DHR Health: Bariatric and Metabolic Institute is Giving Patients a New Path to Happiness
By Kiko Martinez
Raising the standard of care in obesity treatment across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, DHR Health: Bariatric and Metabolic Institute in Edinburg, Texas, provides patients with “greater access to world-class management of obesity and related diseases, bariatric surgery, clinical trials, treatment protocols, and additional research opportunities.”
According to the most recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects more than 93 million adults in the U.S. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery shows that 228,000 men and women had some form of bariatric surgery in 2017.
At DHR, a team of doctors with decades of combined experience in the field, guide their patients through a number of options they have to reach their weight loss goals. This includes gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery and other bariatric procedures.
The doctors who practice at DHR Health: Bariatric and Metabolic Institute are Dr. Robert Alleyn, Dr. Guadalupe Aranguena-Sharpe, Dr. Michelle Cordoba Kissee, Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, Dr. Michael Martinez and Dr. Manish Singh.
Dr. Michael Martinez, Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon, has been a bariatric surgeon with DHR since 2015. His role includes working with his fellow physicians and patient advocates to prepare patients for surgical weight loss and for life after surgery. Born and raised in Edinburg, Martinez, who received his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, wanted to come back to his hometown and have a positive impact in the community.
“I felt that DHR had the resources and the community-driven mission to accomplish that,” Martinez said. “I love the interaction with the patients, forming relationships with them, gaining their trust and watching as they put in the effort to change their health and their lives in significant ways.”
Martinez said the most challenging part of his job is getting patients, their families and the public at large to realize the impact obesity is having on their health and to help them understand that there are safe solutions that can make a long-term impact on their health.
“Losing weight is really about living better with less pain and discomfort and living the life you want without the burden of obesity,” he said. “Some patients will go out and try to run their first marathon, but for many patients, their success will come in feeling less tired at work or having the energy to enjoy their kids or grandkids.”
For Martinez, improving a patient’s quality of life is what it’s all about. “Every one of my patients has their own unique motivations and unique moments of success,” he said. “I am proud to play a small part in helping patients achieve these life-changing goals.”
Improving Mind and Body
Psychiatrist Dr. Guadalupe Aranguena-Sharpe has been with DHR for almost four years. She provides psychiatric
evaluation to patients prior to bariatric surgery. During her evaluation, Aranguena-Sharpe said she can help identify strengths, support systems, and habits for each individual patient. This includes discussing every aspect of the surgery to ensure that the patient has a complete understanding of the medical procedures they are about to undergo.
“I provide the patients with supportive materials, coping strategies and medication management if it is necessary,”
Aranguena-Sharpe said. “I believe that prior to surgery, it is the perfect time to help some people in areas they are struggling with. If I notice patients have issues with mood, anxiety and eating problems, this is the best time to address them.”
Meeting new people and helping them complete this type of transformation is what Aranguena-Sharpe enjoys most about her position at DHR. Psychiatry was a field she was always attracted to because of the “true therapeutic connection and communication” necessary to fully comprehend the most complex components of a person.
“It is very important to understand the person and how they act around social and emotional encounters to truly address health and wellness,” she said. “Furthermore, I feel cycle pharmacology plays a vital role in beating serious mental health issues. This should be addressed with every patient.”
Aranguena-Sharpe recalls one patient, a young woman, suffering from morbid obesity who earned her Ph.D. but felt frustrated that the only issue in life she was never able to control was her weight.
“Bariatric surgery provided her that tool and it’s been truly inspirational to see her transformation,” Aranguena-Sharpe said. “I hope each patient fulfills their dream of improving their lifestyle and quality of health, which includes mind and body.”
As an endocrinologist for DHR, Dr. Michelle Cordoba Kissee loves being able to tell patients to throw away their medications.
“It is wonderful to see people do really well once they are committed to a new metabolic start in life,” Kissee said. “I enjoy hearing about the things our patients can do now that were just not possible at heavier weights such as traveling, attending social events and being more active with their families.”
Kissee, who completed her residency training in internal medicine and a fellowship in endocrinology at the University of Arizona, has worked as an endocrinologist at DHR for more than five years. She works with patients before and after surgery for medical optimization, including management of weight loss, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
“As an endocrinologist, I not only have a professional interest in obesity, but also all of the metabolic outcomes as well,” she said.
She wants people interested in weight loss surgery to know that it’s not an “easy fix,” but rather a “metabolic reset.” DHR’s most successful patients are the ones that are committed to healthy lifestyle changes.
“We have an entire team here including psychiatry, exercise physiologists, dietitians, endocrinologists, surgeons, nurses, medical assistants and other staff members who are here for your success,” she said. “No one has a perfect path, and we’re here to support everyone with their goals.”
Making a Commitment
Dr. Manish Singh, DHR Medical Director and Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon, remembers a past patient
who always wanted to become a firefighter. Due to her weight and
inability to pass the physical, her dream never came true until she stepped through the doors of DHR to have bariatric surgery.
“She was determined to fulfil her dream and follow everything she learned here at DHR,” Singh said. “She is now a firefighter and she is enjoying her new lease on life.”
A new lease on life is something Singh, who started at DHR in 2011, wants all his patients to experience if they decide that surgery is the right avenue for them to take. “It is very rewarding and satisfying to see the change in patients’ lives,” Singh said.
Singh joined the DHR team when he saw a great opportunity to build a program for quality patient care. “A small effort on my part can make a huge impact in someone’s life,” he said. For patients who are interested in weight loss surgery, Singh wants them to know that it’s a decision they shouldn’t take lightly. The road ahead will be challenging.
“It is not about the surgery,” Singh said. “It’s about making a commitment to a lifestyle change and behavioral modifications for the rest of their lives.”
Dr. Robert Alleyn
Dr. Robert Alleyn played a fundamental role in the creation of the bariatric surgery program at DHR Health, and continues to advance the standard of healthcare that is provided to
Dr. Alleyn is proud to be a part of a bariatric program that offers a complete multidisciplinary approach for their patients. This approach is what Dr. Alleyn believes provides his patients with the best possible health improvements.
Dr. Alleyn is a Rio Grande Valley Native, born and raised in Edinburg, TX. Dr. Alleyn is a US Army Veteran of the 475th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Dr. Alleyn is a board certified in General Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
For more information on DHR Health Bariatric And Metabolic Institute, please visit, rgvweightloss.com.