Skip Navigation
request an appointment my chart notification lp musc-logo-white-01 facebook twitter youtube blog find a provider circle arrow
MUSC mobile menu
Weight Management Center

MUSC Health Weight Management Center

Are you one of the millions of Americans who struggle with their weight? If so, the MUSC Health Weight Management Center can help. In fact, we’ve been helping people in the Charleston area to manage their weight since 1974.

Extra weight is not a character flaw. It's a complex problem that can impair your health and quality of life. Our specialists at the MUSC Health Weight Management Center understand the complexity of weight loss. A team of psychologists, physicians, dietitians, and exercise physiologists work together, using their diverse knowledge to help you reduce excess weight. MUSC is an academic medical center so patients benefit from the most current and safe weight management programs, medicines and advances through research.

We offer a full range of programs to serve the different needs of different people. However, all of our work with patients includes a strong emphasis on helping them to make the long-term lifestyle changes that are so important for success in the long run. We think of these changes as the ABCD’S of lifestyle change:

Activity Changes
Exercise is crucial to the long-term success of a weight loss program. The center helps you plan and maintain an exercise program.

Behavioral Changes
The center helps you examine problematic eating behaviors and finds ways to change them.

Cognitive (Thinking) Changes
The center helps you change the thought patterns that lead you to overeat or sabotage your own progress.

Dietary Changes
Successful long-term weight loss should be based on a healthy diet. A registered dietitian helps you form an eating plan you can live with.

Support Systems
The process of losing weight and growing accustomed to new ways of dealing with food can be difficult. The center provides you with the support you need through group and individual sessions. 


Weight Management Programs & Services

We have a program to fit your weight management needs — whether you've got a little or a lot to lose! Learn about us and our programs by going through a self-guided virtual tour or read more about our programs and services by clicking a link below.

Would you like our expert clinicians to help you decide which program might be best for you, but without having to come in for a program orientation? NOW WE CAN!

Take five minutes to complete our Program Matching Calculator and it will match you with the program/s that we believe would best suit your needs and preferences. This is a BRAND NEW tool that we have developed, which leverages the years of experience that our clinicians have in helping patients decide on the best programs for them.

And remember, you don't need to live in the Charleston area to take advantage of our programs — we can help all South Carolinians reach their weight goals through our distance programs: Focus CarolinaProfessional Home Weight Monitoring, and ExpertEase.

Please be aware that third party payers (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) do not typically cover the cost of weight management services.   

First Step

First Step is an eight-week lifestyle change program that offers weight loss assistance through individual weekly meetings with our Registered Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists, and Behavioral Specialists. It is appropriate for people of all weight ranges.

L.E.A.N for Life

Lifestyle+Education+Activity+Nutrition. A free 8-week lifestyle change weight loss class taught by MUSC students and supervised by the MUSC Weight Management Center.

Focus-23 & Focus-27

Focus-23 and Focus-27 are simply extended versions of our Focus-15 program, which allow you to extend how long you follow the more structured, meal replacement-based phases of the program.


The Focus program is a 15-week lifestyle change program; we also include 3 additional follow-up visits at the end of the initial program, to further assist you with managing your weight on your own. This program is designed to induce larger initial weight losses than traditional lifestyle change programs (e.g., First Step). 


This 30-week program, designed for people who need to lose more than 50 pounds, combines medically supervised supplemented fasting with instructions in lifestyle change techniques to help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to maintain a healthier weight.

Focus Carolina

Our most popular Focus programs are now offered online in real-time so that anyone, anywhere in South Carolina or North Carolina can participate.


ExpertEase provides individuals with the opportunity to gain insight into areas of weight management without having to commit to a long term program. You can meet with our staff over video or phone.

Home Weight Monitoring

We monitor your weight, dietary intake, and activity, and all you have to do is step on your bathroom scale. We offer this service to anyone, whether you're in one of our other programs or not.

Employer Programs

We also work with the following local employers to provide specialized programs for their employees:

Other Programs & Services

We offer specific workplace programs with several employers in the area. We also offer individual weight management programs and research programs.


Our Weight Management Team

Below is a listing of the MUSC Health Weight Management Center faculty and staff.

Patrick M. O'Neil, Ph.D.

Associate Director Of Clinical Services:
Tonya F. Turner, MPH, RD, LD

Patient Services Staff:
Shawn Witherspoon
Jenny Boyce, BA

Robert Malcolm, M.D.

Nursing Staff:
Rhoda Ascanio, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Postdoctoral Fellow
Sarah Hales, MSW, Ph.D.


Weight Management Patient Stories

See some of the results that our patients have had. These stories are not intended to portray all results as individual outcomes vary and depend in part on degree of program adherence. That being said, our patients generally do very well!

Note: Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us at the MUSC Health Weight Management Center. Each patient listed on our website has granted us express permission to share their program results and pictures with our web page visitors.


Contact Us

We're located in the Institute of Psychiatry building at 67 President Street in downtown Charleston. We also offer a Tuesday afternoon clinic in North Charleston at 8471 Resolute Way.

Call us at 843-792-2273 or 800-553-7489. Fax us at 843-792-5432.

Weight Management Center Voted Best in Charleston

WMC voted best weight loss center in Charleston