Specialty Providers & Staff

Our team and partner organizations include all of the specialties required to support the bariatric patient throughout their journey. Dr. Edmund Chute and Dr. Raymond Drew are dedicated bariatric surgeons with many years of experience in helping patients achieve excellent outcomes with minimal complications. Dr. Sidney Jones is an endocrinologist with the Ridgeview Specialty Clinics. He provides non-surgical medical consultation for bariatric patients. Our staff includes a dietitian, certified bariatric nurse, exercise physiologists, bariatric program manager and physical therapist, surgical assistant and insurance coordinator.

We have partnered with Northland Counseling Services, a group of experienced psychologists, marriage and family therapists and social workers dedicated to providing counseling assistance during life’s difficult challenges. Dr. Hal Baumchen, PsyD, LP, the executive director of Northland, works closely with the Bariatric & Weight Loss Center, providing clinical interviews, assessments and counseling for our patients and facilitating our Bariatric Support Group.

Ridgeview Medical Center offers a variety of other specialty services that may be required during the pre-operative assessment, including a Sleep Disorders Center, Imaging Services, Endoscopy, and the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Ridgeview Heart Center.

Our Staff

Heidi Pucel, RN, CBN, received her degree in biology and chemistry from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and her degree in nursing from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. She is recognized by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery as a Certified Bariatric Nurse. She is instrumental in phone triage and postoperative management, and she provides follow-up services and gastric band adjustments in the clinic. Heidi assists with education and is interested in clinical nutrition following bariatric surgery.

Anne Bechtel, RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  She completed the Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management offered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Her background includes a Dietetic Internship at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration hospital and providing nutrition assessment and education for patients at Ridgeview Medical Center.  She has specialized in working with patients undergoing bariatric surgery, including one-on-one counseling, nutrition education and leading our support group.  She has a keen interest in partnering with patients interested in improving their health and well-being through weight loss.

Jessica Hess, MA, ATC, received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from Iowa State University and her Masters in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida  She was worked as an athletic trainer for the past ten years and is the Coordinator for Sports Medicine at Ridgeview.  She also provides expertise as an Exercise Physiologist for patients undergoing bariatric surgery.  While working on her Masters degree, Jessica focused on patients who had multiple health issues, helping them to achieve a healthy lifestyle that included weight management through exercise.  This experience sparked a passion of working with those struggling with their weight.  She undersands that exercise is one component of weight loss and achieving a healthy lifestyle, but for most, it is not easy.  Jessica strives to understand the individual and find a plan that works best for them.

Sandra Hanson, MS, ATC, graduated from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and earned her Masters degree in Exercise Science from Southern Connecticut State University.  She is a Certified Athletic Trainer and has worked with elite athletes at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center as well as swimmers with USA Swimming in Colorado Springs.  Sandy has assisted a variety of patients receiving outpatient physical therapy at Ridgeview Rehab Specialties since 2010.  She also provides exercise physiology consultations and education, pre- and post-operatively for patients having bariatric surgery.  She has a knack for understanding the individual and works to help each person find a way to increase their activity and exercise level to progress in their weight loss journey and achieve a better quality of life.

Sally Simcox is our Clinical Services Assistant, scheduling patients and triaging telephone calls during clinic hours. She is also a Certified Therapeutic Coach® with a specific interest in helping clients achieve excellence in their overall health - including mind, body and spirit.  Sally brings to the clinic the experience of someone who has had a successful gastric bypass surgery (performed by Dr. Drew). Her empathy and enthusiasm help patients feel welcome and understood as they make their journey both before and after bariatric surgery.

Jon Anderson, CST/SA, has been working with Drs. Chute and Drew for more than a decade. He is extremely experienced in assisting in bariatric surgery and has helped with over 2,000 operations for weight loss. He has trained and shared his skills in laparoscopic bariatric surgery with numerous other assistants. His expertise and anticipation of surgical needs allows our surgeons to operate more quickly, safely and successfully.

Katrina Trent, PT, DPT, serves as the Program Manager of the Ridgeview Bariatric & Weight Loss Center. She received her Master of Physical Therapy from St. Catherine University and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Simmons College in Boston. Katrina helped develop and open the Center for Joint Replacement at Ridgeview in 2007 and now oversees both the Joint Center and Bariatric programs. She coordinates the multidisciplinary team efforts in both the clinic and the hospital.

Katy Van Tassell is the insurance coordinator, guiding patients through the many steps required in the preoperative process. Katy is an expert at gathering the appropriate documentation to gain insurance approval for bariatric surgery.