Hospital:

Bariatric Surgery Team

Meet the Bariatric Surgery Team

When you choose Jefferson for your weight-loss surgery program, you are treated as more than a surgical patient—we welcome you as part of our family. Our entire team of medical professionals works hard to be with you every step of the way, from your initial consultation to your post-surgical care and education, and beyond.

Since 2007, our team of expert bariatric surgeons have performed more than 4,000 procedures - changing the lives for patients and their families all over South Jersey.

Marc A. Neff, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Marc Neff is Medical Director of the Jefferson Health Bariatric Surgery Program in New Jersey. In this role, Dr. Neff oversees the clinical operations of the program, which has received Level 1 Accreditation through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Neff is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed a five-year General Surgery residency at York Hospital in York, PA, and then went on to do a two-year Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. There, he trained under recent Past President of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, Dr. W. Peter Geis, and recent Past President of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Dr. Robert Brolin.

Adeshola D. Fakulujo, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Fakulujo is an assistant professor in the department of surgery at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM). Prior to joining RowanSOM, Dr. Fakulujo completed a residency in general surgery at Columbia University's Harlem Hospital Center in New York. After his time at Harlem, he pursued additional training and completed a fellowship in Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. During this period, he was instrumental in leading a wide variety of bariatric procedures including laparoscopic roux-en-y gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic gastric banding and revisional bariatric surgery, as well as other advanced laparoscopic procedures including paraesophageal hernia repairs, anti-reflux procedures, heller myotomy, laparoscopic solid organ surgeries. Dr. Fakulujo obtained his medical degree from the University College Hospital, University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery, and is an active member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the American College of Surgeons.

Adam S. Goldstein, D.O., F.A.C.S., FASMBS

Dr. Adam Goldstein has been practicing bariatric surgery since 2004 when he completed his Fellowship in Minimally Invasive, Bariatric, and Robotic Surgery at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, and has extensive training and experience performing laparoscopic bariatric surgery. A Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Dr. Goldstein joined Jefferson's Bariatric Program in 2012, but has served as Director of Bariatric Surgery and Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery for another local hospital system for years. Dr. Goldstein graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences and went on to graduate from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, finishing in the top 5% of his graduating class. Following this, he completed his General Surgery Residency at the University of Illinois Metropolitan Group Hospitals, where he was awarded the Resident Achievement Award in Laparoscopic Surgery before going on to complete his fellowship. Dr. Goldstein is a respected member of the bariatric surgery community, and has been interviewed on television and radio about the operations.

Louis Balsama, D.O., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Louis Balsama helped established Jefferson's Bariatric Program in New Jersey in 2007, along with Dr. Marc Neff. Dr. Balsama has always had an interest in teaching and has been very active with the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine during his career. He currently serves as both the Acting Chairperson of Surgery at Rowan-SOM and as Program Director for the Surgical Residency at Rowan-SOM (formerly UMDNJ-SOM). A South Jersey native, Dr. Balsama graduated from UMDNJ-SOM in 1999, completing his Residency at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA, in 2005, and has been a Kennedy physician since that time. An avid runner and Boston Marathon qualifier, Dr. Balsama encourages and inspires his bariatric surgery patients to take an active role in their weight-loss journey through physical activity and a healthy diet. A member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, Dr. Balsama is also on the Jefferson Health Infection Control Committee.

Christine M. Arroliga RN, CBN, SMC

Chris, Bariatric Nurse Manager, has 20+ years of experience in the bariatric specialty, as well as 35+ years of experience nursing. One of the first nurses in the area to receive her bariatric nurse certification, she is also certified in diabetes (Certified Diabetes Educator retired) and stress management (Certified Stress Management Consultant). Chris’s areas of expertise include care of gastric sleeve, gastric band, and gastric bypass patients, and she has been honored with “Manager of the Quarter,” “Employee of the Month,” and various clinical excellence awards. Above all else, she compassionately coaches all clients through their continuum of care, so that they may safely and successfully reach their weight-loss goals.

Cheri R. Leahy, RDN, CSOWM

Lead Bariatric Dietitian

Cheri Leahy, RDN is the Director of Nutrition for Bariatric Surgery at Jefferson Health in New Jersey. A passionate nutritionist and health expert, Cheri earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and completed a graduate program and clinical internship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. Certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Cheri has presented nutrition and wellness seminars nationally and authored a cookbook titled, “Portion 8.”

Cheri has spent much of her career in bariatric surgery and weight management nutrition, and is an associate member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Cheri believes in the power of food to optimize health and wellness, prevent disease and maximize the way you look and feel. Her areas of special interest include adult and adolescent weight management and eating disorders.

Andrea Bookoff, RD

Andrea Bookoff, MS, RD, has been a dietitian with the Jefferson Health - New Jersey Bariatric Surgery Program for about a year. She earned her MS in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University, New York, NY, and completed her dietetic internship at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions for Adults from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. 

With a passion for working with the weight management population — and a lover of food herself — Andrea has developed unique techniques to bridge the gap between both worlds. Recognizing these relationships allows Andrea to provide evidence-based recommendations, emotional support, and upgraded recipes to ensure patients reach their weight-loss journey goals.

Cristin Polizzi

Wellness Program Coordinator

Cristin Polizzi, Wellness Program Coordinator, has been with the Jefferson Bariatric team for more than five years. During this time, she became a Certified Health and Wellness Coach and Holistic Nutrition Coach. She also studied and earned certification for Lifestyle Management, Meditation, and Reiki. Her goal - from day one - with patients is to help make the transition from pre-operative life to post-operative life as seamless and stress-free as possible. As Wellness Coordinator, she hopes to make her patients feel supported, heard, and ready for their entire unique bariatric journey. 

 

Nancy Raleigh, BSN, RN, CPAN, CBN

Nancy, 32-year employee of Jefferson Health New Jersey, has worked in the PACU since 2006. The PACU stay is a short, but essential time in the bariatric surgery process. Inspired by the determination of the bariatric patients she saw, and how much the procedure changed their lives, she decided to work toward her CBN. Peg Martin, program coordinator, supported her through the rewarding learning experience, which provided a more complete picture of the bariatric surgery journey. Continuing education is required to maintain her CBN, which benefits surgeons, nurses, and patients by keeping everyone up-to-date on best practices. 

 

Megan Sabin, MSN, APN, FNP-BC

Megan Sabin, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, is a nurse practitioner whose role is to medically co-manage our bariatric surgery patients in the postoperative period during their hospital stay. After earning her BSN at Thomas Jefferson University, Megan worked as an ICU nurse caring for critically ill patients. She graduated with her MSN from Rutgers University, Camden, and earned certification as a family health nurse practitioner from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. As a nurse practitioner, she worked in a busy family practice for several years before coming to Jefferson over 1 year ago. She enjoys seeing patients during this crucial phase in their weight-loss journey, because she is able to assist in their recovery and help them transition to managing their medical conditions at discharge and beyond.