Our Bariatric Team

Alae Zarif, MD, F.A.C.S.
Medical Director of Surgical Services, Alae Zarif, MD, performs the gastric banding and gastric sleeve procedures for Atlantic General Bariatric Center, joined Atlantic General’s medical staff in April 2006. He has been in practice since 1996 when he finished his residency at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut, a Yale-affiliated surgical training program. Dr. Zarif is certified by the American Board of Surgery and performs multiple advanced laparoscopic procedures and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Xin Zhong, MD
Dr. Xin Zhong joins Atlantic General Surgical Associates from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY, where she completed a minimally invasive surgery fellowship in robotic and bariatric procedures. Dr. Zhong completed her residency in general surgery at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA, and earned her medical degree at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA.

Angela Simmons, CRNP, Bariatric Coordinator
Angela Simmons, CRNP is a seasoned nurse of 15 years. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Mount Saint Mary's College in 1998, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Salisbury University in 2002 & eventually her Master's degree in Nursing in 2009. She is credentialed as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Angela has worked with surgical patients for the past 6 years & is a certified bariatric nurse.

Amy Gehrig, RD, LDN
Amy Gehrig, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian operating a professional practice since 2000. She provides training, expertise and education in the food and nutrition fields. Amy received her BS degree in nutrition and completed a comprehensive dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Medical System. She worked as a clinical dietician at John Hopkins Hospital and started a private practice, Healthy Habits in Nutrition, shortly after.
Amy provides individual and group counseling to help clients achieve healthy eating habits for optimal health. Amy is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group. As a professional dietitian, Amy hopes that she can coach individuals to make healthy food choices, learn how to become ‘mindful eaters’ and achieve successful weight loss.

Amanda Buckley, RD, LDN
Amanda Buckley, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietician providing clinical counseling, training, and education in food and nutrition. Amanda completed nutrition coursework and research at James Madison University, University of London, Birbeck, and University of Ghana, Legon, completing a BS in Nutrition at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, culminating in a comprehensive dietetic internship through Iowa State University. She currently works as Clinical Nutrition Services Coordinator for inpatient and outpatient services at Atlantic General, as well as lending expertise to Bariatric Services. Amanda is a native of the Eastern Shore.

Jennifer Kukel
Jennifer Kukel has been an advocate for healthy living for the last ten years. She successfully maintains her 65 pound weight loss with her children as her main motivation. Setting a healthy example for her family through food and exercise is her first priority. After losing her dad to obesity and cancer, she has experienced first-hand the painful effects of unhealthy living. Her passion is working with people to get their weight under their control and to maintain their hard work in an attainable lifestyle. She strives to educate and support others as they begin their journey on the road to good health, because everyone's path is different. Jen specializes in large weight losses, children's fitness training, aerobic training, nutrition counseling and she is also a running coach. She is committed to providing her clients the care and support needed for their individual fitness/weight loss journey.