About Our Team

Meet the Walen & Assoc Inc Board
Mary Lou Walen

Mary Lou Walen


Meet Mary Lou
Mary Lou Walen, President of Walen & Assoc Inc, brings over 40 years of healthcare experience in general medicine entering the field of bariatric surgery in 1987. Ms Walen is now dedicated to reaching patients challenged with the disease of Obesity and/or Severe Obesity. Ms Walen is dedicated to education and communication that moves people toward success with two unique and motivating concepts, Personal Choice and Shaping Success.
More About Mary Lou
Since joining the bariatric field in 1987, her focus has been on the continuum of patient care, patient safety and recognition of the patient as part of the bariatric team. She managed medical and bariatric surgery programs for nearly 20 years when deciding to relocate to the East Coast and approach the field from a new perspective. Ms Walen moved to Manhattan as the Associate VP for a nationally recognized healthcare system and served as the Program Director for the Manhattan Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery Division at Lenox Hill Hospital where she was responsible for the overall team involving bariatric surgery.

Ms Walen has been a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) for twenty-five years, served as the 2nd Chair of the Allied Health Sciences Section (Now Integrated Health (IH) Section) and is proud to be the 1st Senior IH Section member. She was instrumental in organizing the then AHSS presence for the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity (IFSO) and co-directed several international AHSS Courses at IFSO meetings.

Ms Walen was instrumental in the formation of the New York Chapter of the ASMBS in 2008. Working as the Chapter’s executive director under the direction of and with its first president, Dr Mitchell Roslin, the Chapter enjoyed an excellent beginning. The Chapter continues to do well and Ms Walen remains their Executive Director.

Recently Ms Walen returned to her original home in the Northwest and to her love of creating new communication, teaching and sharing models that encouraged her in the development of BariCommunity and other exciting programs.

What I'm Reading

LaVerne Chavez

LaVerne Chavez

Vice President

Meet Laverne
Laverne Chavez, Vice President of Walen & Assoc Inc is a successful Bariatric patient who had surgery in 1985 and has worked in the Bariatric field for 28 years. Laverne was an integral member of the Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group. She had the honor of working with many thousands of patients at Scripps Mercy hospital where her experience as a patient was invaluable in understanding, assisting, counseling and educating patients. Co-workers called her “The Patient Whisperer”.
More About Laverne

As the Support Group Coordinator for Pacific Bariatric, she has developed and maintained twenty-two support groups throughout California. Laverne has had the honor or working with thousands of patients both before and after surgery at Scripps Mercy Hospital.  She was Co-organizer of the Annual Educational Seminar and Reunion for Bariatric Patients.

LaVerne has been an active member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) for 14 years. She also participated in the international bariatric surgery organization, the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity (IFSO) and was invited to present a Leadership Training Program at their Congress in Prague, Czech Republic.

She facilitated a leadership-training program at Lenox Hill Hospital and was on the faculty of a Boot Camp for Bariatric Program Managers Course. Her desire to give back to the community since relocating to Cedar Park, Texas has included volunteering with The Assistance League, Dell Children´s Hospital and Breckenridge Hospital. In 2009 Laverne established and has been facilitating a support group for Bariatric patients at Cedar Park Regional Medical Center.

What I'm Reading

Jeff B. Baker

Jeff B. Baker

Chief Operations/Technology Officer

Meet Jeff
Jeff Baker is the COO & CTO of Walen & Assoc Inc. Jeff is a high energy and intuitive leader who possesses a unique blend of technical skills and business experience. He has worked with global companies managing multinational resources to deliver bottom-line results. Jeff’s entrepreneurial experiences & passion for emerging technology allows him to meet the ever-changing requirements of today’s business world head-on.
More About Jeff
Jeff has a B.A. in Biblical Studies. He enjoys camping with his wife and pets. He is also passionate about sailing, scuba diving and all things watery. His favorite phrase is No Fear + No Excuses = No Regrets.
What I'm Reading

Annessa Chumbley

Annessa Chumbley

RD, Director of Nutritional Services

Meet Annessa

In 2007, Annessa began Flourish!, LLC. Flourish’s mission is to encourage the transformation of lives through true nourishment of the mind and body by giving out daily tips and tricks for practical and fun healthy living. Annessa has several platforms to champion on the wellness message. She began doing her own weekly “Living Well” segment for Indianapolis’ FOX 59 Morning News, and then was requested to move to the CBS affiliate’s new lifestyle talk show, IndyStyle, where she contributes weekly nutrition segments, and became the show’s backup co-host. Annessa is also TV personality for Survival Secrets…Firing Up Your Day!, a local cooking show that helps those on a budget cook and eat healthfully. She is the dietitian for Indianapolis healthy family campaign, Fit City, where she creates nutrition curriculum for students and writes articles for parents. She does cooking demonstrations and keynote presentations for corporations, Bariatric centers, Whole Foods, Obesity Help, events, health expos, and farmer’s markets. She is recipe creator for prestigious healthcare corporations. Her tips and tricks have been featured in several magazines, newsletters, and radio shows.

More About Annessa

Annessa attended Florida College, graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University, and completed her dietetic internship through Indiana University. As an avid community volunteer, she is involved with camps, spiritual functions, food banks, and girls clubs, and through Flourish she initiated “spa nights” at local homeless shelters. Annessa lives in Indianapolis with her husband and baby girl.

Annessa believes in living life with everything it has to offer, and is passionate about the power of nutritious food! Get ready for some “health food cravings!”

What I'm Reading

Susan Gallagher

Susan Gallagher


Meet Susan

Susan Gallagher, Founder and CEO of the Celebration Institute, Inc, Houston Texas, is a wound ostomy continence nurse, certified bariatric nurse, certified safe patient handling expert and licensed health care risk manager with over 25 years of experience working as a registered nurse and consultant. Susan holds a masters degree in nursing, a masters degree in religion and social ethics, and a PhD in policy ethics as it pertains to obesity. She is a recognized expert in bariatrics, skin and wound care, safe patient handling and movement, risk and loss control, and surgical patient care. She has six years experience working as Senior Bariatric Risk Analyst providing on-site practice assessments for over 100 bariatric surgeons throughout the US. She lectures internationally on the interdisciplinary and organizational approach to bariatrics.

More About Susan

Susan has appeared in television, radio and video presentations and has published more than 15 book chapters and more than 100 articles related to safety, obesity, outcomes, ethics and culture. Dr. Gallagher was the chair of the WOCN Bariatric sub-committee from 2002 – 2008, and currently serves on the JWOCN editorial board. She also serves on the editorial boards for Ostomy/ Wound Management, Bariatric Times, American Journal for Safe patient Handling and Movement and Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care. She has presented at the Safe Patient Handling and Movement Conference for the past ten years, and was a reviewer for the VISN 8 Veterans Bariatric Toolkit published by the Patient Safety Center, Tampa Florida. She served as Chair of the National Association of Bariatric Nurses Task Force for Sensitive Care of the Obese Person, and was lead author on the Task Force Report published in 2008. She is on the Executive Board of Directors for the National Association of Bariatric Nurses.

In 2009, she was honored with publications in Nursing 2009, Nursing Management, the American Nurses Association Online Journal of Issues in Nursing and many more. She recently contributed a chapter on bariatric safety in the Handbook of Hospital Safety 2010 edition, and is author of the book titled, The Challenges of Caring for the Obese Patient.

What I'm Reading

Warren Huberman

Warren Huberman


Meet Warren

Warren L. Huberman, Ph.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. He is also an Affiliate Psychologist at North Shore LIJ – Lenox Hill Hospital. Dr. Huberman has been a Consulting Psychologist to the NYU/Langone Weight Management Program since its inception in 2000. Dr. Huberman is the former Director of Outpatient Psychological Services at the Joan and Joel Smilow Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Center of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at the NYU/Langone Medical Center.

More About Warren

Dr. Huberman specializes in Behavioral Medicine, with a concentration in health behavior change and behavior modification, most notably in weight loss, stress management and smoking cessation. Other areas of expertise include the cognitive-behavioral treatment of mood and anxiety disorders including depression, generalized anxiety, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In 1997, Dr. Huberman founded the Performance Consulting Group, LLC; a firm committed to improving the performance of individuals and organizations through the application of empirically-driven, cognitive-behavioral interventions. He has worked with a number of individuals and organizations in the legal, accounting, engineering, and garment industries.

Dr. Huberman’s work has been featured in a variety of publications both in the medical and lay journals. He has appeared on television, radio, and on several websites. Dr. Huberman received his Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University in 1993 and did post-doctoral training in cognitive-behavior therapy at the Institute for Behavior Therapy in Manhattan. He also participated in an extensive training program through The Global Consulting Partnership (TGCP) from 2001-2003 designed to facilitate the transition of clinical skills to corporate environments. Dr. Huberman is licensed to practice psychology in New York and New Jersey and has a private practice with offices in Manhattan and Rockland County, New York. Dr. Huberman is the author of the new book, “Through Thick and Thin: The Emotional Journey of Weight Loss Surgery.” The book is a must read for anyone considering weight loss surgery or for anyone who wants to better understand the emotional side of weight loss surgery.

Brad Miller

Brad Miller

CPA, CIDA Director of Financial Operations

Meet Brad

As Director of Financial Operations for Walen & Assoc Inc., Mr. Miller has overall responsibility for financial reporting and accounting operations. Mr. Miller is an experienced Risk Manager and Internal Bank Auditor with proven leadership skills. He has over 20 years of business and management experience and has achieved demonstrated success in recruiting, coaching, mentoring and developing talent. Mr. Miller possesses superior communication skills and is a sought after speaker for conferences and professional events on a variety of subject matters. His experience includes a background in Public Accounting and specific industry experience in Financial Services, Professional Service Firms, Construction, and High Technology.

More About Brad

Mr. Miller is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Washington. In addition, he has earned accreditation in Internal Quality Assessment/Validation issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and a special certification as a Certified Investments and Derivatives Auditor (CIDA) issued by Investment Training and Consulting Institute, Inc.

Mr. Miller has performed interim and part-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO) duties for a multitude of clients and has served on many boards and professional organizations.

Currently Mr. Miller is also serving as a Senior Manager for Wells Fargo Bank. Past positions include: (Financial Services) Project Consultant for Capital One, Vice President – JPMorgan Chase, Vice-President Washington Mutual Bank, (Public Accounting) Director of Accounting Services at Clark Nuber PLLC and Senior Manager at Moss Adams LLP.

Mr. Miller is a graduate of the University of Washington´s Foster School of Business with a Bachelor´s in Business Administration, and a minor in Business Economics, Mr. Miller also earned and additional Bachelor´s degree from Central Washington University in Accounting.

What I'm Reading

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher


Meet Shannon

Shannon Gallagher attended the University of California at Santa Cruz on academic scholarship, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BA in American Studies with an emphasis on public institutions, particularly the intersections of education, health, and government. Prior to attending UCSC, Shannon worked for 8 years at Southwest Wear Parts as a Journeyman Welder, Fabricator, and Mechanic with additional responsibilities pertaining to jobsite safety.

More About Shannon

While attending UCSC, Shannon became interested in applying a cross-industrial interdisciplinary approach to healthcare ergonomics, and began to research, co-author, and edit healthcare articles with a focus on bariatrics, wound care, and safe patient handling. Additionally, Shannon has taken it upon himself to become familiar with the design, construction, implementation, and barriers to use of mechanical lift equipment. His first peer-review article as the primary author, ‘Rethinking Lift Teams,’ was published in December 2010 in Bariatric Times. This article examines lift teams as an ergonomic intervention in the context of the changes sweeping healthcare since the introduction of the lift team concept, specifically: the nursing shortage, managed care restructuring efforts, and the development of increasingly various types of lift equipment.

In researching this project, Shannon became acquainted with the work of Eric Race and Atlas Lift Tech. This began Shannon’s professional relationship with Atlas, working to prevent musculoskeletal injuries among caregivers while providing safe mobility solutions for patients. Since that time, he has spoken about safe patient handling at the Southern California Association for Healthcare Risk Managers and participated in a roundtable panel discussion published in Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care.