The Team

At the Chicago Institute of Advanced Bariatrics, your journey to successful weight loss is supported by an entire team. From the moment you meet with us through understanding insurance options and after your bariatric procedure.

Lutfi Forward Team will offer you support through your entire journey that includes: a Ph.D. psychologist, two experienced nurses, a registered dietitian, and an insurance specialist.

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Rami Lutfi, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Medical Director

Dr. Rami Lutfi is an internationally renowned surgeon expert in metabolic and bariatric surgery. He travels around the globe training other metabolic and bariatric surgeons the most recent innovative techniques utilized today. He is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lutfi is currently the President of American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation and Past President of the Illinois Association of Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Lutfi has performed thousands of bariatric procedures and has written extensively about weight loss surgery for leading medical journals.



Emma Wood, RD, LDN

Bariatric Program Coordinator and Clinical Dietitian

Emma Wood is our Program Coordinator and Dietitian at CIAS. Emma earned her B.S in Dietetics from Michigan State University. In addition, she completed the Dietic Internship Certificate Program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Through her innate desire to help others achieve their goals, Emma has been instrumental in helping patients find success along their weight loss journey. Emma is the model for health and fitness here at CIAS, as she understands the physical and mental benefits that come with a healthy diet and exercise. Emma joined our team in November of 2019 and continues to work with patients pre- and post-surgery.


Molly O’Brien, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Molly O’Brien is our Physician Assistant at CIAS. Molly received her B.A. in Biology at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, she earned her Master of Medical Science at Dominican University. Molly educates patients on the pathophysiology of obesity and caters to their needs based on the specific circumstances in which they are under. Furthermore, Molly evaluates the patient’s medical history and proposes the type of bariatric surgery that best suits their needs. Molly Joined our team in June of 2019 and continues to work closely with patients pre- and post-surgery.

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Christine Garcia

Chief Financial Officer and Practice Manager

Christine Garcia is our expert insurance verification specialist. She will work with your insurance company to figure out your individual coverage and requirements needed for bariatric surgery approval. She joined the Chicago Institute of Advanced Bariatrics over ten years ago, and has helped thousands of patients understand their insurance options and have a worry-free journey to weight loss surgery approval.

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Yolanda Cosme

Office Coordinator

Yolanda Cosme is the face you see at the front desk Monday-Friday from 9am -5 pm. She has been employed with Chicago Institute of Advanced Bariatrics since 2013.  Yolanda is the person that will coordinate your appointments needed for insurance requirements and for bariatric surgery approval. Her ability to speak both English and Spanish helps her communicate with many patients in the language they feel most comfortable. Yolanda experiences great joy in providing you a helping hand throughout your journey!

Internationally Renowned Bariatric Surgeon

Rami Lutfi, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.S.M.B.S.

  • President, American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation
  • Medical Director and Section Chief of Metabolic Surgery and Weight Loss and Bariatric Fellowship Program Director at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
  • Chief of Surgery at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center
  • Clinical Associate Professor at University of Illinois Chicago
  • Fellowship in Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery: Vanderbilt University Hospital
  • Former President of the Illinois Association of Bariatric Surgery
  • He is one of only a few surgeons who educates new surgeons how to perform successful, minimally invasive bariatric surgery.
  • One of the first five physicians trained in North America on the ORBERA® Intragastric Balloon
  • Placed the 1st gastric sleeve in the state of Illinois
  • First to place a gastric balloon in the Midwest.
  • Performed over 2500 weight loss procedures.



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