Dear friends and supporters of Obesity Canada,

It has been an incredible four months since I assumed the role of Scientific Director of Obesity Canada, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share with you some of the remarkable achievements and the vision for the future. It’s been an inspiring journey, and I want to express my deep gratitude for the commitment and dedication of our team and partners across the country. Here are my initial reflections from the last few months…

A  United Effort to Advance Lives of People Living with Obesity:

At Obesity Canada, our mission is clear: to improve the lives of people living with obesity through advocacy, education, and research. It’s truly impressive to witness how our organization, along with collaborators nationwide, is working together to achieve this goal. The passion and dedication of our researchers, advocates, and educators have shone brightly, illuminating a path toward better care, less stigma, and increased equity for those living with obesity. The expertise, advocacy and passion from Obesity Canada members across the country is clear and necessary at this critical time.

Global Leadership and Collaboration

One of the proudest moments of my tenure has been the international recognition that Obesity Canada has garnered. The endorsement of the Canadian Obesity Guidelines by several global organizations and their presentation at leading international obesity conferences underscores the quality and importance of our work. Obesity Canada members at these conferences and education sessions have showcased our commitment to advancing obesity care standards and to transform obesity care on a global scale.

These achievements are also a testament to the tireless leadership of our previous Scientific Directors, Drs. Arya Sharma and Mary Forhan. I am honored to build upon their legacy and carry forward the torch of advocacy and change for obesity care in Canada and globally.

My Hopes for the Next Few Years:

As we look forward to the next two years, we have outlined three key priorities that guide our work:

  1. Access to Obesity Treatment to Address Health Disparities:

Ensuring that everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background or geographic location, have equitable access to obesity treatment is paramount. We will work tirelessly to break down barriers and disparities in care, making obesity treatment more accessible to all Canadians.

  1. Building Healthcare Professional Capacity for Person-Centered Obesity Care:

To improve the care of people living with obesity, we need to integrate research into clinical practice and address the stigma associated with obesity. We are committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care, free from bias or discrimination. I am  working together with Obesity Canada members and partners to expand our training programs, resources and practice tools to move us towards a person-centered approach to obesity care.

  1. Beyond BMI – Personalizing Care and Outcomes

We recognize that obesity is a complex condition that often intersects with multiple health issues. I am committed to moving beyond BMI and weight to redefining treatment outcomes that are more relevant to people living with obesity and obesity care providers. We hope to work with international initiatives re-examining outcomes in obesity management and leveraging this to develop approaches to treat to target in obesity of care the captures the unique experiences of people living with obesity.

As a psychiatrist, I cannot help but focus on the established link between mental health and obesity. Over the next 2 years, I will advocate for an expanded treatment approach to include mental health support, ensuring that the whole person is cared for within obesity care settings.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to advance obesity care at this time and I am proud to be working with all of you to achieve these goals over the next two years in this role. I am committed to deepening Obesity Canada’s relationships with our dedicated healthcare professionals, researchers, partners, and public community. Together, we can transform the way we treat obesity in Canada and globally, ensuring a healthier and more equitable future for all.

I am excited about the journey ahead. Let’s continue our collective effort to advance the lives of people living with obesity, eradicate stigma, and pave the way for a brighter, healthier future.


Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam

Scientific Director, Obesity Canada