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BMI Weight Category
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18.5- 24.9 Normal
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 34.9 Obese
35 - 39.9 Clinically Obese
40 or greater Morbidly Obese

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a general indicator of whether or not you are maintaining a healthy weight based on the ratio of your weight to your height. It’s an imperfect scale as it doesn't account for differences in body types. For example, a 5 foot 9 inch bodybuilder who weighs 215 pounds and has a 6% body fat would be labeled obese. And there is already a new scale just for people from Southeast Asia where the ranges are lowered.

While it can be a good indicator of the healthiness of your weight if you fall within certain statistical norms that were used to develop it, it should be taken with a significant grain of salt and should not be used as a substitute for a professional evaluation of your health by a doctor.

Contact Us

Center for Weight Management
Two locations:

20 Research Place
North Chelmsford, MA 01863

203 Turnpike Street
2nd Floor
North Andover, MA 01845

Contact Us Form

Phone: 978-788-7200
TTY: 978-937-6889
Phone: 877-LGH-WELL

Your Weight Management Team

For surgical weight loss programs, you can be sure that you have a full-team of doctors, nurses, counselors and medical professionals helping you along the way. Our multi-disciplinary team includes staff from many different specialties.

This multidisciplinary team evaluates you before surgery and provides education and treatment after surgery. They deliver medical, nutritional, and psychological care, and looks at lifestyle changes following surgery.

Below are a just a few of the many people to help you along the way.

Medical Director/Surgical Weight Loss 

Michael Jiser, MDMichael Jiser, MD 

Doctor Michael Jiser started the Bariatric surgery program in Lowell in 2003. As Medical Director of the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery at Lowell General Hospital, he has completed over 1200 laparoscopic Bariatric surgeries. He is a certified member of the American Board of Surgery and an active member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).

Dr. Jiser completed his medical training at New York Medical College and his residency at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle, NY. He completed his mini-fellowship in Bariatric surgery at the Montefiore Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery. He is well-known throughout the Merrimack Valley as a leading laparoscopic surgeon, and often serves as a clinical instructor to surgeons around New England for various advanced laparoscopic surgical procedures. In addition to spending his free time with his family, Dr. Jiser is a huge baseball fan and attends as many Yankee games as he can.


Roy Shen, MDRoy Shen, MD 

Doctor Roy Shen is the first surgeon in the Merrimack Valley to offer the Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap-Band®) to his Bariatric patients. He has completed over 1200 laparoscopic Bariatric surgeries.

Dr. Shen completed his medical training at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, and his residency at the University of Illinois Metropolitan Group Hospital in Chicago, IL. He also completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery under the direction of Christine Ren, MD, one of the most prominent Bariatric surgeons in the U.S. During his fellowship he completed over 300 Bariatric cases with Dr. Ren. He has published several papers on different aspects of Bariatric surgery. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is an active member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). Dr. Shen enjoys spending time with his family.


Rebecca Shore, MDRebecca Shore, MD

Doctor Rebecca Shore is a graduate of University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed her surgical residency at University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. She went on to complete a fellowship in minimally invasive and Bariatric surgery at Tufts-New England Medical Center with Doctor Scott Shikora. Dr. Shore performed over 300 Bariatric cases as a fellow with Dr. Shikora. She has performed over 800 laparoscopic Bariatric surgeries.

She is a certified member of the American Board of Surgery. She is also an active member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), for which she is also an active committee member. She has presented at the national ASBS and SAGES conventions. Dr. Shore's interests are advanced laparoscopic Bariatric surgery and women's health. She enjoys skiing, wind surfing and spending time with her family.


Wassim Mazraany, MDWassim Mazraany, MD, FACS

Dr. Mazraany received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the prestigious American University of Beirut, Lebanon where he was on the Dean’s honor list. He completed residencies in general surgery at Easton Hospital in Pennsylvania and at Loma Linda University in California. He completed a mini fellowship in Bariatric Surgery at Duke University. He is board certified in Surgery and has published and contributed to many medical publications.

Dr. Mazraany is the Chief of Surgery at Lowell General Hospital. He has been practicing in the Greater Lowell area since 2008. He has successfully performed hundreds of advanced laparoscopic and very complex operations at Lowell General Hospital Saints and Main Campuses. Dr. Mazraany is also on the clinical faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine, and is the president and CEO of Riverside Surgical Associates. He is fluent in English, French, and Arabic, and proficient in Spanish.

When he is not with patients, Dr. Mazraany spends his free time volunteering for many community charities, including coaching his children’s soccer teams, staying active through sports, and enjoying time with his wife and their three children.


Stacie Perlman, MDStacie E. Perlman, MD, FACS

Dr. Perlman joined our practice in September 2014 and is currently the Director of Bariatric and Robotic Surgery at Riverside Surgical Associates. She received her medical degree from Albany Medical College and completed her residency and fellowship in the Department of Surgery at Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Connecticut. She is board-certified in General Surgery and is fellowship-trained in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Bariatric Surgery. She has published and presented on a myriad of different surgical topics.

Dr. Perlman is proud of her extremely successful track record in offering robotic surgery and cutting-edge technology for weight loss operations and all other abdominal operations. Her patients find her care and compassion beyond reproach.

Dr. Perlman is certified for Lap-Band placement, Realize band placement and Enterra Therapy Stimulator placement. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery; the Association of Women Surgeons; the Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons; and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

When she is not seeing patients, Dr. Perlman enjoys spending time with her husband and son. 

Program Coordinator/Director

Christine LaBrecque, RN, BSN

Christine is our Program Director. Her role incorporates patient care, education, and management of the Center's programs and supportive services.

She is a certified bariatric nurse through the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and holds a bachelor of science in nursing from Emmanuel College. Christine is an affiliate member of American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, NAASO Obesity Society and the American Society for Bariatric Physicians.

Physician Assistant

Ketna PatelKetna Patel

Ketna is a licensed Physician Assistant. She earned her master's degree in physician assistant studies from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Manchester, NH. She also received a master's degree in elementary/special education and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.

Ketna provides pre- and post-operative care for our patients as well as triages patient's needs and concerns via phone. Her other duties include ordering and analyzing appropriate tests including imaging studies and laboratory blood work. She is also qualified in performing gastric band adjustments. Ms. Patel feels it is important to educate patients and their families on the benefits of healthy eating, regular physical activity and making behavioral changes. Ketna wants patients to feel they are of importance and are deserving of good health and a good quality of life. Ketna is personable, empathetic and has a great positive attitude, which allows patients to feel comfortable communicating with her and allows her to provide encouragement to patients when it is needed. In her spare time, Ketna enjoys outdoor activities, such as kayaking and hiking. Ketna loves watching and attending Boston sporting events and hopes that one day she will meet David Ortiz (aka Big Papi) and/or Rajon Rondo.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Mental Health Consultant

Maribel Ortiz, APN PMHNP-BC

Maribel has more than 20 years of responsible experience in the field of nursing. She has worked in the Merrimack Valley since 1994.
Maribel has spent the last 8 years working as a mental health prescriber for different Mental Health agencies, she been the mental health consultant for the Bring Diversity and Leadership to Nursing Program at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. She has great interest and understanding of the impact of culture in mental health and treatment.

Maribel Ortiz holds a Bachelor of Science of Nursing degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, a Master of Science (MSN) and a Doctorate (DNP) degree from University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

Nurse Practitioner

Elizabeth (Liz) Curtis RN, FNPElizabeth (Liz) Curtis RN, FNP

Liz is a licensed Nurse Practitioner with experience in multiple specialties — having worked as a float nurse in different departments as well as experience in pediatric home care. Liz earned her Master’s degree in Nursing from Regis College in Weston, MA and her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Lawrence Memorial/Regis College in Medford, MA.  She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a Marketing minor from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT.  Liz worked in market research before beginning her nursing career at Newton Wellesley Hospital. She is involved with the Massachusetts Nurse’s Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Liz's role includes pre and post-op assessment of patients, ordering tests as appropriate, reviewing labs, and prescribing medications when necessary. She enjoys working with patients to reach their healthy lifestyle goals — and is always available for her patients either in person, on the phone or via email.  In her free time, she enjoys working out, enjoying the warm weather with her family and friends, going to the beach, and exploring the local farmer’s markets.

Registered Nurse

Annalecia BenventoAnnalecia Benvenuto, RN, CNOR, RNFA

Annalecia is a Registered Nurse in the Operating room. She illustrates patient advocacy and support through facilitating diet advancement classes, preoperative support groups, and triaging phone calls. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Worcester State University, and has since continued her education. Annalecia is a Certified Nurse of the Operating Room (CNOR) and a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) making her present at the hospital during surgeries and for patient assessment on the post-operative floors. During her free time she enjoys traveling to warm places and spending time with her family and friends.

Bariatric Dietitian

Elizabeth DahlgrenElizabeth (Liz) Dahlgren RD, LDN

Liz is a Registered and Licensed dietitian. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Simmons College, and completed her Dietetic Internship at Keene State College. Liz is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, member of the Weight Management Practice group, is involved with the Massachusetts Dietetic Association Public Policy Panel as liaison to the MA Nutrition Board. She enjoys motivating patients to make positive behavior changes to live a healthy lifestyle. Liz is compassionate about nutrition and promoting health and wellness in the community. Liz values spending time with her friends, family and her dog, Willow, as well as tending to her vegetable garden. Liz has a large cookbook collection, and experiments with new foods and recipes in her free time.

Bariatric Dietitian

Jenny HegmannJenny L. Hegmann, MS, RD, LDN

Jenny is a licensed bariatric dietitian. She earned a bachelor of science in dietetics from Idaho State University and holds a master of science in human nutrition and metabolism from Boston University. Ms. Hegmann completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists; and Weight Management/Bariatrics Dietitians Practice Group. Jenny also has expertise in sports nutrition, has authored articles for print and web, and is co-author of the book The Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance. A lover of nature and the outdoors, Jenny spends her non-work hours cycling, hiking, and traveling.

Bariatric Dietitian

Alisa HimelfarbAlisa Himelfarb, MS, RD, LDN

Alisa is a licensed bariatric dietitian. She earned her bachelor of science degree in clinical dietetics from the University of Connecticut. She received her master of science degree in medical biology-nutrition from Long Island University.

Alisa is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with Massachusetts affiliation and the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group. She has work experience in weight management, diabetes management, disease prevention and wellness.

Alisa provides counseling for pre- and post-operative patients on lifestyle changes with emphasis on bariatric diet guidelines, meal planning, exercise and vitamin/mineral supplementation. She also facilitates classes in nutrition and reading food labels. In her spare time, Alisa enjoys exercising, reading, movies and cooking. She hopes to do more traveling in the future.


Nancy DalpeNancy Dalpe, RNFA, CNOR

Nancy is our Bariatric Educator and also a registered nurse first assist in the operating room. Nancy is responsible for the pre-operative education and post-operative discharge instructions for the Bariatric patient. She holds a certification in operating room nursing and is a member of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN). Nancy loves to garden and spend time in Maine.



Medical Assistant

Jackie MedinaJackeline Medina

Jacky is the medical assistance in North Andover. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Her role varies from answering telephones, greeting patients, taking a patient’s medical histories and vital signs. She performs routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices running smoothly. Jacky enjoys helping patients with their weight loss journey. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to traveling more.



Patient Advocate

Susan SeamansSusan Seamans, LPN

Susan is our patient advocate. She not only greets patients, but you will find her checking blood pressures, weighing patients and helping pre-operative patients navigate the system. If you have any questions about what your insurance mandates for a medically supervised weight loss program before you have surgery, Sue is the one to call. If you miss an appointment, maybe because you're not quite sure that it is the right time in your life to have weight loss surgery, Sue will help you sort out the pros and cons. The Patient Advocate’s role at the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery is to address any individual concerns that one may have when preparing for weight loss surgery. Susan's great sense of humor and kindness have made her a great addition to the clinic.

Patient Ambassador/Scheduler

Yezabhel MoralesYezabhel Morales

Also known as Yezi, Yezabhel is the Ambassador at our North Andover office. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has also earned her Certified Health Access Associate (CHAA) award through the National Association for Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) confirming her work experience in a healthcare setting with admissions, registration, financial counseling, pre-certification, physician relations, guest relations, information, telecommunications, and scheduling.

Yezi takes care of scheduling all types of appointments for patients. She tends to their needs and questions regarding their pre- and post-operative cases. She assists the Patient Advocate in getting pre-op patients to meet necessary goals. She goes above and beyond the call of duty always putting “Patients First in Everything We Do”. Yezi enjoys time with family and friends, reading, doing puzzles, and traveling.

Patient Ambassador/Scheduler

Jonathan SuonJonathan Suon

Jonathan is the Patient Ambassador at the North Chelmsford office. He will help patients book any appointments or testing that is requested by the physician. Aside from being a full-time student and working full-time he is always trying to catch the sunlight during my free time. Jonathan loves playing sports most of which are volleyball, football, tennis, and basketball. During the winter time he's always trying to hit the slopes, snowboarding! He loves staying active especially during the summer time. Jonathan wishes to pursue a career in plastic surgery in the future.

Insurance Coordinator

Nancy Mullin #3Nancy Mullin, RN

Nancy has worked for years in critical care and case management. She understands the ins and outs of health insurance and Bariatric medical policy. Nancy communicates with patients when the TEAM feels they are prepared for surgery and insurance approval is pending. Everyone always loves to hear from Nancy, it indicates they are approaching the final steps to a surgery date. Nancy lives locally with her husband and two children.


Unit Coordinator

Sue DufresneSusan Dufresne

Susan is our Unit Coordinator. Not only is Sue a friendly face to greet patients as they come in for their appointments, she confirms patients visits and collects updated medical information for the Center and for insurance companies. She also assists patients with referrals and the scheduling of medical appointments. Sue enjoys walks and quality time with her grandchildren.


Unit Coordinator

Darlene FertittaDarlene Fertitta

Darlene is the Unit Coordinator for the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery. Not only is Darlene a friendly face to greet patients as they come in for their appointments, she confirms a patient's visit, updates any demographic information and assist a patient with insurance referrals. Darlene has worked at the Center for Weight Management since 2008. Darlene's motto is that all patients feel welcome and comfortable in our clinical environment. She also enjoys laughing and creating memories with families and friends on days that she is not working in her garden.

Quality Improvement Specialist

Jacqueline EschleJacqueline Eschle, BSN, RN, CNOR

After years as an operating room nurse, Jacqueline joined our team to focus on the bariatric surgery component of the American College of Surgeons data collection program which has a primary goal of improving patient care. According to The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program website, "the ACS BSCN accredits facilities in the United States that have undergone an independent, voluntary and rigorous peer evaluation in accordance with nationally recognized bariatric surgical standards. Bariatric surgery accreditation not only promotes uniform standard benchmarks, but also supports continuous quality improvement." Lowell General's Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery has been fully accredited since February 22, 2008. When not quietly at her front office corner desk scanning charts, computer records and those "pesky" patient questionnaires you're asked to fill out at each follow up visit, Jackie might be found enjoying the outdoors any number of ways - snowshoeing, skiing, biking, kayaking, gardening - in every season.

Office Manager

Cynthia MarcanoCynthia Marcano

Cynthia Marcano is the office manager for the Center for Weight management, her knowledge of registration and scheduling assists the department to meet the needs of every patient. Cynthia is an incredible women and fantastic team player. Cindy is fluent in both English and Spanish. She is always willing to help a patient with any question or concern. She is a great coach encouraging patients when they are preparing themselves for surgery. Cindy enjoys spending time with family and loves to vacation in Florida.

See our North Andover Office & Staff.


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