A whole team of caregivers is here for you! We are here to guide you through the pre-operative process and ensure you are prepared and educated for your weight-loss surgery, have a safe operation and are successful in losing weight.
We’d like to introduce you to the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center team, our group of compassionate, educated health professionals who are here for you before, during and after your surgery.
Surgeon: Aviv Ben-Meir, MD, FACS
Dr. Aviv Ben-Meir has been a laparoscopic bariatric surgeon since 2002, with patients coming from all over Ohio and beyond for his expertise. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Dr. Ben-Meir is board-certified in general surgery and a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Society for American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. After completing his residency in general surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, he completed a fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and bariatric surgery at University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Dr. Ben-Meir has performed more than 5,000 bariatric procedures, including laparoscopic and open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and laparoscopic revisional surgery.
Dr. Ben-Meir’s stress-reliever: Exercise. Besides making him feel better overall, he likes to practice what he preaches.
Dr. Ben-Meir’s favorite quote: “Your future depends on a lot of things, but mostly it depends on you.”
Program Manager: Courtney Holbrook, PhD
Courtney has been a bariatric psychologist since 2002 and Lake Health’s program manager since 2013. Patients encounter Courtney regularly in the office as she conducts pre- and post-operative education and support groups. According to Courtney, she loves her job because “our patients are the nicest patients there are. It is so rewarding to see their lives and health improve as
Patient Coordinator: Cindy Pund, LPN
Cindy works with patients to ensure they meet bariatric surgery requirements for insurance approval. Cindy also helps coordinate pre-operative referrals and medical clearances. She says of her opportunity: It’s amazing to see the courage and motivation of our patients and their desire to achieve a healthy/happy lifestyle. It’s rewarding to witness things patients can do after surgery that they couldn’t do before, the non-scale victories.
Cindy prefers: Walking her dog and performing exercises with an exercise ball.
Cindy’s favorite song: Anything by Led Zeppelin
Dietitian: Alexis Supan, MPH, RD
Alexis meets with patients for their pre-operative nutrition education and post-surgery dietary instruction. She is available when patients come for all post-operative appointments to make sure they are staying on track with their food choices. Alexis also conducts pre-operative education and post-operative support groups. She loves seeing how good patients feel as they lose weight and become healthier.
Alexis loves to play: Volleyball
Why Alexis chooses organized sports to stay healthy: Beyond the countless friends she’s made, she loves that it’s a form of exercise that doesn’t seem like a chore!
Alexis’ favorite healthy meal: Mussels in spicy tomato broth
Dietitian: Caitlin McCullough, RD, LD
Caitlin is a clinical dietitian with the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center in Willoughby. She meets with bariatric surgery patients before and after surgery, and conducts nutrition classes.
Caitlin's favorite way to spend her free time: Grocery shopping for new healthy foods and trying out new recipes!
Program Psychologist: Hilary Hassinger, PhD
Hilary’shas been a psychologist to pre- and post-operative bariatric patients in private and program settings since 2005. She conducts pre-operative psychological evaluations. She finds inspiration in seeing the transformations that occur in patients’ lives when they experience success from weight-loss surgery.
Hillary’s favorite exercises include: Running, yoga and Tabata
Fun fact about Hillary: She’s traveled to all 50 states!
Internist: Mihaela Donca, MD
Dr. Donca is a regular face for most patients throughout their pre-operative bariatric process, as she meets with them in the Bariatric Surgery Center multiple times before surgery for their medically supervised dietary appointments and pre-operative medical clearance. Dr. Donca also sees patients while they are in the hospital after surgery and helps with their in-hospital management. She is rewarded and inspired by how motivated bariatric patients are.
Dr. Donca’s favorite exercise: Running
Dr. Donca’s favorite quote: “If you want, you can.”
Dr. Donca’s favorite vacation place: She loves the beach
Nurse: Krystal Minadeo, LPN
Krystal is our clinical nurse who takes patient’s vital signs and reviews their medical history during their pre-operative appointments with Dr. Ben-Meir and their post-operative appointments with him and Dian. She also initiates treatment for patients diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Krystal gets exercise and family time by: Taking walks with her daughter in the stroller
Interesting fact about Krystal: She used to be overweight!