MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) – Now located at the Madison East Health Center, the Mayo Clinic Health System Bariatric department continues to expand boundaries for invasive and non-invasive weight-loss options in Mankato.
“There is a lot of guilt that people have around their weight. We’re really passionate about not only helping our patients, but also their family and friends understand that surgery, medications, and all the other things that we have are tools to help this problem,” medical director and bariatric surgeon Megan Gilmore said.
According to the Community Health Needs Assessment from 2019, 35% of Blue Earth County adults were obese.
Health professionals expect obesity rates to rise due to inactivity and diet changes during the pandemic.
“I really try to take the stigma out of it and talk with patients about a disease, we’re treating a disease, here- really try to make them comfortable and that we’re here to help and be there for them long-term for that support,” clinical nurse specialist and advanced practitioner Heidi Bednarchuk said.
The Mankato bariatric department completed 500 surgeries in over 10 years of service.
Not only will the department celebrate its surgery milestone, but it’s going to add a new surgeon.
“When I meet my patients, I ask them what their goals are. And many of them its really about getting control of their health- not so much just their weight,” new bariatric surgeon Ashwini Poola said.
The bariatric department moved to its new location in November to expand its services for the area.
“Our exam rooms are a no-shame no-blame zone, too. If they feel like they’re struggling, that’s when we most want to see them,” Bednarchuk said.
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