Support Groups

Weight Loss Surgery Support Groups

You will find support from BayCare all the way through your weight loss journey to ensure your continuing success. When you attend a support group in the Tampa Bay area, you’re surrounded by people who understand your goals and have also undergone weight loss surgery. You’ll receive up-to-date information and will be given the opportunity to discuss personal and professional issues that arise from weight loss surgery like Gastric Bypass Surgery, LAP-BAND® Surgery, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, or Revisional Bariatric Surgery.

Support groups are a valuable place for weight loss patients to meet and discuss behavioral changes and ongoing lifestyle changes - share your story and learn from others who have undergone the same transformation. Following weight loss surgery, patients are faced not only with new eating and drinking behavior, but may also have difficulty in making sense of the role food plays in their lives.

Support sessions can increase the chances of short and long-term success following bariatric surgery. Topics can include dealing with not only nutritional and physical health, but also emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual well-being. Your significant other is also encouraged to attend.

For more information on a weight loss surgery support group near you, please call the Bariatric Manager affiliated with your physician:

Bariatric Surgery Program Manager: Michelle Stracke, St. Joseph's Hospital, call (813) 870-4986 or email

  • David F. Echevarria, MD

Bariatric Manager: Lisa Musician, South Florida Baptist Hospital, call (813) 707-2152 or email

  • Stephen M. Butler, MD
  • Clinton R. Hall, MD
  • Anthony S. Rossi, DO

Bariatric Manager: Vicky Blackard, Mease Dunedin Hospital, call (727) 734-6879 or email.

  • Richard S. Gordon, MD
  • Theodore R. Small, MD
  • Sebastian Tas, DO

Bariatric Manager: Fran Russell, St. Anthony's Hospital, call (727) 825-1490 or email.

  • Robyn M. Ache, DO
  • Kevin L. Huguet, MD
  • Tiffany M. Jessee, DO

Weight Management Program Coordinator: Kimberly Gafford, Bartow Regional Medical Center, call (813) 519-1805 or email

  • Donald R. Fridley, DO

Get Started Today!

BayCare is proud to offer assistance and support for individuals throughout the Tampa Bay area on their quest to lose weight through bariatric surgery or non-surgical means. Patients in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Plant City, Oldsmar, Lutz, and the surrounding areas can register today for an online or in-person weight loss information session. You can also call (855) 314-8350 for a free physician referral.