MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Healthcare will host an open house for the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 near the cafeteria on the fourth floor of Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Free health screenings including blood pressure, glucose and body composition to determine ideal body weight will be offered prior to the open house at 4 p.m. Ornish friendly appetizers will be served. 

The program has enabled thousands of people to lower their risk of heart attack and avoid the need for procedures like angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery. Those who attend will learn more about how this unique program encompassing nutrition, stress management, moderate aerobic exercise and group support can help them and their loved ones. 

“This lifestyle modification program enables participants to slow, stop and reverse many of the symptoms of coronary artery disease,” Dave Harshbarger, program director, said. “Many people are able to avoid invasive procedures, such as bypass surgery and angioplasty, and stave off first or repeat heart attacks or strokes.”

The Ornish Program combines a low-fat vegetarian diet, moderate aerobic exercise, stress management and social support to reduce chest pain (angina), blockages in coronary arteries and serum cholesterol levels. The program’s components help improve blood flow through the heart muscle, exercise capacity and the sense of well-being and satisfaction with life.

“The Ornish Program is a change in diet, attitude and lifestyle. People learn how to eat properly and adopt healthy behaviors to stop sabotaging themselves. They get back in control and start doing activities that many of them thought were lost forever,” Harshbarger said. “But the best news is that even for people with documented heart disease, it’s not too late.”

Candidates for the program include:
•    People who are contemplating bypass surgery or angioplasty, but seeking an alternative that may reduce the need for these procedures.
•    People who have previously experienced one or more heart procedures and want to minimize the chances of repeating them.
•    People diagnosed with coronary artery disease (angina or past heart attacks).
•    People with significant risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels and a strong family history.

“All of our participants have lost weight and dropped overall body fat,” Harshbarger said. “Their cholesterol levels have declined and their perceived stress has decreased dramatically.”

For more information and to RSVP for the open house, call 304-293-2520. Those insured by PEIA and Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans may qualify for coverage.

For more information on the Dean Ornish program at WVU see


For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
dh/asj: 11-03-10