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Our Bariatric Team

A team approach to weight loss.

Our bariatric surgeons, nutritionists and psychologists are each involved in providing you with ongoing support through your weight loss surgery and beyond, helping you understand the benefits, as well as the changes and challenges, that accompany life after bariatric surgery.

Physicians

Dr. Anthony DiBenedetto, Bariatric surgeon

Anthony DiBenedetto, MD, FACS
Medical Director, Bariatric Services

Medical School: State University, Buffalo, NY
Internship/Residency: State University, Buffalo, NY
Board Certifications: Bariatric Surgery

 

Gandhi_A
Alok Gandhi, DO, FACOS
Bariatric Surgeon

Alok D. Gandhi, DO, FACS is board certified in general surgery. He completed an internship and residency at St. Barnabas Hospital and a bariatric surgery fellowship at the University Medical Center at Princeton. Dr. Gandhi completed his undergraduate and medical school at the New York Institute of Technology / New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Gandhi is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons as well as a Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). He was elected to the Board of Trustees serving in the New York Chapter of the ASMBS by his fellow New York bariatric surgeons since 2010. In addition, he serves on several local and state committees focused on improving access to quality healthcare. He has published several papers in the fields of bariatric and general surgery.

Midlevel Providers

Niki Legler, NP

Niki Watts is a Nurse Practitioner with a passion for the field of bariatrics. Niki is a Rochester native. She holds a Master’s of Science from the State of New York, University at Buffalo.  Niki holds American Academy of Nurse Practitioner national certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Family health. She has experience in occupational health and critical care. In recent years she has specialized in surgery and has achieved RNFA certification to first assist in surgery .  Niki’s responsibilities include patient management in the office and hospital settings as well as first assisting in surgery as a part of the Rochester General Hospital bariatric team. 

Jaclyn B. Baloga, MPAS, RPA-C

Jackie is a Rochester native who graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 2007 and then a Masters of Physician Assistant Science from Gannon University in Erie, PA in 2008. She worked in Neurosurgery in Harrisburg, PA from 2008 until May of 2010. Jackie then moved back to Rochester, NY and began working in Bariatrics of Western New York in 2010 until present. Jackie also travels to a satellite office in Newark-Wayne to care for patients both preoperatively and postoperatively. She works as a first-assist in the operating room with the surgeons. Jackie's responsibilities are in the office seeing patients, in the operating room and on the hospital floor caring for patients admitted to the hospital.

Megan Kellen, PA

Nurses

Sue Rodems, RN
Clinical Nurse Specialist 

Sue is a Clinical Nurse Specialist on 4500 which is the inpatient unit that specializes in the care of bariatric surgery patients at Rochester General Hospital. Sue earned her Master of Science in Advanced Practice Nursing from St. John Fisher College. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Alfred University and an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing from Erie Community College.

Teresa DiBenedetto, CNS
Clinical Nurse Specialist 

Teresa DiBenedetto is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) who in the past 4 years has developed a strong interest in the bariatric field and has pursued a specialty in bariatric surgery.  She provides resources to staff, management, physicians, and other health team members regarding care of the bariatric patient.  She also counsels patients and coordinates the monthly support groups.  Teresa is a Registered Nurse (RN) who hold a Masters' of Science degree in Nursing, with a Clinical Nurse Specialist in critical care from the University at Buffalo State, University of New York.  She is a graduate of Niagara University where she received a Bachelors' of Science degree in Nursing.

Dieticians

Joan Panepinto, dieticianJoan Panepinto, RD
Clinical Dietitian

Joan Panepinto is a Registered Nurse and Registered Dietitian (NYS Certified Dietitian- Nutritionist) currently working with bariatric patients both before and after surgery at Bariatrics of Western New York within Rochester General Health System. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York. After a rewarding clinical experience in geriatric nursing and the dental health field her love of nutrition led her to earn a Bachelors of Science in Dietetics at SUNY Buffalo State. Joan holds her Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management from The Commission on Dietetic Registration and is a member of her local, state and national professional dietetic organizations. She strives to stay abreast of emerging science through graduate level nursing and nutrition courses in addition to professional conferences.

Joan’s specialties include: weight loss, bariatric nutrition, diabetes, gluten-free diet including gluten-free food manufacturing. Joan’s diverse dietetic experience includes but is not limited to: adjunct faculty member of nutrition at SUNY Buffalo State College; private nutrition counseling; instructor of healthy cooking classes for adults and children at The Food Bank of Western New York; ServSafe® food safety program instructor; dietetics clinician within an HIV/AIDS outpatient clinic; chia seed recipe developer and key nutrition support for Research and Development, marketing and sales with Rich Products Corporation and GF Natural Foods in the organic, natural, gluten-free and allergen-free food divisions.

Joan enjoys her daily passion for helping patients through nutrition assessments, development of individual nutrition treatment plans and teaching healthy menu planning.

Support Staff

Mariangela Knapp, Bariatric TeamMariangela Knapp 
Program Manager