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SMH to offer lifestyle medicine pioneer Dr. Dean Ornish's program to "undo" heart disease

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Ornish Reversal ProgramSARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2015) – Starting in January, Sarasota Memorial will begin offering the Ornish Reversal Program, the first proven lifestyle medicine approach to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery. 

Through more than 35 years of peer-reviewed, published research, Dr. Dean Ornish's program has been proven to undo heart disease by making comprehensive lifestyle changes. 

Chippy Nalluri, MD

"This program makes a transformative difference by dealing with the root causes of your heart disease and not just its effects," said Sarasota Cardiologist Chippy Nalluri, MD, Sarasota Memorial's program advisor.  "By changing the way we eat, move, manage stress and engage loving support, we can slow, stop and even reverse the progression of severe coronary heart disease and other chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and early-stage prostate cancer."

The premise of the Ornish Reversal Program is simple: Participants enroll in a 9-week program that helps them adopt a healthy lifestyle based on four key program elements – a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet; 30 minutes of daily exercise; stress management; and social support. 

Participants are not left alone to figure out how they are going to change their lives. Instead, they attend 18 four-hour sessions in which a multi-disciplinary team teaches them exercise techniques; nutritional counseling that includes the Ornish diet and meal preparation; stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation; and even methods of communication through group discussions. Participants experience the program with a small consistent group of 12-15 people who all have committed to the common goal of reversing their heart disease and improving their well-being.

“People adopt this new lifestyle because they feel so much better so quickly,” says Dean Ornish, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of San Francisco, and President and Founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. “They have found the inner sources of health, joy, and well-being.” 

Over the years, participants have reported that they were able to eliminate their chest pain, gain more energy, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure, and lose weight in a sustainable manner due to the program. Participants have also reported that because of the program, they were able to reduce their medication dosages, and sometimes drop medications entirely.

Appointments & Information: The Ornish Reversal Program has been so effective in undoing years of damage to the heart that Medicare and some major insurances now cover the program under a new benefit category—intensive cardiac rehabilitation—making it the first of its kind to receive this level of support. Conditions that may qualify you for the Ornish Reversal Program through your insurance include heart conditions, heart or valve surgery, angioplasty, stent placement and other cardiac conditions. To talk to one of Sarasota Memorial's certified Ornish Program Specialists, call (941) 917-6139. Or visit for more information.  


About Sarasota Memorial
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, an 819-bed regional medical center, is among the largest public health systems in Florida. With about 4,000 staff, over 800 physicians and 1,000 volunteers, it is one of Sarasota County's largest employers. A community hospital founded in 1925 and governed by the 9-member publicly elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, Sarasota Memorial is a not-for-profit health system with specialized expertise in heart, vascular, cancer, and neuroscience care, as well as a network of outpatient centers offering a full continuum of services – from urgent care clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing & rehabilitation.

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