Weight Loss Surgery Institute — Our Team

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Weight Loss Surgery Institute — Our Team


Dr. David Maccabee, MD, FACS

Dr. Maccabee is an experienced surgeon who is trained in the most advanced techniques for minimally invasive surgery, including laparoscopic and bariatric weight-loss surgery.

Dr. Maccabee is the only weight loss surgery specialist in San Luis Obispo County and Northern Santa Barbara County, performing gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and lap band procedures. Dr. Maccabee completed his surgery residency at The University of Washington in Seattle and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland.

He completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at OHSU as well. As a surgeon with extensive minimally-invasive and baritric surgery expertise, he will serve as the Medical Director of the Weight Loss Surgery Institute. 

Community members who are 80 pounds or more overweight and have been unsuccessful with other weight loss alternatives can contact Dr. Maccabee today for a consultation. To make an appointment, please call 805-332-THIN (8446).

Click hear to read a personal message to patients who have been referred to see Dr. Maccabee for consideration of weight loss surgery. 

Dr. Edward Felix, MD, FACS

Dr. Felix is an experienced surgeon, specializing in minimally invasive bariatric surgeries. He started The Center for Bariatric Surgery at Clovis Community Medical Center over 30 years ago, and since opening the center he has performed more than 4,000 bariatric procedures including more than 3,500 gastric bypasses, 98 percent of which were performed using a minimally invasive approach.

He received his medical degree in 1971 from the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago, joined the National Institute of Health Cancer as a fellow and completed his surgical residency at University of Illinois, where he later was appointed assistant professor in the department of surgery. In 1980, Dr. Felix left Illinois to set up a private practice in Fresno, where he practiced from 1980 to 1990, specializing in the surgical treatment of cancer patients. Due to his expertise and surgical skill set, he became a specialist in metabolic and bariatric surgery.

Dr. Felix is an internationally known expert in laparoscopic surgery, and has authored many scientific articles, peer review journals, and chapters in surgical textbooks. His is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.


Carrie Smith, RN, MSN, PHN

Carrie Smith RN, MSN, PHN is our Bariatric Nurse Coordinator. She has been a registered nurse for 25 years. Carrie has experience in various fields of nursing including; critical care, home- health, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, nursing education & staff development.

Carrie holds instructor certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life, Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Trauma Nursing Core Courses. Carrie completed her BSN at CSU, Chico and her MSN at CSU, Dominquez Hills.

She is a member of many professional organizations, and strives for excellence in patient care! As the Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, Carrie works closely with Dr’s Maccabee and Felix and all our team, to coordinate all bariatric services for the Weight Loss Surgery Institute.

She looks forward to helping patients achieve their goal of weight loss, and improve their overall health, including reduction of weight-related co-morbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, GERD, and many others.   





















































Shelley Wheeler, MS, RD

Shelley Wheeler is one of our registered dietitians that works on educating patients about the unique nutritional requirements after weight loss surgery. Shelley received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Cal Poly State University and a Master of Science in Nutrition from Fresno State University.

She has over 5 years of experience in the nutrition field and has recently obtained her certification in weight management. As a registered dietitian who works with individuals undergoing weight loss surgery, she is passionate about providing nutritional education to both pre and post-operative patients.

She also serves as a moderator for the Weight Loss Surgery Institute's monthly surgery support group meetings.

Lisa Dawes, MS, RD, CDE

Lisa Dawes, MS, RD, CDE, is registered dietitian with over 12 years experience in providing medical nutrition therapy and nutrition education. Ms. Dawes received her Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Fullerton, completed her dietetic internship through California State University Long Beach, and completed her master’s degree in food science and nutrition at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

She has also earned her certification as a diabetic educator and has been working with type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients for over 5 years. As a member of the Weight Loss Surgery Institute bariatric team, she is involved in conducting pre-surgical patient evaluations and post-surgical education.  


Lisa Zurek, PharmD

Lisa Zurek, PharmD, is a pharmacist, serving as Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Clinical Services at Marian Regional Medical Center. She is an experienced pharmacist with nearly 15 years of work in the Pharmacy Department at Marian. Always up for a challenge, Lisa will serve as an integral part in the Bariatric Surgery Team offering her expertise in pharmaceutical care, drug information and medication safety.

Lisa completed her B.S. in Pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia and later completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree from the University of Colorado-Denver, School of Pharmacy.

Pam Cancilla, RN (L) and Penny Popp, RN (R), Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Supervisors

Denise Gimbel, RN, MPH
Cardiopulmonary Rehab Coordinator

Individualized Exercise Plan

Bariatric surgery patients have a unique opportunity to exercise both pre-operatively and post-operatively in a safe environment with a registered nurse at hand for questions or concerns.

In a reduced calorie state, the body’s natural tendency is to use muscle for immediate energy needs. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate a fitness program after surgery. Exercising at least three times per week conserves lean muscle mass, burns fat and increases long-term success.

Both French Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department and Marian Regional Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department have a variety of exercise equipment including treadmills, stationary bicycles, free-weights, etc.
Our specially trained nurses and exercise therapists will provide an appropriate individualized progressive exercise plan for each individual.
French Hospital Medical Center Contact:
Denise Gimbel, RN MPH
Cardiopulmonary Rehab Coordinator
Phone: 805-542-6280

Marian Regional Medical Center Contact(s):
Pam Cancilla, RN, BSN & Penny Popp, RN, BSN
Cardiopulmonary Rehab Supervisors
Phone: 805-739-3250






















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Marian Regional Medical Center
1400 East Church St
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 739-3000