Co-Academic leads: Arya Sharma, MD/PhD, FRCPC and Mary Forhan, PhD, MHSc, BSc
Dr. Arya Sharma is professor and chair in obesity research and management at the University of Alberta, and the medical director of the Alberta Health Services Provincial Obesity Strategy. In 2005, he spearheaded the launch of the Canadian Obesity Network-Réseau canadien en obésité; CON-RCO is Canada’s official representative in the World Obesity Federation, an umbrella organization for 52 national obesity associations, representing 56 countries. His research focuses on innovative approaches to managing care for patients with obesity and includes the development of the Edmonton Obesity Staging System, a tool used to assess obesity related risk and prioritize treatment.
Dr. Sharma is on the editorial boards of several international journals and has authored or coauthored more than 275 scientific articles. He has also lectured widely on the aetiology and management of hypertension, obesity and related cardiometabolic disorders. Dr. Sharma is regularly featured as a medical expert in national and international TV and print media including the CBC, CTV, New York Times, and MSNBC.
Dr. Sharma writes Obesity Notes, a widely-read, award-winning blog exploring obesity prevention and management.
Dr. Mary Forhan is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta, a Quality of Life research fellow and an Interdisciplinary Research in Primary Health-Care research fellow. Dr. Forhan is the principal investigator for the Bariatric Care and Rehabilitation Research Group, a program focused on bariatric care and rehabilitation for patients in tertiary care programs in Alberta. Dr. Forhan’s work is focused on improving the quality of health care for patients with severe obesity, reducing disability experienced by persons with obesity thereby reducing the cost of caring for those who have obesity.
Bariatric / Specialized Care Suite
The HSERC Bariatric/Specialized Care Suite is designed to accommodate training for both students and practicing health care professionals. The space is fully equipped with supplies, tools and furnishings particular to the care of patients with severe obesity.
Obesity affects over 6 million Canadians, 1 million of whom suffer from severe obesity. Health professionals are often poorly equipped and lack the basic knowledge and management skills needed to properly manage care for these patients.
Unskilled or inappropriate handling of patients with obesity poses a significant safety risk to both the patient and clinical staff. It is essential that healthcare professionals have experiential learning opportunities to develop the competencies and skills needed to address complex issues and provide evidence-based care of patients with obesity.
Watch interviews of Dr. Arya Sharma sharing about his research:
The following Alberta Health Services videos on Safe Client Handling: Bariatrics were shot on location in HSERC's Bariatric / Specialized Care Suite.