Physician Group of Arizona Inc. (PGA), an organization comprised of primary and specialty care physicians, is expanding with a new practice: PGA Surgical Specialists.
The expansion allows PGA to offer a wide range of bariatric and general surgical services, from major operations to minimally-invasive laparoscopic and outpatient procedures. PGA Surgical Specialists is affiliated with three IASIS Healthcare hospitals in the Valley – Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital in Tempe.
Affiliated with the Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management, the PGA Surgical Specialists perform weight loss procedures at St. Luke’s Medical Center – a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) center, Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, and Mountain Vista Medical Center.
The expansion also brings two Valley surgeons to PGA who have been recognized by Phoenix Magazine as “Top Doctors,” along with their surgical physician assistant:
- Daniel T. Fang, M.D., FACS: Certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Fang has extensive experience in a wide range of bariatric and general surgical procedures. He is also a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Fang serves as a clinical instructor for the Phoenix Integrated Surgical Residency, a clinical assistant professor at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, and an assistant professor at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University.
- Rob F. Schuster, M.D., FACS: Certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Schuster has extensive experience and is fellowship trained in bariatric and general surgical procedures, specializing in general, oncologic, endocrine, trauma and bariatric surgery. Dr. Schuster has also served as a Clinical Instructor in minimally-invasive surgery, and as a Research Fellow at Stanford University. He has also been the recipient of America’s Top Surgeon Award by Consumer’s Research Council of America for many consecutive years.
- Emile Manansala, PA-C: As a Surgical Physician Assistant, Emile Manansala supports Dr. Fang and Dr. Schuster. Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Manansala has extensive experience serving in a support role during advanced laparoscopic and laparotomy procedures. Emile is a fellow member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and an associate member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
The need for bariatric surgery services for weight management is increasing. In Maricopa County alone, one in four adults are obese. In the Hispanic community, that number climbs to nearly 33 percent of the population.
“Obesity-related issues contribute to heart disease and diabetes, the second- and seventh-leading causes of death, respectively,” said Jodi Johnson, director of Bariatric Services of Bridges Center for Weight Management. “According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, approximately 30,914 lives are lost in the county each year due to premature deaths.”
Although choosing to undergo bariatric surgery is one of the most difficult decisions an obese patient can make, it is also tied to undeniably cathartic health benefits. Phoenix resident Winchell Rabara was morbidly obese. His life consisted of taking a lot of prescribed medications to control his diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. This day-in and day-out routine led him to a life-changing epiphany. He had had enough of this lifestyle. After having bariatric surgery performed by Dr. Fang at the Bridges Center for Weight Management, Rabara was able to get his health back on track.
“Today I spend my free time walking and jogging every morning, along with working out at the gym most evenings,” said Rabara. “I no longer spend hundreds of dollars at the pharmacy every few weeks. Bariatric surgery has helped me to regain my health and take control of my life.”