The UCLA Center for Obesity and METabolic health center uses a team approach to provide the most comprehensive resources possible for the patient. Team members are involved in the patient's care from screening through follow-up.
Erik Dutson, MD, FACS
Surgical Director, Center for Obesity and METabolic Health (COMET)
Executive Director, Center for Advanced Surgical & Interventional Technology (CASIT)
Clinical Professor of Surgery
Dr. Erik Dutson is the Surgical Director of the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health (COMET Program) at UCLA, and has been a part of the multidisciplinary approach to the clinical management of obesity at UCLA for twelve years. He has been actively involved in the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the American College of Surgeons and the Society for American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, where he serves on several committees and presents research on an a regular basis. He has been the Director of the Minimally Invasive/Bariatric Fellowship training program at UCLA since 2006, and provided the structure necessary to properly train minimally-invasive (MIS) bariatric surgeons in a multidisciplinary fashion according to the requirements of the MIS Fellowship Council. He has multiple scientific publications on clinical management of obesity, and his role as a patient and clinician educator has required him to maintain active working knowledge of global research on obesity mechanisms and treatment. More >
Lauren Lemieux, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
Lauren Lemieux, MD is an internist and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in Westwood. She practices medicine in the division of Clinical Nutrition, the Center of Obesity and Metabolic Health (COMET), and the UCLA Medical Weight Management Program (formerly RFO). Dr. Lemieux is board certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine and as a Physician Nutrition Specialist. More »
Michael Garcia, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
Michael Garcia, MD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Nutrition and Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA. He received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed residency training in internal medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident and hospitalist. He then completed a fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at UCLA. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and as a Physician Nutrition Specialist. More »
Bariatric Program Manager
Kaitlyn is the Program Manager for the Section of MIS and Bariatric Surgery. She joined the UCLA Bariatric team in 2016 after relocating from New York. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in New York City, she decided to pursue a career in route to Healthcare Administration. In 2014, she began working for a Bariatric Surgery Program in New York, where she gained insight and knowledge about obesity, insurance, and healthcare as a whole. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2016, she began working as the Financial Counselor for the UCLA Bariatric Section and in 2018 became the Program Manager. In her role, she manages the staff, program analysis and outcomes, marketing and outreach, website development, accreditation maintenance, Family Medical Leave of Absence for patients and family members, and complex Insurance inquires.
Anna Balioukova, MSN, NP
Nurse Practitioner II
Anna Balioukova has been with UCLA for 12 years. After providing care to bariatric patients in the immediate post-operative period as a floor nurse, she witnessed firsthand the rapid resolution of comorbidities, which piqued her interest in metabolic surgery. After obtaining her Masters of Science degree in Nursing from UCLA In 2013, she began working as a bariatric surgery manager. Her clinical interests include the brain-gut connection and importance of psychological factors in postoperative weight loss maintenance. Her role is to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care for patients requiring specialized bariatric care in collaboration with health care team. She provides direct patient care and education to patients and serves as a resource and educator.
Seu Park, MSN, NP
Nurse Practitioner II
The Surgical Coordinator is available to assist patients through every step of the surgical process. She is a resource for information regarding the procedures, pre-operative instructions, scheduling pre-operative follow-up appointments, surgery-scheduling, and insurance authorizations.
Christine Goukasian, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Christine completed her Masters of Science in Nutritional Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science from California State University, Northridge. Her dietetic internship was completed at Lenoir-Rhyne University, with emphasis on childhood obesity. She has experience working in multiple areas including clinical nutrition, weight management, prenatal nutrition, diabetes and renal disease. She enjoys being part of a vital multidisciplinary team to help patients succeed in weight loss and is committed to helping patients meet their dietary needs through nutrition education. Christine believes the benefits of healthy nutrition on our mind and body is endless. She speaks Armenian fluently and is able to work with Armenian speaking patients.
Allison Barbera, MS, RDN
Allie is a graduate of UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a Concentration in Health and Minor in Public Health. After spending a year abroad, she later graduated from Winthrop University in South Carolina with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. She completed her dietetic internship at Lenoir-Rhyne University, with a Concentration in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. Prior to her position at UCLA, Allie completed the Certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and worked as a weight management dietitian in North Carolina. Allie has a wide range of interests from clinical obesity interventions to food systems and global nutrition initiatives. She is passionate about helping patients through the healing power of food and the policy, systems and environmental changes necessary to facilitate optimal living. In her spare time, Allie loves exploring her new home on the West Coast. More >
The psychologist specializes in the assessment and evaluation of identifying and treating emotional components of improper eating habits.
The administrative assistant is the first point of contact for every patient. He guides each new patient through the process before their first clinic appointment and answers any questions the patient may have. He provides information about the program and schedules new patient appointments in addition to handling the day-to-day functions of the office.