Our Expert Team

Find your care

Our bariatric surgeons use a range of treatments to help you reach weight loss goals and optimize your health. To learn more, call 310-825-7163.

Bariatric Surgeons, Los Angeles

The UCLA Center for Obesity and METabolic health center uses a team approach to provide the most comprehensive resources possible for the patient.

Team members are involved in the patient's care from screening through follow-up.

Bariatric Surgery

Erik P. Dutson, MD

Erik P. Dutson, MD

Surgical Director, Center for Obesity and METabolic Health (COMET) Executive Director, CASIT, Clinical Professor of Surgery UCLA

Dr. Dutson is the Surgical Director of the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health (COMET) at UCLA, and has been a part of the multidisciplinary approach to the clinical management of obesity at UCLA for twelve years.  He has been actively involved in the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the American College of Surgeons and the Society for American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, where he serves on several committees and presents research on an a regular basis.

Yijun Chen, MD

Yijun Chen, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Yijun Chen grew up in Hunan, China and attended Fourth Military Medical School in Xi'an, China. He came to the United States to do cancer research, and did his postdoctoral training in cancer biology at Stanford University. Dr. Chen completed his surgical residency training at Stanford University, where he found his passion to become a bariatric and minimally invasive surgeon. After finishing his bariatric fellowship at Duke University, he joined the UCLA Department of Surgery.

Digestive Diseases and Pfleger Liver Institute

Simon W. Beaven, MD, PhD

Simon W. Beaven, MD, PhD

Research and Medical Director, Center for Obesity and METabolic Health (COMET) Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Beaven is the director of the Metabolic Syndrome Program within the Division of Digestive Diseases and has created a cross-disciplinary program (COMET) along with Dr. Erik Dutson for studying how metabolic pathways influence liver and gastrointestinal diseases. Dr. Beaven was a Named New Investigator in the UCLA Center for Ulcer Research and Education (CURE) and has received awards from the UCLA Department of Medicine Research Day Competition.

Danny Issa, MD

Danny Issa, MD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Dr. Issa is a gastroenterologist and an interventional and bariatric endoscopist whose clinical practice focuses on using minimally-invasive approaches to diagnose and treat digestive diseases such as obesity, pancreas and bile ducts disorders, esophagus and stomach conditions, hiatal hernia, gastroparesis, fatty liver disease, hemorrhoids, colon polyps and early cancer lesions. He has a particular interest in bariatric endoscopy and obesity medicine.

Alireza Sedarat, MD

Alireza Sedarat, MD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Dr. Sedarat joined UCLA in 2013 as a member of the interventional endoscopy within the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases. His clinical interests encompass the development and application of advanced endoscopic techniques and interventions to diagnose, stage, treat and palliate a range of benign and malignant gastrointestinal disorders. He is proficient in the application of advanced endoscopic techniques including therapeutic ERCP, EUS with fine needle aspiration.

Adarsh M. Thaker, MD

Adarsh M. Thaker, MD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases DGSOM at UCLA

Dr. Thaker is an advanced endoscopist with particular interest in bariatric and metabolic endoscopy as well as other minimally invasive endoscopic procedures which help fill the gap between medical management and traditional surgery. He is co-leading the bariatric endoscopy program at UCLA, which is now among the busiest endoscopic weight loss centers on the west coast. He frequently coordinates with a multidisciplinary team in the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and COMET at UCLA.

Medical Weight Loss Management

Michael C. Garcia, MD

Michael C. Garcia, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

Michael Garcia, MD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Nutrition and Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA. He received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed residency training in internal medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, he served as Chief Medical Resident and hospitalist. He completed a fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at UCLA. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Physician Nutrition Specialist.

Program Manager

Kaitlyn Cedeno

Kaitlyn Cedeno

Bariatric Program Manager

Kaitlyn is the Program Manager for the Section of MIS and Bariatric Surgery. She joined the UCLA Bariatric team in 2016 after relocating from New York. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in New York City, she decided to pursue a career in route to Healthcare Administration. In 2014, she began working for a Bariatric Surgery Program in New York, where she gained insight and knowledge about obesity, insurance, and healthcare as a whole.

Nurse Practitioners

Anna Balioukova, NP

Anna Balioukova, NP

Nurse Practitioner II

Anna Balioukova has been with UCLA for over 12 years. After providing care to patients in the immediate post-operative period as a floor nurse, she witnessed the rapid resolution of comorbidities, which piqued her interest in metabolic surgery. After obtaining her Masters of Science degree in Nursing from UCLA In 2013, she began working as a bariatric surgery manager. Her clinical interests include the brain-gut connection and importance of psychological factors in postoperative weight loss.

Provider female default

Seu Na Park, NP

Nurse Practitioner II

Surgical Coordinator

Christina Cardenas, Surgical Coordinator

Christina Cardenas

Surgical Coordinator

The Surgical Coordinator is available to assist patients through every step of the surgical process. She is a resource for information regarding the procedures, pre-operative instructions, scheduling pre-operative follow-up appointments, surgery-scheduling, and insurance authorizations.

Registered Dietitians

Christine Goukasian, MS, RD

Christine Goukasian, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Christine completed her Masters of Science in Nutritional Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science from California State University, Northridge. Her dietetic internship was completed at Lenoir-Rhyne University, with emphasis on childhood obesity. She has experience working in multiple areas including clinical nutrition, weight management, prenatal nutrition, diabetes and renal disease.

Clinical Psychologist

Devon Kaiser, Psy.D, Clinical Psychologist

Devon Kaiser, Psy.D

Clinical Psychologist

The psychologist specializes in the assessment and evaluation of identifying and treating emotional components of improper eating habits.

Administrative Assistant

James Tenney

Administrative Assistant

The administrative assistant is the first point of contact for every patient. He guides each new patient through the process before their first clinic appointment and answers any questions the patient may have. He provides information about the program and schedules new patient appointments in addition to handling the day-to-day functions of the office.