Meet The Staff

Dr. William Avara and Dr. Jason Payne and our dedicated and caring team are proud to provide patients with compassionate, thorough, and personalized care. Our staff is trained to make sure that patients are as well-informed and comfortable as possible while receiving treatment.

Because the team members at our weight loss surgery center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi are so friendly and well-qualified, we are able not only to perform operations, but seek to help our patients achieve long-lasting results as well.

 

Lorraine Rauls, MSN, FNP-BC

Program Director, Family Nurse Practitioner

Lorraine attended University of South Alabama from 2006 – 2008 and received a Master’s in Nursing. She is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner certified through American Nurses Credentialing Center. She has over 30 years nursing experience. Prior to joining SMSWLC in January 2015 she worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner for 6 years providing care to patients in our local community. She is a member of Mississippi Nurses Association and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. She was formerly a Certified Nephrology Nurse and also held national certification in Healthcare Compliance. Lorraine assists Dr. Avara and Dr. Payne in providing pre and post-operative care to patients. Lorraine is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and also provides non-surgical care to patients within SMSWLC program.

 

Gabbie Lynd, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Gabbie completed her License Practical Nursing (LPN) degree from MS Gulf Coast Community College in 2009. She has experience in the fields of cardiology and general surgery.

She has been employed with SMS since 2013 and serves as Dr. Avara’s bariatric office nurse. Gabbie is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

 

 

Katrina Packer

Medical Assistant

Katrina has 15 years medical experience and has been employed with SMS since 007. She has served in the capacity of a medical assistant taking care of multi-faceted patients. She now serves as the assistant to Dr Payne in both general surgery and bariatrics.

She is well-versed in the knowledge of general surgery and bariatrics and is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

 

Abby Sniffen

Registered Dietitian

Abby Sniffen is a licensed outpatient dietitian at South Mississippi Surgical Weight Loss Center and has served as a clinical dietitian at Ocean Springs Hospital. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Community Nutrition from Iowa State University. She is passionate about weight management and worked with the VA’s MOVE program in Washington State before joining the South Mississippi Surgical Weight Loss team. Abby is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and holds a Certificate in Adult Weight Management and is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

 

Crystal Watkins

Bariatric Patient Coordinator

Crystal has 3 years’ experience in the medical field. She has experience as a receptionist, general manager and in sales as well as providing healthcare to her own family members who were chronically ill. She has completed training in leadership and management development.

Crystal joined South MS Surgical Weight Loss in 2015 and assists patients in the role of Patient Coordinator. Crystal is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

 

Yolanda Carter

Insurance Coordinator

Yolanda has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry. She started her healthcare career as a Medical Assistant and has had numerous roles within the health care industry. She obtained her B.A. in Healthcare Administration with a minor in Human Resource Management at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. She has extensive background in insurance verification and precertification. Yolanda joined SMSWLC as an insurance coordinator in 2015. Yolanda brings a great deal of knowledge to the bariatric team in ensuring that patients meet all necessary insurance criteria. Yolanda is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

 

Kelly Goodyear

Insurance Coordinator

Kelly has ten years’ experience in the healthcare industry. She is well versed in insurance and precertification processes. She has prior experience in working with pain management and surgical patients prior to joining SMSWLC in 2015.

Kelly brings experience to the bariatric team in helping patients to understand their insurance criteria. Kelly is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

 

Vicki Peno

Bariatric Clinical Reviewer

Vicki has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry.  She attended MS Gulf Coast College and holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science/Radiologic Technology.  She has experience in patient registration, medical imaging and medical record auditing. Vicki performs chart reviews, follows cases and enters patient data into the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. Vicki is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Contact Our Office to Learn More about Our Weight Loss Surgery Center

To meet our bariatric team in person, please contact us or register for a free information session.

In-Person & Online Seminar
Weight loss surgery can improve and allow for a better quality of life.As you loose excess weight.You will have more energy and feel proud of the way you look..Know More
Success Stories
Check out some of our Patient Success Stories. Know More
Payment Options
Whether you have insurance coverage, are paying cash, or are considering financing your surgery costs, we have options available for everyone. Know More