Ashley E. Weedn, M.D., FAAP, and Stephen Gillaspy, Ph.D., will present “Motivational
Interviewing: Addressing Pediatric Obesity (I4069)” from 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov.
6, in room W224G of the convention center.
Dr. Weedn is a member of the AAP Section on Obesity and assistant professor, medical
director, Healthy Futures, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health
Sciences Center. Dr. Gillaspy is associate professor, Sooner Pediatrics, Oklahoma
In the following Q&A, they discuss session highlights and why pediatricians should
Q: What arethe key things you will be covering?
A: We will discuss the principles of motivational interviewing (MI) and offer strategies
and resources for implementing MI techniques into primary care practice. We will also
demonstrate how you can efficiently use MI to help engage the family in setting behavioral
goals for pediatric weight management. At the end of the session, participants will
have the opportunity to practice using MI techniques and receive feedback with the
goal of increasing their comfort with MI.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for pediatricians to learn more about using motivational
interviewing to address pediatric obesity?
Dr. Weedn: Pediatricians have a unique opportunity to influence health behaviors during
childhood and adolescence. Motivational interviewing provides an avenue for pediatricians
to help families increase their awareness and interest in improving their child’s
Dr. Gillaspy: Providers are content experts, but patients/caregivers are experts on
their behavior. MI can assist in engaging patients/caregivers in the behavior change
Q: How did you get interested in this topic?
Dr. Weedn: During residency training, I participated in an MI training session through
a rotation on pediatric obesity at the University of California at San Francisco.
Using MI in my patient encounters has helped me better serve my patients by helping
them meet their goals.
Q: What is the take-home message?
Dr. Weedn: MI is a patient-centered approach that helps facilitate behavior change
through effective communication. The goal of our session is for pediatricians to recognize
the utility of MI and implement some basic strategies and techniques into their practice
to enhance their experience with caring for children and adolescents with excess weight.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Our experience with MI is that it helps to reduce barriers to treatment by improving
patient and family engagement and decreasing providers’ feelings of frustration with
pediatric weight management.