Dr. Ornish FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the Dr.Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease™ (Ornish Reversal Program):

1.  How does the Ornish Reversal Program work?

The Ornish Reversal Program addresses the lifestyle factors, or behaviors, that are proven risk factors for developing or exacerbating heart disease. This outpatient experiential program, is a non-invasive treatment option that combines four program elements to slow, stop and even reverse the progression of coronary artery disease. The objectives of the program are:

  • Reduction of blockages in heart arteries
  • Improvement in blood flow through the heart
  • Dramatic decreases in chest pain (angina)
  • Significant cardiac risk factor improvements (e.g., reduction in cholesterol levels, weight, BMI, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose)
  • Improvement in exercise capacity, sense of well-being, and satisfaction with life

2.  Is the Ornish Reversal Program a “fad” or is it based on scientific fact?

The Ornish Reversal Program is the result of more than 35 years of research and the first scientifically proven program to reverse heart disease. The results of Dr. Ornish's studies have been reported in over 25 peer reviewed medical publications, including the Lancet and the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), among others. Dr. Ornish is among the best known researchers of heart disease in the United States and is the author of the best-selling books: Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less; Love and Survival, and The Spectrum.

The program produces remarkable results. Peer reviewed published research on the Ornish Program demonstrated that nearly 80 percent of participants adhering to, and completing the program were able to safely avoid bypasses or angioplasties without increased risk of future cardiac events. Many participants are able to reduce their medications for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Most people also say that they "just simply feel better." For more information on the research behind the program, visit www.OrnishResearch.com.

3. Is there any risk for participants?

The elements of the Ornish Reversal Program – a low-fat, whole food, plant-based nutrition plan, moderate exercise, relaxation to reduce stress and social support – are rooted in common sense.  When the program guidelines are followed, there are no significant health risks to participants. To ensure each participant is getting the medical attention he/she needs throughout the program, the program is delivered using a certified and trained team of health care experts across all four focus areas of the program; a medical director provides required oversight for the program and a nurse case manager serves as the care coordinator.

4. What are physicians and specialists saying about the Ornish Reversal Program?  Do they support the program?

As with any treatment, the Ornish Reversal Program is bound to have its skeptics. Invariably, physicians who recommend patients to the program come away convinced of its exceptional value and impressed by the results. The Ornish Reversal Program offers tremendous benefits to patients – with NO risk. The doctor gains the support of an Ornish Reversal Program team that includes:

  • Registered dietician
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Registered nurse case managers
  • Stress management specialist
  • Behavioral health clinician
  • Program director
  • Medical director

Also, participants remain under the care of their physician, who will receive regular progress reports throughout the program.

5. How does someone qualify and/or enroll in the program?

Depending on your medical history, you may be covered through Medicare, Highmark WV, PEIA or other insurance plans. Individuals interested in enrolling in the program and with specific individual coverage questions should call the CAMC team at (304) 388-9411.

For more information, call (304) 388-9411