Weight Management Center

weight management center

Weight Management Staff

Since 1974, the Weight Management Center has been MUSC's resource to help patients lose weight and maintain weight loss. The Weight Management Center is part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Below is a listing of the MUSC Weight Management Center faculty and staff.

Directors:
Patrick M. O'Neil, Ph.D. 
Joshua D. Brown, Ph.D.

Patient Services Staff:
Shawn Witherspoon
Mary Harley, B.S.

Physicians:
Robert Malcolm, M.D.
Kelly Holes-Lewis, M.D.

Nursing Staff:
Susan Pechon, R.N.

Registered Dietitians:
Tonya F. Turner, M.P.H., R.D., L.D.
Laura Nance, M.A., R.D., C.D.E.

Exercise Physiologists:
David O. Sword, P.T,, D.P.T., C.C.S
Alicia O'Connor, M.S.
Amanda Griffith, M.S.

Research Staff:
Suzanne Kuker, M.A., C.C.R.C.
Lynne Becker, M.S.P.H


Patrick M. O’Neil, Ph.D., Director, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University where he has been on the faculty since 1977. He is a Certified Clinical Trial Investigator through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. O’Neil has devoted his career to helping patients manage their weight and is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and presentation.  For over nine years, Dr. O’Neil wrote the popular “Weighing the Choices” column which appeared every week in the Sunday Charleston Post & Courier.

Dr. O'Neil was recently awarded honorary membership by the American Dietetic Association for his work and dedication to the field of dietetics. This is the highest award granted by the ADA to non-members, and only two are awarded each year nationwide. He is also a leader of The Obesity Society (the main scientific and clinical professional association devoted to obesity) and is the Immediate Past-President of the Society.
   

Dr. Patrick O'Neil

Joshua D. Brown, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Services, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. He received his bachelor's degree from Appalachian State University before completing his master's and doctoral training at Texas A&M University. He then completed his pre-doctoral internship and two years of post-doctoral training in psychology at the Medical University of South Carolina. His clinical and research interests and experience are primarily with overweight/obesity, eating disorders, and body image.
  

Dr. Josh Brown

Shawn Witherspoon is a Patient Service Specialist at the MUSC Weight Management Center. Her duties include greeting the wonderful patients of the WMC and assisting the various staff and faculty at the MUSC Weight Management Center. She has experience in management and was the leader of production of Charleston's very own Moo Roo Handbags for 6 years. Shawn is currently earning a Bachelor's Degree in Business.

Shawn Witherspoon

Mary Harley, B.S., is a Patient Service Specialist at the MUSC Weight Management Center. Her primary responsibility is to ensure that the Center runs smoothly for patients and staff each day, which includes a host of varied administrative and support tasks. Mary graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Business Administration. She has experience in business management, including a combined 14 years at MeadWestvaco in the Purchasing Department in the Chemical Division and as Administrative Assistant in the Enterprise Information Systems Division.
  

Mary Harley

Robert Malcolm, M.D., Senior Medical Consultant, is a Professor of Psychiatry, Family Medicine and Pediatrics. He is one of the founders of the Weight Management Center and has conducted clinical and research work on obesity for over 35 years. Dr. Malcolm was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Service Award at the Faculty Convocation in 2010, in recognition of his years as a truly outstanding researcher, clinician, and educator. He is board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
  

Dr. Robert MalcomDistinguished Faculty Award

Kelly Holes-Lewis, M.D. is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, division of Brain Research and Integrative Neuropsychopharmacology. She is a board certified psychiatrist, and has also completed a residency in Nuclear Medicine and a fellowship in PET/CT imaging. Her research and clinical interests are in the neuro-hormonal regulation of appetite and satiety that results in obesity and its relationship with mood and anxiety.

                     Dr. Kelly Holes-Lewis
Susan Pechon, R.N., is a clinical research nurse at the Weight Management Center.  She is a graduate of the State University of New York.  Her experience includes 7 years in clinical research at The Rockefeller University and 15 years in the management of cardiovascular and related diseases. Susan has been working in weight management research since 1997.

                   Susan Pechon, RN

Tonya F. Turner, M.P.H., R.D., L.D., is a Registered Dietitian and nutrition specialist at the Weight Management Center. Tonya graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in dietetics. She completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University, and has since earned a master's in public health degree from Walden University. Tonya has been certified through the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. Tonya was recently recognized by the South Carolina Dietetic Association as the Young Dietitian of the Year for 2010.
  

Tonya TurnerYoung Dietitian Award

Laura Nance, M.A., R.D., C.D.E., is a Registered Dietitian and nutrition specialist at the Weight Management Center. She completed her dietetic internship and earned a master's degree from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Laura earned her Diabetes Educator certification in 2004 and has clinical experience in both diabetes and weight management. Laura was recently recognized by the South Carolina Dietetic Association as the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for 2009.
  

Laura NanceOutstanding Dietitian Award

David O. Sword, P.T., D.P.T., C.C.S., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science-Physical Therapy Program. He is a licensed Physical Therapist and an Exercise Physiologist, with 19 years of clinical experience. He holds certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as an Exercise Specialist, and Program Director, and through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist.
  

David Sword

Alicia O'Connor, M.S., is an Exercise Physiologist at the MUSC Weight Management Center. She received her B.S. degree at the University of South carolina and did her graduate work in Exercise Science at Appalachian State University. Alicia is been certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Instructor. She is currently involved in a research grant focusing on obesity prevention.

Alicia O'Connor

Amanda Griffith, M.S., is an Exercise Physiologist at the MUSC Weight Management Center. She received her B.S. degree from Erskine College and received her Master's degree from The Citadel Graduate College. She holds a certification as a Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In addition to her work at the MUSC Weight Management Center, she also works at the MUSC Wellness Center as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. In addition, Amanda recently joined the US Army National Guard.Amanda Griffith

Suzanne Kuker, M.A., C.C.R.C., is a research coordinator at the MUSC Weight Management Center. She earned her B.S. degree from Clemson University and her Master’s degree from The Citadel.  Since coming to MUSC in 2008, she has managed both government and industry sponsored trials in a variety of clinical areas.  She is certified through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals as a Clinical Research Coordinator.

Lynne Becker, M.S.P.H., is a research coordinator at the MUSC Weight Management Center. She earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science from Russell Sage College in NY and holds a  biostatistics and epidemiology degree from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA. Lynne came to the Weight Management Center with over 20 years’ experience in research. She began her research career in corporate research in device and drug clinical trials, moved into academics and has worked and taught at the university level. Notably, Lynne started the first animal research unit for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including designing their global  database for animal research and overseeing their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

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