weight Management™ and in 2002 further developed her knowledge and skills for the Surgical Weight Management Program. For both programs she provides nursing assessments and care coordination, and she teaches classes.

Dena's motivation

"I have the best of all worlds. As a health educator, I enjoy helping patients learn and practice the tools that will help them manage their health long term, and as a nurse, I'm privileged to see the improvements in patients' health as they practice these skills. I am also fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful team of professionals, who make working at Via Christi Weight Management a pleasure."

Helen Ramsey, RD, LD, CDE

Helen, a Clinical Dietitian and Health Educator, is a licensed and registered dietitian as well as a certified diabetes educator. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, and she worked toward her master's in Nutrition at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Other than working four years at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City and one year at St. Francis Medical Center in Tulsa, Helen's professional career has been with St. Francis Regional Medical Center/Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis since 1977. She provided nutritional assessments, counseling and education and worked in Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Diabetes Treatment Center. She was a consulting dietitian with Family Medicine physician groups and with long term care facilities.

Prior to joining the team at Prevention & Health Center (later renamed Via Christi Weight Management) in 2001, Helen developed the nutrition protocols for the Heart Transplant and Cardiac Rehabilitation teams, and she co-authored materials for their patients. She also facilitated the heart transplant support group.

The expertise Helen gained with these programs has been especially applicable to the focus of her work at Via Christi Weight Management. She developed nutrition protocols for the gastric bypass surgery program. She wrote the curriculum for and teaches nutritional lifestyle education classes for the surgical weight management program. In addition to the pre-operative nutrition classes, Helen teaches post-operative classes where she and the patients problem-solve together how to get their proper nutrition and maximize their weight loss. In addition to working with surgical patients, Helen teaches in the HMR Program for Weight Management™.

Helen's motivation

"I have taught in a variety of nutrition education areas throughout my career. I enjoy helping people improve or maintain health, no matter what their age. I particularly enjoy the outpatient area as I can be on the journey with them and see the success they achieve. I also enjoy the challenges of new program development and the continued changes in the health care field. One of the benefits of working for Via Christi Weight Management is the interdisciplinary team concept of all professions collaborating for the patients' well-being."

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