Back to Virtua News

Virtua Launches Complete Weight Management Program to Help Patients Achieve Safe Weight Loss

April 25, 2024 - Patients receive personalized weight loss plans and support from multiple clinicians to reach their goals.

April 25, 2024

Virtua Health, the largest health system in South Jersey, has recently launched the Virtua Complete Weight Management Program. Patients in the program receive personalized, medically supervised weight loss plans that may include weight loss medication options and bariatric surgery options based on health history, health status, and goals. The plans also include support from behavioral health specialists, registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and nurse navigators.

“Obesity is most definitely a chronic and multifactorial disease—as mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey special,” explained Gaurav Sharma, MD, director of obesity medicine at Virtua. “And losing weight is much more than just looking better—it’s about feeling better and improving overall health.” Although Virtua Health’s board-certified obesity medicine experts have successfully treated patients for decades, news reports refer to the past year as an obesity drug boom that is sweeping America.

Winfrey is one of many household names who has spoken openly about losing weight thanks to doctor-prescribed injectable medications. In a Pew Research Study, more than half of U.S. adults who have heard of Zepbound, Wegovy, and other similar dugs say they are good weight-loss options for people with obesity or a weight-related medical condition.

Still, Dr. Sharma reminds people that no single weight-loss plan works equally well for all people.

“Patients in our program receive a comprehensive personalized approach to weight loss that is backed by science and supported by a team dedicated to helping them achieve their weight loss goals in a safe and sustainable way for long-term, healthy results,” he said. “I want to make a connection and be a resource to my patients.”

A Father Decides to Lose Weight for His Son
Dan Shaw, age 36, from Sicklerville, NJ, committed to losing weight when his three-year-old son Bear Patrick was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney disease. This launched the search for a potential kidney donor and Dan, who weighed 326 pounds, was told by physicians that he was not a candidate because his Body Mass Index (BMI) was too high.

“I decided at that moment to lose weight,” he stated. “We have about another year before the kidney donation surgery for my son, and I am determined to get my BMI where it needs to be for me to be a potential donor for him.”

Dan has been a patient of Dr. Sharma and the program’s registered dietician since December 2023. He has lost almost 50 pounds by living a healthier lifestyle that includes, portion control, exercise, and taking Zepbound™, an injectable weight-loss medication that Dan says has made his weight loss journey doable.

“I feel great. I can do more now. I am running, biking, and weightlifting,” Dan explained. “I am committed to this weight loss journey because I know that my weight loss and healthier lifestyle will not only help me but will also help my son. My weight loss will improve both of our lives.”