The Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative Team
Amir A. Ghaferi, M.D., M.S.
Program Director, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Dr. Ghaferi graduated from UCLA in 2001, received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2005, and completed his general surgery residency at the University of Michigan in 2012. Dr. Ghaferi also completed a health services research fellowship with the Michigan Surgical Collaborative for Outcomes Research and Evaluation group and obtained a Masters degree in Health and Healthcare Research during this time. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. At the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System, he is the Chief of General Surgery and Founder/Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program which serves Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.Dr. Ghaferi’s clinical practice is devoted to advanced laparoscopy, including gastroesophageal reflux surgery, bariatric surgery, and abdominal wall and groin hernias. Dr. Ghaferi’s research focuses on understanding the relationship of organizational culture to quality and efficiency, with the ultimate goal of designing interventions to improve care locally, regionally, and nationally.
Jonathan F. Finks, M.D.
Program Co-Director, Associate Professor of Surgery
Dr. Finks is a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan. Dr. Finks attended college at Harvard University and medical school at the University of California, Irvine. He completed a General Surgery residency at the University of Cincinnati and went on to complete a 2-year research and clinical fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Finks’ clinical interests are in minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery and he served as the director of the Adult Bariatric Surgery Program at the University of Michigan from 2011 until 2014. His research focus is on improving surgical outcomes in bariatric surgery through collaborative quality improvement. Dr. Finks has served on the Executive and Publication Committees of the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) since 2007 and now serves as the co-director of the MBSC.
Justin Dimick, M.D.
Director of Surgical Coaching Program
Justin B. Dimick, M.D., M.P.H. is the George D. Zuidema Professor of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, and Associate Chair for Strategy & Finance at the University of Michigan. Dr. Dimick is a graduate of Cornell University and Johns Hopkins Medical School. He completed his surgical training at the University of Michigan and a health services research fellowship at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. Dr. Dimick’s clinical practice is primarily devoted to advanced laparoscopy, including treatment of morbid obesity, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), paraesophageal hernias, abdominal wall hernias, and other benign and neoplastic diseases of the stomach, spleen, and foregut. Dr. Dimick serves as Director of the Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy at the University of Michigan, where he has an active research program. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), his research focuses on quality measurement, policy evaluation, and large-scale, innovative quality improvement interventions. He is leading the Surgical Coaching initiative of the MBSC.
Oliver A. Varban, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Dr. Oliver Varban, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Section of General Surgery. Dr. Varban graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and completed his General Surgery residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Varban went on to complete a fellowship in Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Health System in October of 2011 and is the current director of the Adult Bariatric Surgery Program. Dr. Varban’s clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery and surgery for morbid obesity. His research focus includes quality of care and clinical outcomes of bariatric surgery as well as surgical education.
Arthur M. Carlin, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Professor of Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine. Chair, Executive Committee, Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. Division Head, General Surgery and Vice-Chairman, Department of Surgery, Henry Ford Health System
Dr. Arthur Carlin is Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. He spent five years as an Attending Staff at the Detroit Medical Center then joined the Henry Ford Health System in 2003 and was appointed Division Head of General Surgery in 2011 and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery in 2014. Dr. Carlin graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wayne State University with a degree in Biology. He completed his general surgery residency and obtained his medical degree at Wayne State University where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with High Distinction. Dr. Carlin is dedicated to education and spent nearly a decade as a member of the Graduate Medical Education Committee and as director of the senior surgical resident conferences within the Henry Ford Health System. He has been a frequent annual recipient of the Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award from Wayne State University.
As a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery he serves on the Access to Care Committee and the Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program Verification Subcommittee and previously worked on the ASMBS MBSAQIP and Bariatric Credentialing Taskforces. He has been named as Co-Chair of the ASMBS committee Video/Archive on Audio Visual. Dr. Carlin is a Past President of the Michigan Bariatric Society (State Chapter of the ASMBS) and the Detroit Surgical Association. He is the current Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative and is dedicated to optimizing bariatric surgery outcomes within the state of Michigan and globally through quality collaborative improvement. Dr. Carlin has served on the Executive Committee since 2006 and the Publications Committee since 2009 of the MBSC. He has broad experience in the field of bariatric surgery and has performed over 2000 laparoscopic bariatric operations at Henry Ford Hospital while helping develop their MBSAQIP verified Bariatric Surgery Center into a top tier program.
Amanda Stricklen, R.N., M.S.
Lead Senior Project Manager
Amanda Stricklen, RN, MS is the Lead Senior Project Manager for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master of Science degree in Community and Public Health Nursing from the University of Michigan. Since completing her education, she has worked on a post-surgical floor, which included urology, gastrointestinal and transplant patients, at University of Michigan hospital. As the Lead Senior Project Manager for MBSC, Amanda is currently involved in measuring and improving the quality of care for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative, which is a statewide registry. Her responsibilities include reviewing the accuracy of submitted data, performing site audits and providing collaboration between the coordinating center and participating sites.
Rachel Ross, R.N., M.S.
Senior Project Manager
Rachel Ross, RN, MS is the Senior Project Manager for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. Rachel received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and her Master of Science degree in Nursing Business and Health Systems from the University of Michigan. Since completing her education, Rachel has worked on a post-surgical floor, which includes gastrointestinal and transplant patients, at the University of Michigan hospital. As the Senior Project Manager for MBSC, she is currently involved in measuring and improving the quality of care for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. Her responsibilities include ensuring the accuracy of submitted data, performing site audits, providing collaboration between sites, and assisting the Lead Senior Project Manager.
Anne Cain-Nielsen, M.S.
Anne Cain-Nielsen received an M.S. in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Minnesota. She has previously been employed as a staff researcher at the University of Minnesota’s HIV/STI Intervention and Prevention Studies Program and completed an internship at the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Health Care Policy and Research. In her current position at the University of Michigan, she performs data analysis for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC), Michigan Trauma Quality Improvement Program (MTQIP), Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC), and other Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy research projects.
Gale O’Reilly joined the MBSC team in 2009 as the Administrative Assistant. For the past five years, Gale has supported the day-to-day activities of the collaborative. Her main focus is patient follow-up and supporting the project managers. With her ability to multitask, prioritize and learn new tasks, Gale has been a great asset to the MBSC family.
Haley Stevens, M.P.H.
Quality Improvement Coordinator
Haley Stevens is a Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC). Haley received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan and her MPH in Epidemiology from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Prior to her current position, Haley interned with The Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics and CARE International. As the Quality Improvement Coordinator, Haley is involved with measuring and evaluating the quality of care of the MBSC. Her responsibilities include managing and coordinating quality improvement initiatives, facilitating collaboration among participating sites, managing publicity and social media operations, and assisting the Senior Project Managers.
Aaron Bonham, MSc
Aaron Bonham received his M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Ohio University and his B.S. in Psychology from Evangel University in Springfield, MO. Prior to his current position, he worked as a data analyst at the University of Waterloo in the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact. Currently, Aaron performs data analysis for the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) and other Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP) projects at the University of Michigan Health System.
Senior Administrative Assistant
Christina Karst is the Senior Administrative Assistant to Dr. Ghaferi and the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. Christina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Davenport University. Since completing her education, Christina has gained over 10 years of experience in Administrative roles. At Con-way Freight she started as a Sales Support Analyst, supporting 5 Directors of Sales and was promoted to a Senior Sales Support Analyst where she supported the Senior VP of Sales. As the Senior Administrative Assistant to Dr. Ghaferi & MBSC, Christina is currently involved in implementing LEAN processes to increase efficiency. Her main focus is supporting Dr. Ghaferi and the project managers. She provides support to the team through calendar management, event planning, travel coordination and ad hoc requests. With her attention to detail, ability to multi-task and process improvements, Christina has been an exceptional asset to the MBSC Collaborative.
Emily Wells, M.P.H.
Emily Wells, MPH is a Qualitative Analyst for the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP). Emily received her M.P.H. in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health and her B.A. in Global Environment and Health and Medical Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Prior to her current position, she worked as a Research Associate at Boston Medical Center, examining the social contextual factors that influence obesity among Boston public housing residents. She conducted qualitative data analysis in the area of chronic disease prevention and community based participatory research that she is able to apply in her current qualitative work at CHOP.