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The Obesity Epidemic and Its Impact on the Workplace

June 8, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am


Obesity doesn’t just influence employees’ waistlines, but also employers’ bottom lines, which is why we want to help employers understand its causes and effects on health – and how their employees and businesses are impacted – and offer best practices and guidance on how to manage this epidemic in the workplace. 

The Alliance will be joined by Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), M3 Insurance, and Health Payment Systems (HPS) to bring forth an employer panel and several subject matter experts in psychology, primary care, health communications, human resources, and obesity medicine to help address this all-too-common chronic illness in an integrated, straightforward manner. 

The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality is a multi-stakeholder collaborative that includes all Wisconsin health systems and their affiliated medical clinics and several dental practices. As a member-driven organization, WCHQ members publicly report clinical performance data and use that information to collectively drive improvement, promote transparency and increase equity in health care.   

M3 is an independent and privately owned insurance broker that helps employers manage risk, purchase insurance, and provide benefits to their employees. They partner with clients on everything from property & casualty and employee benefits to personal lines, executive benefits, and employer-sponsored retirement plans. 

HPS is a broad, independent Wisconsin health network that simplifies billing, assumes responsibility for patient debt and more. HPS’s goal is to reduce the cost of healthcare administration while maintaining the highest level of provider and patient satisfaction in the industry through a better payment and reimbursement system. 

Event Recording:

Event Handouts:

 Event Presentations:

Schedule of Events:

9:00am – 9:05am | Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D., senior vice president, business development and strategic marketing, The Alliance 
  • Jen Koberstein, program manager, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality 

9:05am – 10:10 am | Disease & Psychology

  • Obesity in Wisconsin, Christopher Weber, MD, bariatric medical director, Ascension Wisconsin 
  • Treating Obesity, Melanie Smith, DO, family medicine and obesity, Advocate Aurora 
  • The Costs, Behavior, and Psychology of Obesity, John Briggs, Ph.D., ThedaCare Behavioral Health  
  • Q&A for Doctors, Jen Koberstein, Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D. 

10:10am – 10:55 am | Employer Panel

  • Abby Ammerman, health strategy and communications, H-E-B 
  • Lauren Schrage, director of operations, Aspirus Health Plan 
  • Teresa Pulvermacher, president and medical director, Weber Group 

10:55am – 11:00am | Closing Remarks

  • Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D


This event has been approved for HCRI and SHRM CE Credits.https://www.novonordisk.com/


Christopher Weber


Dr Weber is an internist, pediatrician, and obesity medicine specialist and serves as the Medical Director for Asension-Wisconsin’s Bariatric service line. He sits on several committees of the Obesity Medicine Association, participates in obesity-focused clinical research, and is involved in medical student and resident education. 

Melanie Smith


Melanie Smith is board certified in Family Medicine and a diplomate in Obesity Medicine. She is also a member of American Academy of Family Physicians, Obesity Medicine Association, the Obesity Society and on the WCHQ advisory group for Obesity.  

Dr. Smith earned her degree from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL in 1995 and completed her family medicine residency at University of Illinois Christ Hospital in Family Medicine. She has been in family medicine at Burlington, WI since 1998 in multiple leadership roles. She is also the medical director of the HMR program since 2010.  She passed her obesity medicine boards in 2019 and has since transitioned to practicing obesity medicine full-time. 

John R Briggs


John Briggs is a Licensed Psychologist working with patients and families who are pursuing healthier and active lives through weight loss with bariatric surgery at the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah, WI.  

He works closely with this multidisciplinary treatment team and provides services at ThedaCare Behavioral Health, Menasha, WI.  John has had several academic appointments, including Marquette University and UW Madison.  He works with patients from a Constructivist and Solution Focused perspective and has been a well-known and respected presenter/trainer and leader with these approaches to treatment. 

Abby Ammerman

Health Strategy and Communications Team Lead

Abby Ammerman leads the Health Strategy and Communications Team for H-E-B out of San Antonio, Texas.  H-E-B is a grocery retailer in Texas and Mexico with 120,000 employees. She has been in the employee health and welfare industry for the past 14 years designing, implementing, and evaluating programs for large employer groups.  

Prior to H-E-B, Abby worked for Cooper Wellness Strategies and Cigna Healthcare as a consultant. She holds a Master’s degree in public health with an emphasis on Health Promotion in the workplace from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication from Ohio University. 

Teresa Pulvermacher


As President and Medical Director for Weber Health Logistics and its healthcare affiliate, Teresa serves as liaison between corporate and small business partners and the health care realm. As a service to its partners and customers, she ensures transparency in all transactions, which results in seamless management of a partner organization’s healthcare negotiations with providers and ensures a return on a healthcare investment through cost containment and controlled premium increases. Teresa works in tandem with corporate, small business, and community partners and their team of health and wellness experts to realize an organization’s desired goals and outcomes.   

As an FNP, Teresa serves as a healthcare provider, and began her health education at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and completed Adult and Family Nurse Practitioner training at Viterbo University.  

Lauren Schrage

Human Resources Management

Lauren Schrage was raised in Marshfield, Wisconsin, received her degree in human resources management and organizational learning and development from Rasmussen College and has worked in the insurance industry since 2012.   

Lauren began her career with Aspirus in 2015 first working in human resources and in 2019 moved to Aspirus Arise, now Aspirus Health Plan.  Lauren has served initially as an Account Manager with Aspirus Health Plan later moving to the Director of Operations.  


June 8, 2022
9:00 am - 11:00 am