Who's Who of Professional Women


Mary Lou Walen

Mary Lou Walen entered the field of metabolic and bariatric surgery in 1987, receiving on-the-job training from a nationally-renowned bariatric surgeon she worked for. She trained by taking histories from patients as well as accompanying the surgeon on hospital rounds. Primarily in a managerial role rather than a surgical one, Ms. Walen was in charge of running the office until the surgeon sold his practice. In 1992, she joined the Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group as a program director, where she spent the next decade. She subsequently served as the acting program director for the bariatric surgery program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York from 2006 to 2008 and in the business department of the Institute for Surgical Excellence from 2007 to 2009.

Since 2009, Ms. Walen has been the president, chief executive officer, and owner of Walen & Assoc Inc., where she offers education programs and specialty communication in the field of metabolic and bariatric surgery for patients and health care professionals. Additionally, she was the first executive director and one of the founders of the New York State Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Now a senior member of ASMBS, she was the second chair of the Integrated Health Section and was the chair from 1996 to 1999. Moreover, Ms. Walen was proud to have participated in the University of Washington-Harborview Medical Center 5 Year $5 Million TSOS7 Grant to support research in her field. Attributing much of her success to the high caliber of people around her, she considers the most gratifying aspect of her career to be understanding and caring for the needs of bariatric surgery patients and communicating those needs to the people in charge of decision-making.

Ms. Walen is a staunch advocate for patient access to quality care and education, a mindset she brings to both her direct work with patients and training for nurses and doctors. It is vital, she notes, that the people who are on the front line of patient care be properly trained and educated. At Walen & Assoc Inc., they schedule time twice weekly to review and update policies, procedures, and patient education material, and to address new ideas, needs, and concerns. As she looks toward the future, Ms. Walen plans to invigorate her business by establishing a new online platform to better provide the community with needed tools and information.


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