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by The Joint Commission

Jacobi Medical Center is a member of the National Health Service Corps.

Jacobi receives the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) 2011 Safety Net Patient Safety Award for its Reducing Adverse Outcomes on Labor and Delivery initiative.
Learn more (in PDF)

(Left to Right:  Karalynn Chiazzese, Nutritionist; Dr. Arturo Corrales; Beth Liebmann; Yocasta Herrera, Coordinating Manager;  Erika Cruz-Maldonado Clerical Associate; Lynn Merklinger;  Dr. Ajay Chopra and Dr. Jayne Lieb)

Center of Excellence
Meet Our Patients Our Team Types of

Success is about more than surgery.

At Jacobi’s acclaimed Bariatric Surgery Center, weight-loss surgery is one component of a multidisciplinary approach. Before our doctors approve you for surgery, we require that you attend two informational sessions, have nutritional counseling, a psychiatric evaluation, medical clearance and undergo any tests we think are indicated. And long after the surgery, our team continues working with you. The surgery makes it easier for you to lose weight. But it isn’t a magic pill. Losing your excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight require permanent changes in eating and activity levels. That’s where our team comes in, offering unlimited support and guidance. We talk to you about exercise, about hydration, and about food choices. We work out personalized strategies for your lifestyle and personality. And we help you help you deal with emotional issues that arise because of the “new you.”

Happy patients love our team approach.

Our program has grown by itself, through patients talking to other people. Dr. Chopra has operated on whole families – husbands, wives, a mother, a son – because of word of mouth. People are telling others not just about successful weight loss, but about the incredibly supportive process here at Jacobi – how we go beyond the norm, how we offer lengthy appointments, how they get the chance to speak with other patients who’ve gone through the surgery, and how our team is always available after the surgery.

Meet Our Expert and Caring Bariatric Surgery Team.



Dr. Ajay Chopra, MD

Medical Director for the Bariatric Surgery Department

Dr. Chopra founded the bariatric program at Jacobi Medical Center in 2004. He brings to the program over three decades of surgical experience in India as well as the United States. Dr. Chopra completed his residency in General Surgery at New York Methodist Hospital, Weill Cornell University, subsequently he completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Bariatric Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he was also a clinical instructor. He joined Jacobi Medical Center as the Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Medical Director for Bariatric Surgery nearly nine years ago. Dr. Chopra is also Assistant Professor of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, also located in the Bronx, New York. He has conducted training courses and workshops on laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. He has published and presented clinical research related to Bariatric Surgery.

“Here at Jacobi’s Bariatric Center, we’ve been helping people turn their lives around for years. If you are obese, chances are you also suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and musculoskeletal issues. By working together, we can help you get your weight under control, which can also help alleviate other medical conditions you may have been suffering from for many years.”


Dr. Jayne Lieb, MD, FACS

Associate Director for Bariatric Surgery Department

Dr. Lieb joined Dr. Chopra and the bariatric program at Jacobi Medical Center in 2010. After completing her surgical training at Montefiore North Division, she completed a Trauma and Critical Care fellowship at Lincoln Hospital, both in the Bronx. Board-certified in General Surgery as well as in Trauma and Critical Care, Dr. Lieb completed an additional fellowship in Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. Dr. Lieb helped expand the Bariatric Surgery Program at Jacobi, and was instrumental in obtaining its Center of Excellence designation. Dr. Lieb grew up in New York City and feels honored that she is able to give back to the community.

“The number of Americans with obesity is growing and it poses a real health risk. As the Bronx has the highest rate of obesity among the five boroughs of New York City, Jacobi Hospital and our Bariatric Program are helping the Bronx become healthier.”


Lynn Merklinger, NP, RD

Clinical Coordinator for Bariatric Surgery Department

Dually certified as an adult nurse practitioner from Columbia University, and a bariatric nurse practitioner, Ms. Merklinger is clinical coordinator of our bariatric surgery program. In addition to helping assess and manage our bariatric patients, she helps track patient outcomes and takes part in research.  As a registered dietitian, Ms. Merklinger integrates all-important nutritional counseling into her work with patients.   Ms. Merklinger is proud to have played a role in Jacobi Medical Center’s accreditation as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.

"It is gratifying to see how bariatric surgery enhances patients’ self-esteem and increases their confidence in themselves.  I’m moved when patients tell me, ‘This surgery has given me a second chance."


Beth Liebmann, PA

Physician Assistant

After receiving her Physician Assistant degree from Touro College, NY., and completing a post-PA residency program at Montefiore Medical Center, Ms. Liebmann joined Jacobi Medical Center’s general surgery outpatient clinics. In 2012, she became the full-time PA for our bariatric service. Ms. Liebmann performs the initial medical evaluation of potential bariatric patients, books surgeries, and conducts post-op discharge and follow-up.

"I enjoy knowing I’ve been an integral part of helping our bariatric patients achieve a healthy lifestyle."


Arturo Corrales, PSY.D

Bariatric Psychologist

Dr. Corrales is a new addition to the Bariatric Surgery Department, arriving in December of last year. He received a doctorate in psychology from Wright State University in 2010. While working on his doctorate, he traveled to New York to complete a psychology Internship in Jacobi Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Department. He found the environment challenging and meaningful, and upon graduation, applied for a position as a psychologist here. As a psychologist, he meets with patients considering bariatric surgery to ensure they understand the many changes their body and life will undergo as a result of this operation.

"I help our patients deal with any outstanding concerns they may have with undergoing surgery. I'm confident that when they receive complete care from our program, they will go on to live a healthier and more rewarding lives."


Is bariatric surgery right for you?
Find out by calling our caring staff for a consultation and Body Mass Index (BMI) screening: 718-918-LOSS (5677)
Take the first step toward your new life…today.