HUH Weight Loss Surgery Program Named Center of Excellence

WASHINGTON (Nov. 5) -- The Howard University Hospital Center for Wellness and Weight Loss Surgery has been accredited as a Center of Excellence by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

This designation means that Center for Wellness and Weight Loss Surgery, led by Dr. Terrence M. Fullum, has met the essential criteria that ensure it is fully capable of supporting a bariatric surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program.

Howard’s Center provides weight loss surgery as well as non-surgical weight loss.  Heading the Center and its surgical team is Fullum, an associate professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, medical director of the Howard University Center for Wellness and Weight Loss Surgery and chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Howard University Hospital.

Also part of the surgical team is Dr. Daniel D. Tran, an attending physician at the Center and an assistant professor of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, and Dr. Henry Paul, Jr., an assistant professor and chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine and co-director of the Howard University Hospital Combined Hand Surgery Service.

Dr. Denia Tapscott is a specialist in Bariatric Medicine who as program director oversees the non-surgical aspects of weight loss at the Center.

ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients.  Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the pre-hospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process. 

Dr. Edward Cornwell III, surgeon in chief at Howard University Hospital and chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, applauded the announcement.

“Dr. Fullum and the many members of his team are to be congratulated for their approach towards obesity as a disease and as the focus of a vibrant research effort,” Cornwell said.   “The achievement of the Bariatric Center of Excellence classification is consistent with the mission of the Health Sciences enterprise and the Department of Surgery to focus our efforts on clinical and academic excellence around diseases where outcome disparities exist.”

Fullum pointed out that weight-loss surgery has been proven to be the only effective, lasting relief presently for severe obesity.  Additionally, he said, it saves lives by curing obesity-related conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep, and it improves patients’ quality of life.
“We are privileged to provide access to this quality, life-changing program to a traditionally underserved population,” he said.  “The accreditation reflects the comprehensive nature of our program, the experience of our team and the quality of the care that we provide our patients.”

In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase.  Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks.

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