Sentara Princess Anne Hospital has launched Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease®.

Virginia's first Ornish Reversal Program launched

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Sentara Princess Anne Hospital has launched Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease®. The nine-week program focuses on lifestyle improvements. Sentara Princess Anne Hospital is the first site in Virginia to offer the program.

“We felt there was more we could do for our cardiac patients to achieve our Sentara mission to improve health every day,” said Dr. Gunadhar Panigrahi, a cardiologist with Sentara Cardiology Specialists. “The Ornish Reversal Program, with its emphasis on exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness and group support, is an ideal way for patients to be proactive.”

The program is based on more than three decades of research showing that lifestyle changes can treat and reverse the progression of coronary artery disease and other chronic conditions.

Groups of eight to 15 participants meet twice a week at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital for four hours each meeting. A team of seven healthcare professionals, including a medical director, program director, nurse case manager and experts in stress management, behavioral health, fitness and nutrition, will oversee and lead the patients’ classes. The classes address the causes of heart disease rather than its symptoms.

“My vision has always been to transform lives for the better by making simple lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “Participants in this program feel like they get their life back; They have more energy, less stress, more emotional support and greater physical endurance.”

Studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of participants are continuing the healthy habits they learned one year later. Cardiac PET scans revealed that 99 percent of studied participants stopped or reversed their heart disease and experienced a 300 percent improvement in blood flow to the heart. By sticking with the program, participants may reduce their risk of a heart attack, lower their need for medication and avoid serious interventions such as bypass surgery.

New classes will start regularly at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. Patients and medical professionals can call 1-877-888-3091 or visit for more information.

The Ornish Reversal Program is covered by Medicare and many commercial insurers for qualified and eligible members.