About Vitalis Metabolic Health
Vitalis Metabolic Health was founded in 2019 to address the growing obesity crisis—a time when nearly 35% of Oklahomans and nearly 40% of Americans qualified as having a diagnosis of obesity. The goal of the clinic is to focus not necessarily on weight loss alone, but on weight loss as part of an overall healthy lifestyle change, as well as to treat obesity as the medical disease that it is. Vitalis understands the impact that excess weight can have on quality of life, co-morbid medical conditions, and lifespan. That’s why the clinic uses evidence-based treatments to help patients achieve their goals. Vitalis is Latin for “life-giving.” That’s our goal: to guide patients toward improving quality of life, one step at a time.
Ryan Morgan, D.O.
Meet the Doctor
Determined to treat the disease of obesity…
After four years of hospitalist work, Dr. Morgan began to witness first hand the vast health complications a significant majority of his patients were struggling with due to Obesity. This first hand experience lead him to some basic research about obesity and the truly incredible pressure the disease is putting on our medical system. This piqued an interest in Dr. Morgan which quickly lead him to pursue diplomate status with the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He was awarded this status in 2018, and the following year he continued his professional development by being awarded diplomate status of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. Dr. Morgan is currently the only physician in the State of Oklahoma to hold both of these credentials.
Together with Bryan Luff, Dr. Morgan teamed up to start Vitalis Metabolic Health. The goal of the clinic is to help improve the overall health of our community by focusing solely on treating patients with obesity or overweight through evidence-based and individually tailored programs. Dr. Morgan’s thirst for knowledge has led him to develop a true passion for disease prevention and for understanding the oft-misunderstood complexity found in the field of obesity medicine.
Dr. Morgan attended Oral Roberts University where he earned both a bachelor of science in biology with a minor in biochemistry, as well as a bachelor of arts in Spanish. He went on to earn his medical degree at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and to complete his residency in Internal Medicine at Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Morgan currently works as a hospitalist at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and until early 2019, he also worked as a rural hospitalist at Great Plains Regional Medical Center in Elk City. He is regularly seeking opportunities to become more involved in his community, and in his free time he enjoys seeking out new cultures by traveling the world, escaping in the serenity of sailing, and discovering the heart of cultural connection by learning languages.
So, how do we treat obesity?
At Vitalis Metabolic Health, our approach is always going to be rooted in evidence based & individually tailored medical weight management. That means we won’t be injecting you with unproven hormones that make you GAIN more weight in the long run. We won’t be putting you on a pill that is falsely advertised as able to fix everything. Why? Because, while other companies will try to tell you these things work, the truth is, evidence proves that they simply don’t!
Study after study (after study) shows that by focusing on four primary areas—what we call our “four pillars of care”—you can, and will, see long term results. We leverage Nutrition, Physical Activity, Behavior, and Medical Treatment to treat the disease of obesity.
Obesity is a “chronic, relapsing, multifactorial, neurobehavioral disease”. We now know that fat is the largest endocrine producing organ in the body. Our appetite and metabolism are affected by insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, CCK, PYY, adiponectin, lipoprotein lipase, GLP-1 and more! Some of these hormones have direct impact on the brain itself, especially the hypothalamus.
Our clinic sees medication much like any other pharmaceutical used to treat disease. If, for example, a patient has controlled blood pressure only because he or she is taking blood pressure medication, clearly he or she should continue the drug. Somehow, because of cultural influences and past failures like Fen-phen, weight loss medications aren’t seen for what they are, but rather they are seen as “diet pills” or ways to cheat and avoid hard work.
In addition to initiating weight-loss promoting medications for the appropriate patient, our obesity-trained providers will also know which medications to adjust or discontinue that may be combatting your weight loss efforts. Many patients are unwittingly taking multiple medications that promote weight gain all while weight neutral or weight loss promoting medications exist.
Because weight loss can affect blood pressure and blood sugar, we also help manage medications as the weight loss journey continues to try and make your weight loss experience as safe as possible.
Lastly, and not to be overlooked, we evaluate for medical conditions that could be causing or contributing to your weight gain. Whether it’s hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, or monogenic forms of obesity such as MC4R deficiency, we screen the appropriate patient’s for these conditions and, most importantly, treat them for it. For genetic causes of obesity, we will even try to enroll you in drug trials. We want to make sure you get the help you need.
Nutrition is more than just counting calories. Nutrition evaluates food quality and digestibility, as well as meal timing, frequency, quantity, and microbiome effect. For those wanting a more traditional approach, our clinic will review food labels, portion sizes, and other methods to help you conquer the kitchen at home. Those wishing to have a little more one-on-one help or custom meal plans will be referred to a registered dietician. For those wanting more rapid weight loss, we provide a physician-supervised very low calorie meal replacement program boasting an average weight loss of 30 lb. in 26 weeks and 25 lb. at one year. The medically supervised meal replacement, unlike other products you may find online, includes 100% of the necessary daily vitamins and minerals necessary for daily living. In addition, rapid weight loss can be associated with some unintended consequences, which our patients are monitored for during the process. At VITALIS, we believe education is crucial to lifestyle change and we are confident that if you have the tools, you are capable of driving your own path toward a healthy future.
Our clinic explores the behavioral mechanisms of weight management. There are multiple reasons that drive our motivations for what, when, and how often we eat such as: hunger, emotion state, hedonism, social participation, reward, boredom, and habit. Our clinic teaches cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral approaches and practical tips to help you learn how to change your habits from unhealthy to healthy ones so that you not only are successful, but stay successful. Part of evaluating behavior is evaluating for eating disorders. Most are already familiar with disorders such as bulimia and anorexia which are associated with normal or underweight individuals, but other eating disorders like Binge Eating Disorder (the most common eating disorder in the US) and Night Eating Syndrome exist and it’s our job to recognize these possibilities to better tailor your treatment plan.
Physical activity doesn’t just help promote maintenance of weight loss, but it can improve cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neurologic, and psychological measures. Physical activity can be thought of as energy expenditure, and it can be further subdivided into two categories of exercise and something called NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT includes occupational movement, transportational movement, and leisure activity. We provide practical ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle and to tack-on NEAT activities in your day to day life. Before any physical activity prescription is given, however, our clinic assesses the likelihood of your needing medical clearance to exercise. We also help you to best track your level of fitness in ways that works best for you. As part of evaluating your fitness, with but a few exceptions, part of our program includes measuring your body composition. By knowing your body composition, we can track your overall metabolic improvement and accurately adjust your dietary requirements.
Shed the Stigma. Treat the Disease.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for obesity. But, at the end of the day, obesity is a disease…and diseases can be treated. Start treating the disease of obesity and take your health into your own hands.