Disease Remission in Obesity Programs (DROP)

Do you need help “dropping” bad habits, pounds, inches, medicine, and obesity symptoms? The UPMC Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology and the UPMC Center for Obesity Medicine present DROP.

Like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, obesity is a chronic disease. So, we should treat it as a disease — early and actively.

Obesity can cause or worsen:

  • Arthritis and chronic pain.
  • Fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
  • Heart disease and stroke.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Infertility and trouble getting pregnant.
  • Many cancers in men and women.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Type 2 diabetes.

If you're ready to lose weight and improve your health, DROP can help.

People have weight loss success when they create a goal and have positive reasons to achieve that goal.

Actions as small as making modest lifestyle changes and losing a few pounds can provide health benefits. Each step in the right direction is worthwhile.

Our Approach to Helping You Drop Weight

The DROP approach is to treat obesity as a chronic disease with you at the center of our care.

We do this through:

  • A patient-centered model that uses shared medical appointments (SMAs) and group lifestyle visits for accountability and complete care.
  • Our experts — including doctors certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine — to help with medicines, nutrition, and behavioral counseling.
  • Aftercare and follow-up to help prevent weight regain.

Program Options

Mediterranean life: Whole food, plant-heavy, healthy-fat diet derived from large heart disease and diabetes trials.

The Mediterranean diet consists of a range of whole foods, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Olive oil
  • Wine

The lifestyle also includes ways of living a longer, healthier, happier life like:

  • Getting better sleep
  • Being active
  • Managing stress
  • Improving social connections

This program:

  • Is one year long with monthly virtual group visits with a dietitian.
  • Patient cost: $250 for 1 year.

OPTIFAST®: Meal replacement low-calorie diet for extreme non-surgical weight loss and disease remission.

Certain health problems reach a severe stage where sustainable lifestyle changes and moderate weight loss is not enough.

OPTIFAST® is a medically supervised diet that begins with total meal replacement, followed by slowly building a new maintenance diet and habits.

It's for people who need to lose a large amount of weight fast to either:

  • Get off medicine for type 2 diabetes.
  • Safely have a needed orthopaedic surgery or infertility treatment.

It can also help others who have tried less intense diets or programs and only lost small amounts of weight.

The six-month OPTIFAST® plan can:

  • Reverse polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), sleep apnea, and fatty liver disease.
  • Achieve an average weight loss of 18%.

OPTIFAST® requires:

  • A one-on-one exam by one of our endocrinology doctors.
  • Six monthly follow-up group medical visits. Two are in-person, four are virtual.
  • 16 virtual group visits over six months with a dietitian.
  • A monthly maintenance program for one year.
  • Patient cost: $450 for 6 months for program and materials. Plus ~$2 per meal replacement product (at most $10/day for the first 3 months, then declines). Medical visits and tests billed to insurance.
  • Maintenance program cost  $250/year.

Follow-up visits are SMAs.

Partial Meal Replacement: Building simpler healthy lifestyle and habits for long-term weight loss success.

Partial Meal Replacement:

  • Combines elements of the Mediterranean Life and OPTIFAST® programs.
  • Focuses on improving the quality of the diet while decreasing how often you need to cook or meal-prep.
  • Twice a month virtual group visits for 6 months with dietitian.
  • A monthly maintenance program for one year.
  • Patient cost: $250 for 6 months. Does not include meal replacements.
  • Maintenance program: $250/year.

Our DROP Experts

The team at the UPMC Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology is here to help you on your weight-loss journey. We provide medical care, support, and nutrition counseling.

  • David Rometo, MD
    • Endocrinologist
    • Endocrine Obesity Unit Leader, Clinical Director of Center for Obesity Medicine
    • Board-certified in obesity medicine
  • Hussain Mahmud, MD
    • Endocrinologist
    • Board-certified in obesity medicine
  • Karen Selk, DO
    • Endocrinologist
    • Chief of Endocrinology, UPMC Mercy
    • Board-certified in obesity medicine
  • Sann Mon, MD
    • Endocrinologist
    • Chief of Endocrinology, UPMC McKeesport
    • Board-certified in obesity medicine
  • Katrina Han, MD
    • Endocrinologist
  • Divya Sistla MD
    • Endocrinologist
  • Nikola Gligorijevic, MD
    • Internal Medicine
    • Obesity medicine fellow
  • Jillian Herschlag MS, RD, LDN
    • Dietitian
  • Georgina Burrows, RD
    • Dietitian

Where to Find Us

Falk Medical Building (Oakland)

3601 Fifth Ave., Suite 3B
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

UPMC at Oxford Drive (Monroeville)*

400 Oxford Drive, Suite 100
Monroeville, PA 15146

*UPMC at Oxford Drive does not offer all three DROP options described above. But you can visit this location for your first exam with a doctor.

UPMC Mercy Endocrinology

1400 Locust St Ste 5120
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

UPMC McKeesport Endocrinology

500 Hospital Way, Painter Building, Suite 401
McKeesport, PA 15132

View our DROP brochure to learn more.

To make an appointment, call 412-586-9780.

Additional Resources

Listen to a UPMC HealthBeat podcast on DROP.

View a video interview with Dr. Rometo to learn more about DROP: