Weight Loss Specialists

Dr. David A. Croland

Dr. David Croland leads the team of weight loss specialists at Learn2Lose. As an Osteopathic Physician who has practiced medicine in the Carolinas since 1992,  Dr. Croland earned his medical degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency training at the E.W. Sparrow Hospital Michigan State University Family Medicine Residency Program. He achieved board certification in Family Medicine through the American Board of Family Medicine in 1992 and is currently board certified by the National Board of Physicians and SurgeonsDr. Croland also achieved board certification through the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

Julie Linder, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Julie Linder, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Julie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2008 and then went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010 at The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. After practicing for 6 years as a registered nurse, she went on to complete her Masters of Science in Nursing at Eastern Kentucky University and became certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Julie brings over a decade of healthcare experience in various settings including long term care, urgent care, and bariatric surgery. Julie and her family relocated to the Charlotte area in 2020, and joined Learn2Lose in 2021

Nikol Timmons, PA-C

Nikol Timmons completed her Physician Assistant degree at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, WV. She graduated in 1991 with BS degree in medical science with a minor in Psychology. Nikol has been a practicing as a PA in Charlotte since 1993. She is licensed in North Carolina and is board certified through the NCCPA. She joined our team of weight loss specialists in December 2018.

Dianna Fafinski

Dianna is the office manager for the Matthews location and has been with Learn2Lose since 2015.  She is a certified phlebotomist and has over a decade of experience in customer service.  Dianna loves working with people and animals! She has also worked as a veterinary technician for over 10 years. Dianna graduated at David W. Butler High school in 2004. She is also a graduate of the Empire Beauty school and got her cosmetology license in 2007. She then did a veterinary technician program through Penn Foster. Dianna’s hobbies include hanging out with her German Shepherds, GeorGina & Gianna. She  also owns her own pet sitting business and focuses on building her clientele. She loves anything outdoors from hiking to working out.

Natalie Penegar, MBA

Natalie is our Ballantyne Office Patient Coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2019 and went on to complete her Masters in Business Administration Degree in 2021 fromWingate University. She joined the Learn2Lose/Learn2Renew  team of weight-loss and aesthetic specialists in 2021. Natalie is a certified phlebotomist and has 5 years experience in long-term care and pediatric home health care. Natalie is a Charlotte Area native and her hobbies include hanging out with her dog Lacey, and spending much of her free time at Lake Wylie.

Audra Franz

Audra is a Charlotte native, the mother of 5 and grandmother of 1. She has a passion for health, wellness & aesthetics. Having struggled with her weight for many years, Audra learned the Learn2Lose Program backward and forward and developed a passion for helping others trying to beat obesity! Audra started her career in banking as an Administrative Assistant at Bank of America in 2001. She then went on to pursue her CNA and phlebotomy certificates and has been part of the team at Learn2Lose since 2013. In her spare time, Audra enjoys outdoor time with her family and loves traveling.

Jessica Best, A.S., CMA (AAMA)

Jessica started her journey in the medical field as a unit receptionist at Novant. It was there that she knew she wanted to pursue a career helping others. She graduated from Central Piedmont Community College receiving her associates degree in Medical Assisting. She is also certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants.

What is a Bariatrician?

A bariatrician is a licensed physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of overweight, obesity and other weight-related conditions. Dr. Croland leads our team of weight loss specialists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, at our Matthews and Charlotte locations.

What Makes a Bariatrician Different from other Physicians?

Any physician can diagnose obesity and prescribe a basic weight loss plan, but a bariatrician has studied the diagnosis and treatment of overweight and obesity extensively. A bariatrician has the skills, techniques and knowledge necessary to tailor a weight management program to the needs of each individual patient. This means that, when working with a bariatrician, patients have an increased chance of success with their programs.

To receive certification as a bariatrician, a physician must be a member of the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) and have received special training in the medical treatment of overweight, obesity and related conditions.

Bariatricians help their patients lose weight and keep it off with a comprehensive program of diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes and, when appropriate, weight loss medications.