Person on a scaleThe clinical weight management team had a productive 2019 with continued improvements in our clinical offerings and enhancements in research available to our patients. We added an additional full-time weight management physician at the end of 2019 and replaced many other staff vacancies including two staff nurses, a care assistant and a clinical administrator. With the new staff we had the opportunity to revisit clinical and staff processes for improvements and efficiencies and participate in team building. We had a total of 3,335 individual clinic visits in 2019 and an additional 1,492 group visits in the evening.

Our Special Needs Weight Management clinic had 615 visits last year, up 100 visits over last year. The patients continue to have excellent retention (81% attending three or more visits) and good improvement in weight status (19% improving their BMI percentile by five percentile points or more). When describing what they like about the clinic, patients report “An absolutely awesome team. On every visit they are always consistently cohesive in their ability to work off of each team members’ thoughts and concerns regarding the best treatment plan for my son. Their ability to make sure parents are involved in the process and determining factors of treatment, is beyond anything a parent could imagine.”

The Metabolic Bariatric Clinic had 17 patients undergo gastric sleeve in 2019, up from 11 patients in 2018. We had 697 clinical visits, an increase of 177 visits over the last year. We had 86 postsurgical visits for 28 unique patients, and we now have 19 patients with 6-month post-surgery data. Patients lost an average of 25.9 kg in the first 6 months post-surgery. We have seen 133 patients in various stages of presurgical preparation in 2019, many planning to have surgery in 2020. In 2020 we will roll out a feasibility study to test the Baritastic app for presurgical preparation in children. Parents are grateful for the services, “I’m very impressed with the doctors, and the social worker and everybody else. It was very informative, and I think [the doctor] helped him a lot to begin the process of weight management.”

The PHIT Kids Clinic saw 1,995 visits over the last year. We have increased our enrollment into our national registry research project, POWER, in 2019 and are participating in a quality improvement project to further improve recruitment in 2020. We continued to explore methods to assist with decreasing wait time to get initial appointments and have plans to add a group initial visit called Jumpstart in 2020. Our goal is to enroll referred patients into the Jumpstart initial visit within two weeks of being referred and anticipate that this will assist with improving attendance at subsequent clinic visits. Patients comment that staff is very kind and compassionate, and they are “so pleased to have such excellent resources available for my child. Pleased that they come from such devoted and caring providers as well. I would absolutely recommend this program and Children’s Mercy to anyone who needs these services.”

Other notable achievements for 2019 include one book chapter, three publications, 10 presentations, one NIH grant, four CHLN/ Philanthropic grants and the CMH Shining Star Award April 2019 for Dr. Brooke Sweeney for the highest patient ratings over the previous 12 months. Goals for next year include beginning recruitment for an NIH study in the PHIT Kids Clinic and a centerfunded study in the Metabolic Bariatric Clinic; increasing surgeries to 24 over the year; and opening a new clinical site at Children’s Mercy West.

Dr. Brooke Sweeney