Our Team Is Here To Help

The Beginning

In 2004, Dr. Simonds started Physician Assisted Weight Loss in Hickory, NC. At the time, Dr. Simonds recognized the rapidly advancing trend of obesity and its many associated negative health conditions present in himself, his friends, his associates, and in society at large.

This gave birth to Dr. Simonds’ practice of obesity medicine. He felt that patients needed options to confront this epidemic and felt that the medical community was not providing those options to patients on a large enough scale.

The Journey

This journey led Dr. Simonds out of the practice of Emergency Medicine and into the full time practice of Obesity Medicine. In 2007 he opened the Durham location of Dr. Simonds Weight Loss, and in 2011 he opened a location in Raleigh also.

The name of the practice has undergone two changes and now is Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss. The staff now includes multiple providers and administrative personnel.

Dr. Simonds’ core convictions about the need to prevent, treat, and reverse obesity has led him to board certification by the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He is fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association, and serves as a board trustee for this national organization of obesity medicine clinicians. The entire clinical staff of the practice participates in the most advanced obesity medicine training and education.

Looking Forward

This journey into the practice of obesity medicine continues. With three office locations, in over fourteen years Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss has treated more than 25,000 patients. Dr. Simonds Metabolics & Weight Loss continues to confront this epidemic of obesity and its negative health consequences.

The mission remains unchanged – the prevention, treatment, and reversal of the disease of obesity using nutritional therapies, behavioral change, physical activity, and medications, like the appetite suppressant phentermine.

Ready for Change?

Trust us to achieve all that's possible.

Our Team

Dr. Wickham Simonds


Dr. Simonds is the founder of Dr. Simonds Weight Loss and currently practices Obesity Medicine with offices in Durham and Raleigh. Dr. Simonds is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He was Chief Resident during his residency in Emergency Medicine at Penn State University/York Hospital. Dr. Simonds received his MD from East Carolina University after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Biology from Campbell University. He is a member of the Obesity Medicine Association and The Obesity Society.

He was raised in Durham, N.C. and graduated high school from Cresset Christian Academy in Durham. He has served his country in the U.S. Army with duty stations in Korea, Louisiana, and Iraq. The latter involved deployments in (1)1990 and 1991 for Operation Desert Shield and Storm, (2) 2003 to Southern Iraq in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and (3) 2005 to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dr. Simonds is married to his wife Anna who is a Registered Nurse. They have four children and two grandchildren. He is active in church and community activities. His hobbies are the study of American history and the Constitution, playing golf, and competitive shooting and firearms.


Alejandra Dorantes

Office Manager


Michelle A. Kennedy

Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN, NP-C, FOMA

Michelle is a Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Dr. Simonds Weight Loss in May, 2012. She is nationally certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. As a nationally certified Nurse Practitioner, Michelle can assess, diagnose, and treat acute and chronic illnesses, write prescriptions, administer and dispense medications, order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests, and consult with and refer to fellow healthcare providers.

Born and raised in Newark, Delaware, Michelle graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Delaware in 2008. Caring for hospitalized patients on a medical/surgical hospital unit suffering from health complications due to preventable diseases helped her realize that contributing to the prevention of these diseases in an outpatient setting was where she felt she could have the most impact. She decided that the advanced education and clinical experience required to become a Nurse Practitioner would allow her to provide more comprehensive care to patients in an outpatient setting where she could focus on disease prevention and health management.

She completed her Family Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Delaware and graduated with her Master’s Degree in Nursing in January 2012. She is a member of the Obesity Medicine Association, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the North Carolina Nurses Association. In September, 2017, she became a Fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association, one of the highest honors reserved for those who demonstrate dedication and commitment to the clinical treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases.


Nora Brooks

Registered Nurse

Nora is a Registered Nurse who joined Dr. Simonds Metabolics and Weight Loss in May of 2018. She grew up in the Durham/Chapel Hill area and currently lives in Pittsboro. Nora worked as a labor & delivery nurse before deciding to take some time off to stay with her children. Now that her children are grown, she wanted to work in an area of health care where she felt like she could be an encouragement to people. Through the changes in life, Nora has struggled to lose weight and has had to change her eating habits. Her desire is to make sure our patients know that we are on this journey together. She likes to convey this message to everyone: “Stop beating yourself up; you’re a work in progress!” When she has free time, she enjoys hanging out at the lake with her family.


Allison Ernst

Family Nurse Practitioner and a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, DNP, FNP-BC

Allison Ernst has worked with Dr. Simonds to promote wellness in our patients since 2010. She received her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and returned to complete her master’s degree with dual certifications as a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. In 2019 she earned a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from East Carolina University.

With a particular interest in insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and hormone induced weight gain, Allison focuses on finding achievable lifestyle solutions to improve your health. She encourages a holistic approach to losing weight and feeling better overall.

In her free time Allison enjoys cooking, audio book-ing, and chasing after her two children with her husband Jonathan.


Mary Sheldon Boney

Physician’s Assistant, MHS, PA-C

“Mary Sheldon” Boney is a board certified Physician’s Assistant who joined the Dr. Simonds Weight Loss team in 2014. She is nationally certified by the NCCPA and is licensed by the NC board of medicine. She is a Florida transplant and moved to North Carolina in 2011 to attend graduate school at Duke University School of Medicine. She fell in love with North Carolina and after completing her graduate school education August 2013 she decided to make”the triangle” her home.

She grew up in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and has always had a desire to pursue a career in medicine. She graduated Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Stetson University in Deland, FL and went on to work in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. She holds a Master’s of Health Sciences from Duke University in addition to her certificate of completion from their Physician’s Assistant program.

She has a particular love for pediatric patients and having battled weight loss for the majority of her life also has a passion for working with patients who are fighting their own weight loss battles.

“Mary Sheldon” (yes that’s her whole first name) now lives in Durham and enjoys running and going to Zumba. While she loves the Blue Devils, her #1 team will always be the Florida Gators. She enjoys watching both college football and college basketball.


Hannah Harvey


Hannah earned her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Meredith College and completed graduate school at East Carolina University in 1998. She joined Dr. Simonds Weight Loss in 2012 and enjoys the diversity of people that she partners with on their journey to improved health.

Hannah first got her “healthcare toes” wet at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro and comes to us after tenures with the Durham County Health Department, Moses Cone Health System, and most recently, Duke University School of Medicine. The thread that weaves these experiences together is her desire to listen and tailor her expertise to each individual’s health needs and desire for change.

Hannah enjoys the cultural and agricultural flavors of NC, and tries to support as many local farmers, restaurants, and food trucks as her budget allows! Her free time is spent staying active and engaged with her spouse, 2 children, 2 cats, dog, hamster, and an ever-fluctuating number of fish!


Christina Michael

Physician’s Assistant, PA-C

Christina is a Physician Assistant who joined Dr. Simonds Weight Loss in December of 2014. She grew up in Raleigh and went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. After working as a nursing assistant and then in research she missed patient care so returned to school at East Carolina University where she received her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies in 2010. She started as a PA in Family Medicine then joined Dr. Simonds practice at the end of 2014 after moving back to Raleigh. Since joining the practice she has enjoyed using her knowledge and experience gained through primary care to help improve or prevent so many of the diseases associated with obesity she had previously been diagnosing and treating. She is certified through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Since getting married in 2015 Christina and her husband live in Raleigh and enjoy trying new restaurants and finding new activities and places to explore in the Triangle. In her free time she enjoys cooking, doing craft projects, cheering on the Tarheels, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. She loves anything outdoors from spending time at the beach to hiking in the mountains. On a pretty day, she also enjoys flying with her husband- as long as there isn’t too much turbulence in the air!


Courtney Woodside

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, MPH, RD, LDN

Courtney is a registered dietitian nutritionist who embraces her southern roots. She is originally from Pinehurst, NC, and completed her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Appalachian State University in 2011. She became certified as a Health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine before pursuing her graduate degree. She has since received her Masters in Public Health Nutrition from UNC Chapel Hill at the end of 2013 and is now credentialed as a registered dietitian.

Being overweight throughout her childhood, teen, and early adult life, Courtney has firsthand experience in the area of weight loss and maintenance. She is passionate about optimizing diet quality and other lifestyle factors to mediate weight loss, improve energy and sleep, and minimize the risk of other weight related health conditions. Her nutritional focus follows a combination of Paleo/Primal and low-carb principles.

During her free time, Courtney enjoys immersing herself in the local food scene, with trips to the farmer’s market, trying new local restaurants, and playing with her backyard chickens. She and her fiancé like to stay active with working out and walking trails with their dog Brayde.

Obesity Medicine Technicians


Annie Swigart

Obesity Medicine Technician

Annie joined Dr. Simonds’ team in May 2018. She is a Durham native and completed her undergraduate degree in Applied Nutrition Science at North Carolina State University. She is currently working on completing a Masters Degree in Nutrition at Meredith College. Prior to working at Dr. Simonds office, Annie worked at UNC Rex Hospital on the heart and vascular floor in the Food and Nutrition Services department. During her time at Rex, she realized the drastic impacts of obesity on overall health. Annie loves having the opportunity to help patients set and achieve individualized health goals through improved nutrition.

When she’s not at work or in class, Annie enjoys reading, cheering on the Wolfpack, and spending time at the lake with her husband and family.


Lovie Watson

Obesity Medicine Technician, Front Office

Office Staff


Karen Locklear

Front office

Tina Sessoms

Front Office

Marsha Watkins

Front Office

Bethany West

Front Office


Jack Simonds

Jack Simonds

Business Consultant
Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips


Have you tried Ketogenics?

There are tons of benefits.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that works by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbs.

Increased mental alertness, decreased inflammation, reduced symptoms of mood disorders and relief from persistent feelings of hunger or bloating from excess carbs are possible benefits of this way of eating.

Dr. Simonds, himself practices a keto lifestyle and has seen real results. He shares his keto journey as The Casual Keto Doctor on social media and hosts a monthly-ish podcast. The Casual Keto Doctor is a fun opportunity for him to share great curated keto recipes, lifestyle tips, guides and more featuring interviews with great keto brands, leaders and ambassadors.

The Casual Keto Doctor

Want to know more about keto?

Check out the latest Casual Keto Doctor Podcast

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