The Lipedema Project
The Lipedema Project is a comprehensive transmedia program to increase
awareness and provide education, research, and treatment for lipedema.
The Lipedema Project has released the documentary film The Disease They Call FAT. A collaborative partnership between surgeon Mark L. Smith, MD, FACS, Director of the Friedman Center for Lymphedema Research & Treatment at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Catherine Seo, PhD, lipedema patient, advocate and Director of Lipedema Simplified, LLC, the Lipedema Project is a comprehensive transmedia program to increase awareness and provide education, research, and treatment for lipedema. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions and anti-fat bias prevalent in healthcare, it is critical that patients are correctly diagnosed and resources are invested in understanding this disease and how it can be treated. The Friedman Center is committed to providing education and funding research to identify treatment and a cure for lipedema. Lipedema Simplified is an information portal for patients and healthcare providers to raise awareness about lipedema and its treatment.
Collaboration: A Patient and Physician Partnership
The Lipedema Project is a unique collaboration between Catherine Seo, a lipedema patient, and Dr. Mark Smith, a physician and surgeon with expertise in the lymphatic system. This partnership opened the door for the Lipedema Project’s acceleration in raising awareness and moving forward with research for lipedema. While this collaboration opened the door, it’s the coming together of patients and healthcare professionals worldwide that has contributed to creating the Lipedema Project as a global “movement.”
The Friedman Center for Lymphedema Research & Treatment and Lipedema Simplified, LLC have jointly sponsored the completion of the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT, and the 1st International Symposium on Lipedema in New York City, April 17-18, 2015, where patients and healthcare professionals worldwide met, brainstormed, and defined a future for a research agenda for a cure for lipedema. It is the pairing of patients and physicians together that is shedding light on this under recognized condition. In a healthcare system that has been struggling, this is indeed an innovative approach.
Directors: The Lipedema Project
Mark L. Smith, MD, FACS is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Director of the Friedman Center for Lymphedema Research & Treatment. He is an expert in the field of cancer and lymphatic surgery and is double-fellowship trained in microsurgery and craniofacial surgery. He has expertise in lipedema and the application of WAL (water-jet assisted liposuction) lymph sparing liposuction surgery for lipedema. Dr. Smith is also Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As an international volunteer for the past two decades, he has performed reconstructive surgery and taught local surgeons in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central America, and South America.
Catherine Seo, PhD is the Founder and Director of Lipedema Simplified, LLC. She is also the producer and director of the documentary The Disease They Call FAT. She holds a doctorate in Media Psychology. Her research has been focused on empowering women who experience distortions of body image represented in the media by applying self-compassion and other meditation techniques. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Mark Smith and experts worldwide on a book about lipedema and creating a series of online courses for patients and healthcare professionals.