Our Bariatrics Team

Our teams are built around your needs. We are specially-trained, accredited in weight loss procedures and care about you as a person. Count on our surgeons, nurses, clinical professionals and educators to be part of your team that is dedicated to helping you through a weight-loss program, surgery, recovery and beyond.

Surgical weight-loss experts

The hope and promise of a more active and healthy future is what brought you here, and it’s what inspired our doctors and surgeons to specialize in bariatrics.

Our comprehensive bariatric program is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a collaborative accreditation by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. This means our bariatric surgeons provide patients with safe, high-quality care that is measured through a rigorous review process.

Our bariatric team includes:

  • Bariatric surgeon – Our surgeons are trained and board-certified in bariatric surgery and procedures. Due to the number of weight-loss surgery options, your surgeon will meet with you to help you decide what bariatric surgery is the best option for you.
  • Certified bariatric nurses - Certification provides patients with validation that the nurse caring for them is an expert in their field and has achieved a recognized standard of knowledge and clinical expertise in the specialty of bariatric surgery.
  • Exercise specialist – This team member works with you to develop an exercise plan. Remember, exercise will be a vital component in your new, healthier life.
  • Nutrition expert – This team member will help you learn how to make healthy food choices, including what to each, when to eat and how to prepare healthy food.
  • Patient coordinators – Experienced staff provide support from your initial visit, discuss registration options and navigate payment and insurance decisions.
  • Psychologist or psychiatrist – Most insurance companies will require a psychological evaluation to determine your readiness for bariatric surgery. These experts are also available to help you deal with self-image issues that may accompany bariatric surgery.
  • Registered nurses – Our nursing staff specializes in bariatric medicine and is key in your support and education, from admission, through surgery and the post-operative process.

Attend a weight loss surgery seminar to meet our team and explore a future with bariatric surgery.

To schedule an appointment, please click on one of the providers below or call 303-403-3030

Katy Irani, MD

Irani K 81 retKaty Irani, MD - Bariatric Surgeon and Medical Director of the Lutheran Weight Loss Center

Fellowship trained and board-certified in general surgery, Dr. Irani received her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. She went on to complete her general surgery internship and residency at New York University Medical Center in New York, NY. During her general surgery training at New York University in New York City, she completed additional research training at Harvard University in Boston, MA.

Dr. Irani is an experienced bariatric surgeon. In 2010, she started a bariatric program at Willamette Valley Medical Center, after which she moved to Asheville, NC where she practiced for several years, helping build the program. During her time there, Dr. Irani was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School where she educated medical students in the field of general and bariatric surgery.

Dr. Irani is passionate about bariatric surgery. The transformation in her patients' lives, which she feels privileged to be part of, is what drove her to her specialty. She focuses on a patient-centered approach and prides herself on making patients and families feel comfortable.

Dr. Irani helps educate and support patients and their families throughout their journey, including the preparation period, the operative period, and the follow up, for the rest of their lives.

Emily Speer, MD

Speer E 0008 croppedEmily Speer, MD - General Surgeon

Dr. Emily Speer is a fellowship-trained Foregut and Minimally Invasive Surgeon with a particular interest in antireflux procedures. Dr. Speer attended medical school at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and completed her residency in General Surgery at the University of Colorado. During this training, she developed a passion for minimally invasive, and particularly foregut, surgery. This led her to a fellowship in Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive Surgery with Lee Swanstrom, MD and colleagues in Portland, Oregon. During this fellowship, Dr. Speer became proficient in the most up-to-date surgical and endoscopic techniques for foregut problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal disorders, diaphragmatic hernias, and obesity. Her special interests include laparoscopic tailored fundoplications, myotomies, and reoperative paraesophageal hernia repairs, as well as newer technologies such as POEM (Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy) for achalasia and LINX for GERD. She is also trained in BARRX for Barrett's esophagus, flexible endoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy to treat Zenkers diverticulum, esophageal dilation and stenting, laparoscopic and endoscopic feeding tubes, pyloroplasty and gastrectomy for treatment of gastroparesis, and bariatric weight loss surgery surgery. She is the author of multiple publications on reflux surgery, is an invited speaker at national meetings, and sits on national committees for furthering excellence in foregut surgery.

Patient satisfaction and safety are at the core of Dr. Speer's decision-making, and she strives to provide the very best and most compassionate care to each patient by individually tailoring treatment plans to fit each person's need. Dr. Speer aims to provide patients with the education they need to make informed treatment decisions in order to provide them with superior surgical care in the least invasive way possible.

While Dr. Speer is trained in all areas of general surgery, as a fellowship-trained Foregut and Minimally Invasive Surgeon, her areas of clinical interest include:
-Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) surgery
-Esophageal disorders such as achalasia
-Hiatal hernia surgery
-Gastroparesis surgery
-Weight loss surgery
-Advanced endoscopy
-Gallbladder surgery
-Robotic surgery

Jody Halouska, RD, CPT

Jody HalouskaJody Halouska, RD, CPT – Bariatric Coordinator and Registered Dietitian at Lutheran Weight Loss Center

Jody completed her dietetic internship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and has completed the Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jody is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. She has been helping people with weight management since 2001 and working specifically with bariatric patients since 2008. Jody also has experience in program management for youth and adults in the prevention of obesity.

Jody thoroughly enjoys watching the transformation of patients and the impact weight loss has on improving their health and quality of life. She supports patients throughout their journey from pre-operation through long term weight loss maintenance. Jody provides an individualized approach to counseling and education and strives to create a safe and welcoming environment. In her free time, Jody enjoys running, hiking, yoga and spending time with her daughter and family.

Theresa Sanders, NP

SandersTheresa Sanders, NP –Nurse Practitioner at Lutheran Weight Loss Center

Theresa Sanders, NP is an experienced Nurse Practitioner specializing in medical weight loss. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. She enjoys interacting with people, learning about their life experiences and helping each individual improve their medical condition.

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