Thank you for attending the 2009 ASMBS Foundation Annual Event!

At the 2009 American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Annual Meeting in Texas, the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Foundation (ASMBS Foundation) hosted the 12th Annual Foundation Event during which we honored Mal Fobi, MD, with the Outstanding Achievement Award. In addition we honored the many Walk from Obesity volunteers and corporate sponsors for their support.

The theme for this year’s event was “Masters Course in Fun!” The evening was filled with live musical entertainment, dancing and casino games. Attendees included leaders in the field of bariatric surgery, allied health professionals and corporate supporters.

2009 Outstanding Achievement Award

Dr. Mathias A.L. Fobi, is an internationally recognized bariatric surgeon, who has changed the shape of Hollywood heavyweights such as Etta James and American Idol’s Randy Jackson. 

MAL, as he is known among friends, was born in Nkwen, a small village in Cameroon, West Africa. He is a member of the first batch, class of 1965, 0f Sacred Heart College in Mankon Bamenda in Cameroon. He came to the USA through the African Scholarship Program for American Universities (ASPAU) in 1966.  This was a scholarship program that was inaugurated by President Kennedy along with the Peace Corps Program.

Mathias Fobi, M. D. F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., F.A.C.N received his Pharmacy degree from the University of Michigan and received his medical degree from University of Cincinnati. Dr. Fobi completed a General Surgical Residency at the King Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles Where he was Chief Resident and later becoming a professor at the school. He is a Board Certified General Surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In 1977, he experienced a life-changing encounter while teaching at Drew Medical Center. He met a woman who feared emergency surgery to repair complications from intestinal bypass surgery. She was willing to die rather than regain the weight she had lost. Her story of physical incapacity and ridicule struck a cord of compassion, and after some research, he developed a procedure that helped her. That experience eventually led him to shift the focus of his surgical career from trauma and oncology to the fledging field of bariatric (obesity) surgery.

In 1981, he opened the Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity in Los Angeles and has treated more than 12,000 patients through The Center.

In November 2005, Mathias A. L. Fobi, was named the Medical Director for the Bariatric Surgery Program at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach California where he has developed an accredited ASMBS Center of Excellence. He is also the Medical Director of Tri-City Regional Medical Center Bariatric Program in Hawaiian Gardens, CA.

Currently Dr. Fobi is the President Elect of the International Federation for Surgery of Obesity, the Immediate Past President of the California Chapter of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, a past President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation, is a fellow of the International College of Surgeons and the American College of Nutrition. He is a member of the over two dozen medical associations, including the Los Angeles County Medical Association, North American Association for the Study of Obesity, American College of Nutrition, Los Angeles Surgical Society, Southwestern Surgical Association, the National Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He sits on the Board of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, the Board of Trustees of the American Society of General Surgeons, is a lifetime member of the NAACP and is on the editorial board of publications Obesity Help and WLS Magazine.

Dr. Fobi lectures worldwide and has published numerous articles on obesity and surgical treatment for obesity. His research has appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association, Update: Surgery for the Morbidly Obese, Obesity Surgery, and the Journal of the National Medical Association and in several medical school textbooks related to obesity and bariatric surgery.

Dr Fobi, a well recognized name in Cameroon for his support for the change for democracy in Cameroon, was one of the pioneer immigrants from Cameroon to the United States of America in the 60s. He has contributed both to the welfare of Cameroonians in the USA and in Cameroon.

Dr Fobi and his wife Helen funded a foundation through which he has helped many in Cameroon and here in the USA, the Bobe Ngwebifor Foundation. The Foundation provides financial support to students who without support cannot obtain an education. This financial support may entail tuition fees, books and lodging fees and in some cases other living expenses. More than 150 students have benefited from the scholarships. The Foundation support schools which meet a special need such as for the deaf and mute, the blind or otherwise mentally gifted in Cameroon and also sponsors teachers from the USA or any other developed country with the special skills to initiate and /or work at such schools. As a part of the Foundation’s Mama Africa Program, the Fobi’s collect books, medical supplies, clothing, computers and other goods, ship them to Cameroon and distribute to local hospitals, schools and orphanages.

Dr Fobi is married to Helen Jean Newton Fobi of Blackshear, Georgia and has four daughters and two grandchildren.