Our Bariatric Team
Teresa LaMasters, MD, FACS - Medical Director, UnityPoint Clinic Weight Loss; Bariatric Surgeon
LaMasters received her medical degree from the University of South
Dakota School of Medicine in 2001. She completed her residency in
General Surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita
in 2006. She then went on to complete advanced training with a
fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery with an emphasis in Bariatric
and Robotic Surgery in 2007 at Stanford University. She joined the team
in August of 2007.
Dr. LaMasters has performed hundreds of weight loss surgeries with
excellent results. She was the first surgeon in Iowa to use the DaVinci
Robot for Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and was also the first
surgeon in Iowa to perform the new sleeve gastrectomy procedure. Dr.
LaMasters has a passion for treating obese patients and guiding them
through their weight loss journey, and has brought cutting-edge
technology and techniques to our program.
"I chose to dedicate my career to weight loss surgery because the
problem of obesity is so overwhelming in our society. My own family is
affected by the disease of obesity. I feel the treatment of obesity is
very complex and challenging. This is one area that I can really help
people change their lives. This is truly live-saving surgery and I
can't imagine a better area to dedicate my time and talent."
Alissa Lilla, PA-C, MPAS - Physician Assistant
Ms. Lilla received her Physician Assistant degree from the University of Iowa in 2002, she has experience in general surgery as well as surgical oncology. She joined the UnityPoint Clinic weight loss team in 2007. Ms. Lilla assists with surgical cases and provides care for patients in the hospital setting following their surgery. Her experience maximizes the safety of the patient's surgical experience. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band patients will also see her frequently in the office for evaluations, follow-up care, and fluid adjustments.
"I am dedicated to working as part of our team in the treatment of obesity to help improve quality of life for our patients."
Jon Hardersen, PA-C
Jon attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa and received his medical training at Des Moines University, Des Moines IA. He is accredited as a Physician Assistant by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Jon will assist with pre- and post-weight loss surgery patient care.
John says: "My goal is to teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle to help patients avoid chronic health problems. I want to help patients prevent future problems whenever they can."
Kerri Patton, MSN, FNP - Healthy Lifestyles Program
Ms. Patton is from St. Joseph, MO. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1995 from Missouri Western State University and worked in ICU for 11 years. In 2005, she completed her Masters of Science in Nursing from University of Missouri-Kansas City and went on to become certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She worked for UnityPoint Clinic in Family Medicine and has additional experience teaching critical care to nursing students at the bachelorette level. Her clinical interests include weight management, hypertension,and hyperlipidemia.
Kelsey Ermels, RD, LD - Registered Dietitian
Kelsey received her Health Promotion degree from the University of Iowa in 2005 and began working as a weight loss counselor. Wanting to learn more about nutrition, Kelsey pursued a Dietetics degree at Iowa State University in 2008 and started working as a clinical dietitian shortly thereafter. Kelsey received her Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management in November 2012. She is passionate about motivating individuals through behavior change and dietary changes necessary for weight loss, acting as a nutrition resource to patients throughout their weight loss transformation.
Kelsey says "It is my goal to help motivate and encourage people to make positive behavior changes that will impact the rest of their life. I want to help our patients reach their weight loss goals by providing them with the tools they need to be successful."
Janielle Heusinger, RD, LD - Dietitian
Ms. Heusinger received her Dietetics degree from Buffalo State College in 2002 and began working with Bariatric surgery shortly thereafter. She has a special interest in the lifelong dietary changes necessary after Bariatric surgery. She meets with patients to provide individualized dietary counseling.
Todd Jenkins LMHC, LMFT - Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Mr. Jenkins received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1984: a Masters of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri in 1990; and a Masters of Science in Counseling and Human Development from Radford University in 1998. He has worked in the field of behavioral health for many years prior to coming to work for the UnityPoint Clinic weight loss team. Mr. Jenkins conducts a majority of the program's pre-surgical bariatric mental health assessments. He is also available to provide lifelong counseling to enhance your success with making the necessary behavioral and emotional changes associated with weight loss.
"The reason I was drawn to work with this population was my concern about the growing epidemic of obesity and the serious implications that this health problem has for the quality of life of individuals and families."