ABOM diplomates come from many different fields of medicine. We often get questions about how our diplomates arrive at the decision to certify and how they incorporate obesity medicine into their practices. In this occasional series, we will introduce you to ABOM diplomates who can shed light on these questions. Please take a moment to learn more about how Minnesota-based Diplomate Thomas A. Jones, MD, FACS, FASMBS incorporates his obesity medicine training into his surgery practice.

Why did you choose to become certified by the ABOM?

I chose to become certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine for several reasons. I am the medical director of a large bariatric surgery program. As we try to address all aspects of obesity we have added medical weight management as part of our comprehensive program. We currently have three bariatricians, all family medicine physicians working in the Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Management Program. Two of these physicians are certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine. The bariatricians are expected to become certified by the ABOM as part of their work in the Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Management Program. I set this expectation as part of my desire to pursue excellence in Obesity Medicine and Surgery and to help lead the Medical Weight Management part of our Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Management Program. Since I expect and require this form the physicians that I hire, I thought I should show them the respect to get the Board certification myself and thus make me a better leader for our program.

How can surgeons benefit from ABOM certification?

Bariatric Surgeons must keep up with the developments in the surgical management of obesity but most are not keeping up with the developments and evolution of Medical Weight Management. I felt that I was not keeping up with the accumulating knowledge base in the science of obesity, medication management and Medical Weight Management which is the alternative to surgical management. I now feel much more comfortable in my knowledge base of all the aspects of obesity medicine and treatment and can offer expert opinions to my patients.

How did the process of preparing for the obesity medicine certification exam enhance your knowledge of obesity medicine in general?

Our program is part of a large medical system and health plan that has an interest in supporting the community in which we live. Our focus is on community support and public policy issues that affect our community. Obesity is a public health issue and a complex problem requiring involvement of the entire community to look for solutions. My expertise was in surgery but not in the medical and pediatric aspects of obesity as well as public health solutions. My preparation for the Board exam helped me gain a broader understanding of the bigger picture of the obesity problem on a societal level and many of the issues that affect the community. As a result I feel confident in lending expert opinion and ideas on the direction we should be going as an organization to look for solutions to the obesity epidemic and where we should focus our attention and resources.


Total # of ABOM Diplomates: 1,182

Total # of ABOM Diplomates board-certified in surgery: 37

Total # of surgeons who passed the ABOM exam in 2013 and 2014: 22

Total # of surgeons registered to take the 2015 ABOM exam: 17