Bethel University Compassionate Medical Education Conference: Obesity and Weight Management

Bethel University Compassionate Medical Education Conference: Obesity and Weight Management
Date Friday, April 12, 2024
8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location Boardroom - View maps and directions
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr St Paul MN 55112
Instructions for GuestsBethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul, MN 55112
Please park in the West parking lot and enter through the Lundquist Community Life Center (CLC). Signage will then lead you to the Olson Boardroom, located on Level 4 of the Brushaber Commons.
CostAttendees receiving CME: $300 | Bethel community members without CME and Bethel PA Clinical Adjunct Faculty: $40 for food
Registration Registration has now closed.
SponsorsBethel University Physician Assistant Program, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk

Event Description

In an interactive format, learn about confronting the complex issues of obesity and weight management. Speakers will provide updates in medical, surgical, and nutritional options, as well as best practices for working with patients in the primary care setting.

We are offering a reduced rate for Bethel community members who do not require continuing education credits and for Bethel Clinical Adjunct Faculty. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

Conference is approved for 6.0 AAFP prescribed credit hours (equivalent to 6 AMA category I credits, or 6 AAPA category I credits).


8:15-9:10 a.m. | Starting the Conversation and Motivational Interviewing - Rachel Miller, PA-C
Discuss the approach to managing obesity as a chronic disease, Identify various approaches to discussing obesity with patients, Describe motivational interviewing techniques to further the conversation with patients regarding the impact of and treatment of obesity, Define the barriers to providing compassionate care for patients with obesity and discuss potential approaches to overcome them in clinical practice.

9:15-10:10 a.m. | Medication Management of Obesity - Natalie Ikeman, PA-C
Describe appropriate candidates for anti-obesity medication, Review FDA-approved medications to treat obesity, Compare the efficacy of pharmacologic agents, Define expected adverse events, Summarize off-label use of medications to treat obesity, Describe how to navigate prior authorizations

10:15-11:10 a.m. | Psychosocial Support for Patients Struggling with Obesity - Anna Vogel, MFT
Identify and understand the reciprocal relationship between obesity and mental health, List weight biases that potentially harm patients , Recognize ways to offer support in non-judgmental ways, Define and compare the mental health strategies that assist in the treatment of obesity

11:15 a.m.-12:10 p.m. | Updates and Considerations for Bariatric Surgery Patients - Munyaradzi Chimukangara, MD
Define and understand the disease of obesity, Explore the etiology and epidemiology of obesity, Review and list the consequences of obesity to the patient, Discuss surgical options and outcomes in managing obesity, Describe and consider a “new” model of care in obesity management.

12:10-1:05 p.m. | Lunch and A Patient's Story - Andy Gall
Patient Andy Gall shares his personal journey with weight loss.

1:05-2 p.m. | Approach to Nutritional Counseling for Patients with Obesity - Dee Dee Francis, MS, RD, LD, CDCES
Discuss the dieting culture and barriers to seeking medical care, Identify various weight loss diets particularly with regard to what works. What does the literature say? Discuss strategies for working with the pediatric population and their families. When is intervention most effective?

2-3 p.m. | Implications for Women's Health - Emily Linklater, DO, OB-GYN
Identify ovarian and uterine changes induced by obesity, Understand obesity risks with respect to puberty, fertility, pregnancy, and menopause, Describe common gynecological conditions associated with obesity, Define strategies to incorporate obesity education in preconceptual counseling and the well woman annual exam.


Rachel Miller, PA-C
Rachel graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science PA program in 2007. She has been a general surgery PA for the last 16 years at Specialists in General Surgery where she partners with her team in caring for patients before and after bariatric surgery. Rachel is also passionate about PA education and part of her time is spent as adjunct faculty at Bethel’s PA program.

Natalie Ikeman, PA-C
Natalie is an obesity medicine specialist at Bhatti Weight Loss Clinic and a 2012 Augsburg PA graduate following her BS at the U of MN in 2009. She practiced FM at HP and HCMC for 11 years, gaining extensive additional training in obesity medicine, both formally and experientially, before joining Bhatti last year. She is an educator, a member of multiple obesity societies, and has done extensive speaking, including lecturing for Bethel’s PA program.

Anna Vogel, LMFT
Anna is a 2002 Baylor University alum, who obtained her MFT degree from Bethel in 2008. She’s had extensive experience at Water’s Edge Counseling and The Emily Program working with clients with eating disorders. She currently has a private practice serving a broad spectrum of clients and takes a special interest in disordered eating. She has been married to Isaac for 16 years and together enjoy shuttling their 3 kids to and from youth sports, as well as welcoming foster kids into their home.

Munyaradzi Chimukangara, MD, FACS
Munya is a 2006 Bethel alum and 2021 Bethel University 4 Under 40 Alumni Achievement Award recipient. He is a General and Bariatric Surgeon at Specialists in General Surgery, and the Chief of Surgery at North Memorial Health – Maple Grove Hospital. He attended medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University, completed a general surgery residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and added an Advanced GI Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at Ohio State University. He is married to Nichole (Bethel BA 2006 and MSpEd 2009) with whom he has four lovely children.

Deanna Francis, MS, RD, LD, CDCES
Dee Dee is an ‘87 alumna of UM-Morris, and graduated from UM-Twin Cities with a Nutrition MSc, RD in 1990. She went on to become certified in diabetes care and education in 2003. She has worked at Allina-St. Francis for 25 years concentrating on obesity and diabetic care, works part time at United Family Medicine in St. Paul, and consults at a group home. For fun she loves to travel with her husband of 33 years, and playing pickleball. She has a daughter who is a PA student.

Andy Gall
Andy lives in Indianapolis, IN, and is a sales rep for an IT company based out of Michigan. He has kindly consented to sharing the story of his lifelong struggle with controlling his weight. He is the youngest of 3 children. His father worked for Eli Lilly, necessitating family moves every few years. He has been married for 25 years and has 3 children of his own ranging from 18-23. He will describe the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges he has faced that eventually culminated in bariatric surgery in November 2022. He will field questions during a Q & A time.

Emily Linklater, DO, FACOG
Emily is an ObGyn in Hudson, WI. She graduated from Kansas State University with a BA in business and entered the business world. A career shift led to a medical degree at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in 2010, a residency at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a five-year stint at the Mayo Clinic in Red Wing before joining Hudson Physicians. She is certified with the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is a certified practitioner in the North American Menopause Society. She and her husband have two children. She enjoys hiking, camping, paddle boarding, and cooking.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Bethel University is recognized as a leader in medical education programs that focus on excellence and compassion. Event sponsorship provides an opportunity for sponsoring organizations to demonstrate their support for local healthcare providers' commitment to compassionate care and improvement of health and wellness for Minnesota residents. See all sponsorship opportunities.


Refunds will not be available after April 5, 2024.


Contact Christy Hanson, Physician Assistant Program Director, at