Meet the Team
James Ku, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Medical Director, Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery
James Ku, MD is a board-certified surgeon and brings more than 10 years of experience in bariatric surgery. He has performed more than 2,000 bariatric surgeries, including 500 adjustable banding procedures. As medical director of Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, he oversees all of LG Health's weight loss programs and is supported by an experienced staff of registered dietitians, nurses, exercise physiologists and behavioral medicine specialists.
Dr. Ku earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and his undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He completed his fellowship in Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He also completed fellowships in Surgical Critical Care and Trauma, both at University of North Carolina. Dr. Ku served his residency at The Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia.
Previously, Dr. Ku served as medical director of bariatric surgery programs at both Reading Hospital and Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He was also an assistant professor of surgery at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.
Dr. Ku was founding vice president of the Pennsylvania Society for Bariatric Surgery. He is also a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons and the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.
Dr. Ku has published numerous abstracts and articles in professional journals including Journal of Surgical Research and the Journal of Trauma and Obesity Surgery. He has lectured extensively on the surgical treatment of obesity.
Joseph R. McPhee, MD, FACS
Joseph R. McPhee, MD, of Lancaster General Health Physicians Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, is a board-certified surgeon and member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). He brings more than eight years of surgical experience to Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery at Lancaster General Health.
Dr. McPhee is fellowship-trained in advanced laparascopic techniques, including gastric bypass, adjustable banding, and sleeve gastrectomy. He served with the U.S. Navy for 15 years as an officer in the Medical Corps, with tours in Bosnia, Sicily, Kuwait and Iraq. He also served aboard the USS Comfort to provide Haiti earthquake relief.
Dr. McPhee earned his medical degree at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York and his undergraduate degree at New York University. He completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his residency at North Shore University Hospital.
Dr. McPhee is the creator of a cookbook designed specifically for patients of bariatric surgery.
Lawrence A. Wieger, DO
Lawrence Wieger, DO, oversees the Medical Weight Management program at Lancaster General Health Physicians Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery. An alternative to weight loss surgery, this physician-supervised program includes counseling to address social and behavioral factors and low calorie diet plans.
A board-certified medical bariatrician, Dr. Wieger was previously with The Weight Loss Clinic, a subsidiary of Central Pennsylvania Surgical Associates. Prior to that, he was with Penn State Geisinger Health System. He has been helping people who struggle with weight management for more than 12 years.
Dr. Wieger earned his degree in osteopathic medicine from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He served his residency in family practice at Community General Osteopathic Hospital. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society.
A native of the Harrisburg area, Dr. Wieger approaches weight loss from the perspective of improving a person's overall health and well-being, with the goal of reducing the impact of weight-related medical conditions. His philosophy is to address long-term lifestyle behaviors, including dietary and activity components.
Zachary A. Ichter, DO
Zachary Ichter, DO, is a fellowship-trained surgeon with expertise in advanced laparoscopic surgery. A Lancaster native, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College and obtained his DO degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
He performed his residency in general surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - School of Osteopathic Medicine (now known as Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine) and completed a fellowship in minimally invasive robotic bariatric surgery at Stanford University. He received numerous honors while in clinical rotation at Geisinger Medical Center. Dr. Ichter is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons and Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons.
Steven D. Johnson
In his role as administrator director, Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, Steven Johnson is responsible for all non-clinical aspects of Lancaster General Health Physicians Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery. Steve came to LG Health from Bariatric & Metabolic Intelligence, a consulting firm that provides management solutions to bariatric programs across the country. Prior to that, Steve worked for Ethicon Endo-Surgery in the Bariatric Business Solutions division. His experience includes the refinement of all parts of bariatric programs, including marketing, operations, financial analysis and staffing.
Steve’s bariatric experience began in 2000 when he was the practice administrator for Central PA Surgical Associates in Harrisburg, affiliated with Pinnacle Health. He was the administrative leader in the application for and granting of Center of Excellence accreditation for that program. Steve also helped build The Weight Loss Clinic, owned and operated by the physicians, to deliver outpatient care to the bariatric patient population, with both medical and surgical pathways of care. He received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Clarion University.
Emily Erb, BS
Emily Erb joined the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery team in 2015. She most recently worked at the LG Health Wellness Center where she administered health screenings, gave health and wellness lectures, taught fitness classes, and provided health coaching. A native of Lancaster County, Emily graduated from Cabrini College with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. She served as a health educator for the School District of Lancaster after completing her degree. She worked with elementary school students to encourage healthy food choices and stress the importance of exercise. As part of the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery team, Emily’s primary responsibilities include designing individualized exercise programs, providing one-on-one patient consults and training sessions, and teaching education classes.
Emily is passionate about working with people to help them reach their health goals and live an active life. Running is her favorite form of exercise and she believes choosing an activity that you have fun doing is crucial to making it a priority in your life. The hardest part of exercising is often just getting out the door, she says. She works hard at motivating her patients to just get up and go! “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great” is a favorite quote of hers.
Ryan Huxta, BS
Ryan Huxta, a native of Lancaster County, is an exercise physiologist in the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery program. Ryan graduated from Temple University with a degree in kinesiology and a focus in exercise and sport science. Ryan has experience providing exercise and wellness education in one-on-one and group settings, designing individualized exercise programs based on the functional status of patients, and coaching employees in various work settings to promote healthy lifestyle change adherence.
Ryan is grateful for the opportunity to help others help themselves to improve their quality of life. Ryan promotes making the most of every day and emphasizes how the choices we make on a daily basis do indeed matter. He believes everyone has the ability to succeed and overcome, however all individuals must first believe in themselves. As a bariatric exercise physiologist, Ryan provides individual fitness and lifestyle management coaching, and he will also help you create a personalized exercise program that is right for you. Ryan makes it a point to focus on life balance when it comes to developing a healthy lifestyle which includes making exercise a priority for optimal wellness.
Jennifer Collins, Psy.D.
Behavioral Medicine Specialist
Dr. Collins received her doctorate of psychology in clinical psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has a longstanding interest in behavioral medicine with a specialty in obesity and bariatric surgery. She has trained with top psychologists in the field of obesity and bariatric surgery at university hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Her dissertation was entitled “Potential Correlates of Low Weight Self-Efficacy in Bariatric Surgery Candidates.” She is an Integrated Health Member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. She has completed a number of continuing education credits in the area of obesity and bariatric surgery.
Dr. Collins’ role in the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery program involves conducting pre-weight loss surgery psychological evaluations, facilitating Food and Mood classes, and covering support group topics on emotional and behavioral issues related to bariatric surgery.
Katherine G. Bonadio, RD, LDN
Kathy Bonadio, registered dietitian, earned her bachelor of science in clinical dietetics and nutrition at University of Pittsburgh. After completing a supervised practice at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Kathy went on to work as a dietitian in the senior care setting for five years and then served as a dietitian for Pittsburgh Bariatrics at UPMC, St. Margaret before relocating to the Lancaster area. In addition to being a registered dietitian, Kathy is also a licensed dietitian-nutritionist and has a certificate of training in weight management. Kathy works with each patient to educate him or her on healthy eating and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Jan Kristensen, MS, RD, LDN
Jan Kristensen joined the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery team in 2016. She obtained her bachelor of science degree in dietetics from James Madison University, completed a one-year dietetic internship at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, and earned a master of science degree in applied human nutrition from Penn State University. She worked as a clinical dietitian for hospitals in the greater Philadelphia area and at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She taught nutrition education and cooking classes at the former Pritikin Longevity Center in Downingtown, PA. She served as research team dietitian for a community intervention healthy heart program based in Cooperstown, NY. More recently, she worked for Lancaster General Health’s wellness center and Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program. Jan is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She enjoys helping others achieve their health and weight management goals.
Nicole Starr, RD, LDN
Nicole Starr joined the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery team in 2017. She most recently served as a clinical dietitian at Memorial Hospital in York, PA. Nicole has worked in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, mental health centers, and outpatient facilities. In addition to her role with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, she also works as a part-time dietitian at a long-term care facility in Akron, PA. Nicole earned her bachelors of science from Immaculata University. She enjoys helping to educate and empower others to achieve their goals for safe and successful weight loss. She likes interacting with others and helping them improve their lifestyle by helping to build the confidence they need to succeed for a lifetime of health.
Shauna Mugavero, RD, LDN
Shauna Mugavero, registered dietitian, obtained her bachelor's of science degree in dietetics at the University of Delaware in 2004. After completing her dietetic internship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she stayed in the Virginia area where she worked at Carilion Clinic for six years. During her time there, she gained extensive experience in weight management counseling and clinical nutrition. Shauna is certified in adult weight management through the American Dietetic Association. Shauna is committed to helping patients set attainable, lifestyle goals and guiding them through their weight loss journey.
Andrea Arms, MSN, CRNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Andrea Arms, a Lebanon County native, joined the Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery team in 2015 after being in Phoenix, AZ, for six years. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Alvernia University in Reading and her master's from Grand Canyon University. She is ANCC board certified and her experience has been primarily in acute care. She most recently worked at Banner University Medical Center. A fitness enthusiast, she has completed marathons as well as other races and events. In her acute care clinical experience, she has seen first-hand the positive impact a healthy lifestyle has on prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
Paula Crawford-Gamble, MSN, CRNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Paula Crawford received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Sonoma State University in 1978 and her master’s degree in nursing from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1985. She earned her post-master’s degree in nursing in 1993 from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed flight nursing at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio in 1996. CAPT Crawford was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Navy Nurse Corps in 1990. She served as a triage and flight nurse during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Paula is currently the director of advanced practice professional education and a veteran affairs liaison officer, in addition to her role with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 717-544-2935.