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Meet the Team

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Domenica M. Rubino, MD is board certified in Obesity Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, and Internal Medicine. She has extensive experience in the care of the overweight patient as well as clinical research for the development of pharmaco-therapeutic agents in the  management of obesity. She received training in both clinical and molecular biological researchat the National Institutes of Health during her endocrinology fellowship. 


She has received several investigator awards and has written articles in several peer-reviewed publications (including Obesity, European Journal of Endocrinology, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Oncogene, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).Dr. Rubino is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, Endocrine Society, Obesity Society, American Diabetes Association and the Obesity Action Coalition.


She currently serves as a clinical expert on the treatment of obesity for several professional committees and has served as a representative to Congress and outside organizations for the Obesity Society. She often speaks as an advocate for the person struggling with obesity and has a strong interest in the psychological impact and societal stigma of this medical condition. She frequently lectures on the latest breakthroughs in weight management.

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Besan Alhamwi, MA, PA is a Psychology Associate in the District of Columbia. She believes that we exist in life as a complicated whole that affects and is affected by everything around us. In her practice, Alhamwi follows a holistic approach that looks at the different aspects of the client’s life, past and present, hardships and strengths, coping mechanisms and life narratives that contribute to the client’s life experience at this moment . Finding together new paths to feel safe, loved, free and happy.


Alhamwi holds a master’s in forensic psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. She worked extensively abroad in international NGOs providing therapy to impoverished individuals and families.  She also worked in mental health hospitals with dual diagnosis patients struggling with addiction plus mental illness. Alhamwi now works in two private practices between DC and VA.

Estela Schnelle, MS RDN is a Board Certified Registered Dietitian with over 20 years experience, specialising in weight loss.  She received her Masters degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman's University. Prior to running her private practice, she was formerly the Director of Clinical Nutrition at Georgetown University Hospital & Sibley Hospital. Estela focuses on individual lifestyle changes. She creates customised nutrition plans based on the needs and goals of her clients, which promote powerful and positive changes.  Her goal as a dietitian & nutrition coach is to ensure her clients are achieving their results from both a physical and emotional standpoint.  Nutrition is far more complicated than just the foods we eat. It can affect our mood, hormones, our metabolism, and sleep.  *Estela has been featured in Shape Magazine, Cooking Light, The Children's Miracle Network, and The Huffington Post.

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Jean Vita, R.N., B.S.N., CCRN, CCRC, is our Research Study Coordinator.  A native of Leeds in northern England, Jean received her R.N. from Oxford, England; after immigrating to the United States, she earned her B.S.N. from George Mason University. Before becoming a specialist in medical research, Jean worked in the intensive care units on both sides of the pond, including George Washington and Georgetown University Hospitals in Washington, DC.   In 1992 she joined the research staff at what is now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where for 20+ years she worked extensively on clinical research studies in the field of Traumatic Infectious Diseases in wounds from battleground injuries, and many projects relevant to the practice of military medicine. In 2012 she brought her deep knowledge and experience in medical research to our clinic, where she serves as Study Coordinator on all of our research protocols.

Michelle Vaughan, MBA  is the Center’s Practice Administrator and is responsible for the business operations of the practice including staff administration and financial management. She holds an MBA from George Washington University and has spent most of her 30+ year career working for and in coordination with national health related organizations. She is committed to providing outstanding patient service as well as creating an environment that is inviting for all.

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