Dr. Mayssoun Elchoufi earned her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2002. She completed her Internal Medicine residency training at the Medical College of Georgia in 2005. Following her residency, she worked as a primary care physician in the Augusta area for several years. Subsequently, she accepted a position as a hospitalist with Novant Health in Charlotte, NC. There, she provided comprehensive inpatient medical care at a 580-bed private hospital, and also served on various hospital committees and participated in process-improvement projects to enhance patient care and safety. Although both outpatient and inpatient care presented unique challenges and opportunities to improve the health of her patients, Dr. Elchoufi was increasingly impressed by the magnitude of medical issues she encountered which could have been prevented, cured, or significantly improved by lifestyle modifications. A major health problem she encountered on a daily basis, and which she saw patients continuously struggle with, was obesity. Dr. Elchoufi can also attest to the fact that this is a chronic disease, which, like any other chronic disease, requires an ongoing strategy for effective long-term medical management by a health care provider who is skilled and knowledgeable in treating that condition, and who takes the time to listen.
Dr. Elchoufi felt she could make a significant impact on her patients’ health, by dedicating the time and taking the necessary steps to learn about the treatment of obesity in detail. She sought additional training and certification in medical bariatrics, the medical specialty focusing on the treatment of obesity and weight-related medical problems. She has participated in several medical education programs through the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the Harvard School of Medicine. After successfully completing the requisite training, Dr. Elchoufi took and passed the annual certification examination, earning the designation of Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine – one of only about 650 physicians in the country at that time (and the first female physician in the CSRA) to have earned this distinction. Physicians certified in obesity medicine are able to positively impact all systems of the body by incorporating weight management into traditional models of medical practice. Specifically, this subspecialty requires a thorough understanding of the treatment of obesity and the genetic, biochemical, environmental, social and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity.