Robert Richard, MD, FACS, is a board-certified surgeon who has performed bariatric surgical procedures for more than a decade and dedicates more than 80 percent of his practice to this one disease.
Dr. Richard attended Cornell University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He fulfilled his surgical, laparoscopic and bariatric training at Harvard University's prestigious Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Debra works collaboratively with the surgeons, associates, physician extenders, patients and the community to coordinate all services and education for the bariatric program. Debra graduated from Palm Beach Community College School of Nursing and has more than 28 years of nursing experience. She has an extensive background in bariatrics. She received her Bachelor of Health Services degree from Florida Atlantic University in southeast Florida and recently completed her Master of Business Administration from Brenau University.
Cris is the manager of the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at Gwinnett Medical Center. Her team of registered dietitians helps patients achieve safe and successful weight loss and develop behaviors that support long-term healthy lifestyles. Cris has a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia State University and is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She brings 21 years of experience in obesity management and diabetes education to the Center for Surgical Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth.
Tracy is a native of Gwinnett County, where she currently resides with her husband and two wonderful children. She graduated from the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in journalism and received her Master of Business Administration from Mercer University.
Tracy comes to us with a wealth of experience. She serves as data analyst for our Center of Excellence and assists with front office responsbilities. She is a valued resource for patients with any billing or reimbursement questions.
Steve is a licensed psychologist who specializes in working with bariatric surgery patients. He has completed more than 2,000 psychological evaluations of weight loss surgery candidates. In addition to his clinical practice, he has published articles on weight loss surgery in professional journals such as Obesity Surgery, Surgery for Obesity and Other Related Disorders, and Bariatric Nursing and Surgery Journal, as well as a publication for patients, Obesity Help Magazine. He has previously taught as a visiting professor at Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University and is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine.
Edward is the coordinator of the Feel in Tune (FIT) program at Gwinnett SportsRehab's clinics in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Edward is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a strength and conditioning specialist. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. He earned his master's degree in exercise science from Georgia Southern University. Edward has taught health, physical education and conditioning, and he has coached at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels. He has worked in hospital-based fitness programs for more than 15 years.
Amy works closely with patients and family members through all stages of their weight loss journey. She sees them in the office for their initial consultation, oversees their care in the hospital before and after surgery, and follows their progress after surgery in the office as well. She also assists in the education of the staff who care for our patients in the hospital setting. Amy has worked for the hospital system for 13 years, caring for patients on the medical-surgical floors and in the operating room. Amy attended nursing school at North Georgia College and University and obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Kennesaw State University.
Aileen assists Amy Smith, RN, in caring for our patients. She helps them through every part of their journey, from initial consultation to surgery and beyond. Aileen has nine years of nursing experience and has worked as a charge/staff nurse assisting in the care of Gwinnett’s bariatric patients. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Georgia Southern University.
Roxanne is our program support coordinator. She works closely with patients to overcome eating behaviors and lifestyle patterns that are interfering with optimal weight loss success pre- and post-operatively. Roxanne offers support and education through support groups, individual and group education, as well as through the Freedom from Emotional Eating Workshop offered twice a year. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from Syracuse University, and is a licensed clinical social worker. She has 16 years of clinical social work practice in diverse settings, with five of those years working closely with bariatric patients.
Jennifer comes to us with more than 20 years of experience as a medical transcriptionist and front office coordinator. For the past three years, she has been a dedicated employee of Gwinnett Medical Center, most recently working as a front desk coordinator for the Gwinnett Breast Center. Jennifer married her husband, Shad, of 20 years in Gwinnett, where she was raised. Jennifer and Shad have three wonderful children—Alison, Brett and Brady—who keep them both young at heart.
Edwin Mancia, CFC, comes to CSWM from Gwinnett Medical Center Emergency Department in Lawrenceville, where he has been assisting patients as a financial counselor for the past year. He has been in customer service relations since 1997. Edwin recently acquired his Certified Financial Counselor recognition and will be functioning as CSWM’s financial coordinator. Edwin has been married for five years to his lovely wife, Kennia, and together they have two very active little boys, Jayden and Liam. Edwin has a passion for helping individuals feel and understand that they are valued and respected human beings. Simplicity, honesty and compassion are at the heart of his helping nature. He is excited to use his passion to help each and every patient on his or her journey.
Renee Covey, RD, LD, CDE, graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics. She has more than 30 years of experience as a registered dietitian, 15 of which she has been a certified diabetes educator. She has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, extended care facilities, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, outpatient counseling centers, a National Institutes of Health study in diabetes, diabetes camps, cardiac rehab programs and universities. At GMC’s Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center, she teaches classes for diabetes, pre-diabetes and cardiac rehab patients. Renee completes individual nutrition assessments and education for pre- and post-op patients at CSWM; this includes follow-up clinic visits, group nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations.
Sarah Bignotii has been with GMC’s Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center for 15 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from the University of Maine at Orono in 1984 and completed a dietetic internship at University Hospital and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, in 1985. Sarah is both a registered dietitian (27 years) and a certified diabetes educator (20 years). Her specialty is in weight management, having earned American Nutrition and Dietetics Association Certifications in adult weight management and pediatric and adolescent weight management. Sarah works hard to be a role model to her patients by practicing what she teaches. She enjoys cooking, walking and jazzercising.