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 over 15 years medical experience and has been employed with SMS since 2007. 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).

 

Kelly Goodyear

Insurance Coordinator

Kelly has over 10 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).

 

Allison Gordon

Registered Medical Assistant

Allison is originally from Los Angeles CA and moved to South MS in 2006. She graduated from Blue Cliff College with honors. Allison joined South MS Surgeons in 2015 after completing her medical assistant program. She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

 

Jamie Rea

Bariatric Intake Coordinator

Jamie is originally from Gonzales, LA and moved to South MS in 2005. She began working in the health field industry in 2014 and has a variety of experience including insurance verification, billing, and receptionist. Jamie joined South MS Surgeons in 2018. Jamie holds a Bachelors’ degree in Business Administration. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

 

Kathy Bourgeois

Insurance Coordinator

Kathy is from Covington LA and moved to South MS in 2017 when she joined South MS Surgeons. Kathy has extensive healthcare experience having been in the industry since 2002. She has experience in insurance verification, scheduling, receptionist and working as a patient advocate in Bariatrics. Kathy is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

    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
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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