New Jersey Bariatric Center
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Meet Our Team

New Jersey Bariatric Center's team of four fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons, physician assistants, registered dietitians, psychologists and support staff expertly guide you through your weight loss journey. Our surgeons have performed thousands of surgeries but you are never just a number to us. Each patient is treated as an individual. Through this approach we’ve achieved a complication rate that is lower than the national average and zero mortalities.
New Jersey Bariatric Center’s® team of four bariatric fellowship-trained surgeons, physician assistants, registered dietitians, counselors and support staff expertly guide you through your weight loss journey. Through our multidisciplinary approach we’ve achieved a complication rate that is lower than the national average, and zero mortalities.
Surgical Team
New Jersey Bariatric Center® surgeons are board certified in General Surgery with fellowship training in Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. Led by founder Dr. Ajay Goyal, they have successfully performed thousands of surgical weight loss procedures during the past 17 years with zero mortalities and complication rates that are lower than the national average for gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and LAP-BAND®.
Registered Dietitians
The bariatric-focused registered dietitians at New Jersey Bariatric Center® play a vital role in your weight loss journey. Both medical and surgical weight loss patients meet with a registered dietitian at their first appointment and they are available to help you throughout your weight loss journey and beyond. They will set dietary goals and be there for follow-up before and after surgery. After weight loss goals are reached, bariatric dietitians offer support and guidance to keep patients on the path of good health.
Dana Babeu, RD
Registered Dietitian
Registered dietitian Dana Babeu provides nutrition counseling on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Springfield location. She has experience working with patients on issues related to weight management, food allergies and sensitivities, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disordered eating and metabolic syndrome. Dana’s passion is partnering with patients to create holistic, goal-oriented, individualized plans to improve health and achieve a better quality of life. Dana graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Montclair State University and completed a dietetic internship with ARAMARK. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the New Jersey Dietetic Association and Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. When she’s not at work, Dana can be found playing at the park with her daughter, cooking or practicing her headstands.
Karen Kelly, RD
Registered Dietitian
Registered dietitian Karen Kelly is available for nutrition counseling every Tuesday in our Springfield and Hoboken location. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and the College of Saint Elizabeth where she received her registered dietitian degree. Karen found her true calling by helping people make better nutrition choices to improve their health. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association, the New Jersey Dietetic Association, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Nutrition in Complementary Care as well as Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition.
Clarissa Padua, RD
Registered Dietitian
Clarissa is a registered dietitian who provides nutritional counseling for bariatric and medical weight loss patients. She has extensive experience in fitness and health education and is a certified personal trainer and specialist in fitness nutrition with certifications from ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association). Clarissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Montclair State University where she also completed her dietetic internship. She is consistently motivated to assist others to achieve their goals to lead a healthier lifestyle. When she’s not at work, you can find Clarissa in the gym, DJing at events, recording mixtapes, or spending time with family and friends. She is also a former Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts fighter in which she has fought and trained both internationally and in the states.
Licensed Professional Counselor
The physical change that accompanies bariatric surgery is just one part of a successful approach to surgical weight loss. Patients who see the best results go through a mental change as well. Bariatric surgery patients learn to develop a whole new relationship with food and find ways to overcome the obstacles that have blocked past attempts at weight loss.

New Jersey Bariatric Center® understands this and provides a licensed professional counselor who is trained in the treatment of the bariatric patient. At any time in the pre- and post-surgery process, patients are encouraged to use this valuable resource to help them along their weight loss journey.
Patient Navigators
At New Jersey Bariatric Center©, we recognize how overwhelming it can feel when you begin the surgical weight loss process. Every patient is teamed with an experienced patient navigator who understands the ins and outs of the bariatric surgery process – both the clinical and the insurance aspects. Navigators provide individualized support throughout the pre-surgical process, coordinating the efforts of our interdisciplinary team to ensure that all clinical and insurance requirements are met.. They are available to answer questions and provide support ensuring your path to surgery is as smooth as possible.
Debbie Zepeda
Patient Navigator
Debbie Zepeda came to New Jersey Bariatric Center® in 2014 as a medical receptionist. Her keen attention to detail, personable manner and patient-care skills led to her current position as a patient navigator. She finds satisfaction in helping patients through their weight loss journey.
Catherine Jiron
Patient Navigator
Catherine joined the New Jersey Bariatric Center® as a medical assistant in 2016. She quickly advanced to the position of patient navigator. She is detail-oriented, personable and dedicated to her work. She enjoys being a part of each and every patient’s weight loss success.
Patricia Abrantes
Patient Navigator
Patricia started with New Jersey Bariatric Center in 2019 as a patient service representative. Her desire to provide excellent patient care led to her current position as Patient Navigator. She is dedicated to helping every patient be successful in their journey, and finds joy in seeing patients achieve their goals.
Patient Engagement
Studies show that patients who are actively involved in their own healthcare tend to become healthier.

At New Jersey Bariatric Center we provide resources to engage patients while on their weight loss journey. From staff that ensure our patient needs are met to live webinars, private community groups, support groups, exercise, yoga classes and bariatric updates are some of the ways our engagement team supports patients.
Issa Burton
Director of Marketing
In addition to digital marketing, Issa oversees the traditional marketing initiatives of our practice. Her experience in the healthcare and technology space lends itself to developing branding, advertising, public relations, social media and physician outreach efforts. Issa has a deep knowledge in creating marketing programs that connect with the needs of potential patients. She joined the staff of New Jersey Bariatric Center® in 2019 after working in health tech using virtual reality to educate patients on diabetes and hypertension – 2 diseases that are prevalent in the bariatric community. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialty in Marketing. In her spare time, Issa enjoys hosting events with family and friends and navigating endless sporting activities with her husband and children.
Kristen Williams
Senior Marketing Communications Associate
Kristen Williams joined the marketing team at New Jersey Bariatric Center® in 2019. She is responsible for coordinating, creating and implementing day-to-day marketing and communication activities including blogs, patient seminars, webinars, social media and more. Kristen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition with minors in Public Health and Psychology from Montclair State University. Her skillset helps to develop communication content that is essential to bariatric patients. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys taking hot yoga classes and cooking healthy foods.
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