Way to Optimal Weight (WOW) Clinic

Healthy Happens Here

WOW is a tiered clinic for children and adolescents, age 15 months to 21 years, with body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile. The clinic is designed for children who are at higher risk for weight-related health problems.

Our aim is to assist patients and their families implement changes to positively affect the diagnosis of obesity and related comorbidities, and cardiometabolic complications.

The WOW clinic provides medical intervention, education, and fun physical activity to help motivate young people to make healthier choices for a lifetime.

Office Hours:

Orono Clinic - Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 am - 6 pm, Thursday, 8 am - 5 pm
TAMC Telemedicine - Wednesday, 8 am - 2 pm
Ellsworth Satellite Clinic - Monday, 8 am - 5 pm

There are four phases:

Phase 1: Eight (8) weekly sessions
Phase 2: Two (2) sessions per month for 6 sessions
Phase 3: One (1) session per month for 6 sessions (as needed)
Phase 4: Ongoing, based on the medical needs of each individual patient

All sessions will incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity directed by a personal trainer.

All referrals should go to the Orono home office.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Valerie M. O’Hara, FAAP, ABOM, Medical Director, Obesity Specialist: Dr. O’Hara brings 18 years of pediatric weight management experience to her families and community. She received her board certification in Obesity Medicine in 2013 via the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She began this focused work as part of the Maine Youth Overweight Collaborative in 2000.  She has been involved with Let’s Go as a Physician Champion, visiting the Primary Care Practices in the EMHS region since 2010, Dr.O’Hara  presented research data at the National 2015 Fall OMA Conference in Washington, D.C.  WOW also shared their Telemedicine Poster at Obesity Week/TOS/ASMBS conference, Summer Camp poster at the National AAP Fall conference in Chicago and Poster at the 2017 OMA re: The Cardiometabolic Disease Burden in Children presenting to a Rural Pediatric Stage 3 Weight Management Clinic – earning 1st Place honor.  As an advocate for her patients, she shared her WOW experience with the Dept. of Defense in Washington, DC and with former Gov. Baldacci.  She is a member of The Obesity Society, The Obesity Medicine Association, and the Obesity Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. O’Hara graduated from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1996 and completed her Pediatric Residency at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in 1999.  Dr. O’Hara is passionate about her patients and is dedicated to improving the health of the families with whom she works.
Nancy Tkacz Browne, MS, PPCNP-BC, FAANP is a pediatric nurse practitioner who joined the WOW team in 2015. Nancy graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a BSN in 1977 and from Boston College with MS, PNP in 1993. Nancy practiced as a RN at EMMC and MMC until 1993 and then as PNP in pediatric surgery at MMC through 2003. From 2004 through 2008, Nancy practiced at the University of Illinois/Chicago’s Pediatric Weight Management Program as a provider and clinic coordinator. Since returning home to Maine in 2010, Nancy’s professional time has been centered on writing, presenting, and advocating for pediatric obesity care.
Jennifer Curran, PhD, is a Pediatric Psychologist, who joined the WOW team in July 2017. Dr. Curran graduated with her doctoral degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and completed her internship and fellowship at A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Curran’s training specialized in pediatric obesity and she practiced as a psychologist in the Weight Management program at DuPont Hospital for 3 years prior to returning to her home state of Maine in October 2014. Outside of WOW, Dr. Curran works in Developmental Pediatrics at EMMC, where she specializes in diagnostic consultation and evaluation of childhood mental health and developmental concerns, as well as brief intervention for a variety of behavioral and developmental disorders.
Kathrin obtained her master of science in nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston and has 15 years of experience as a family nurse practitioner.  Much of her career has been spent working with underserved populations in Maine and Alabama.  Her special interest lies in pediatrics and for the past 7 ½ years she has had the privilege of working with the pediatric population in a school-based health center as the provider and coordinator of the program and has helped the program develop and grow from less than 300 enrolled students at its start to over 800 enrolled today.  She enjoys working with children and adolescents, helping them to make healthy choices by providing them with the education and resources to do so.  When not working, Kathrin enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and three children and is looking forward to camping, hiking, and gardening with her family this summer.
Lauri is the registered dietitian at the WOW clinic.  She earned her BS at the University of Maine and her MS at Tufts University in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She completed her clinical training at New England Medical Center in Boston. Lauri brings more than 20 years of experience as registered dietitian and more than 15 years of experience as a certified diabetes educator to the WOW clinic.  She works with both children at the WOW clinic as well as with adults through the Diabetes Endocrine and Nutrition Center. Lauri serves as a preceptor for the University of Maine Dietetic Internship program, is active in her community, serving on the school board and the wellness committee, advocating for wellness initiatives in the local school system.
Starr’s 23 years of nursing coincided with the military lifestyle as she and her family moved to various states and countries. This allowed her to gain nursing experience in many types of cultures. Starr enjoyed the opportunity to work in many different settings including adult care, psychiatric nursing, and pediatrics. Upon her husband’s retirement from the military in 2002, they moved to Maine. Starr’s interest in pediatric weight management peaked when she became involved in MYOC (Maine Youth Overweight Collaborative) in 2004.  She continues to attend various seminars and conferences, allowing her to network with many experts in this field.  Starr enthusiastically shares this knowledge with children and families in a fun interactive environment at WOW.  She has presented and co-presented WOW in various primary care clinics as well as the State of Maine AAP conference in 2012.  Starr‘s special interest is serving as teacher and preceptor for nursing students; currently working with students from UMO and Husson University.
Our team also includes Certified Personal Trainers at the UMaine New Balance Recreation Center and psychology Doctoral Students from the University of Maine, Orono. 

More About the WOW Clinic

WOW is divided into four phases:

Phase 1: Eight (8) weekly visits, includes medical, behavioral and dietary consultations
Phase 2: Six (6) bi-weekly visits, includes follow-up behavioral and dietary visits
Phase 3: Six (6) monthly visits, includes follow-up behavioral and dietary visits
Phase 4: Ongoing services, based on the medical needs of each individual patient

Visits thereafter are based on clinical evaluation of individual patient’s needs and related co-morbidities status. Families and the WOW team will work together to determine what will work best for each child.
At your first visit, you will meet with Dr. O’Hara, a pediatrician who is board certified in Obesity Medicine, for a complete intake and evaluation of your child’s health status.  Our mission is to understand what your goals and concerns are as we create a tailored care plan that is unique to your child.

As part of our comprehensive clinic, each session will include time with our providers and our nurse. We believe that the best learning occurs when kids are engaged and the information is shared in interactive, fun and creative ways.  The diagnosis of obesity and the related health issues are complex, yet our goal is to provide education that is practical for busy families in today’s environment.
Included as part of our assessment and treatment, patients receive nutritional counseling with our Registered Dietitian.  Our Psychologist provides support and counseling to help create goals toward positive health changes.

Each appointment provides one on one time at the state of the art UMaine New Balance Recreation Center with our Certified Personal Trainers. The focus is to teach patients and families that physical activity can be FUN!