RARITAN TWP., NJ – For the second year in a row, the alumni participants of Hunterdon Healthcare’s Ornish program gathered for an evening picnic to celebrate their success. 

This year, the group held a contest to make the best chili using the Ornish nutrition guidelines, which includes a plant-based diet. The winner of the contest was Dwayne Kugler.

But everyone in attendance was a winner. That’s because the program developed by Dr. Dean Ornish has shown that the progression of coronary artery disease and other chronic conditions can be treated  – and even reversed – through lifestyle changes.

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Hunterdon County.

The Ornish program addresses the root causes of heart disease rather than just its symptoms, and offers participants what can be a more appealing option than surgery: lifestyle as treatment. The Ornish Reversal Program is based on more than three decades of research.

Hunterdon Medical Center’s corporate parent Hunterdon Healthcare offers patients the unique, non-invasive approach to reverse cardiac disease. It’s called the Ornish Reversal Program, or Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. 

Ornish Reversal Program participants attend 18 four-hour group sessions for a total of 72 hours. Each session can accommodate approximately 10-12 individuals who focus on improvement in four key areas: exercise, stress management, nutrition and group support.

The program is facilitated by a dedicated seven-person team that includes a medical director, program director, nurse case manager, clinical exercise physiologist and experts in stress management, behavioral health, fitness and nutrition. These experts help participants to take control of their treatment by providing them with the knowledge, training and community resources to sustain a healthier lifestyle.

Many participants maintain contact with their group and continue to be a part of the Ornish community after the program ends.

“Participants embrace the program because they have more energy, less stress, more emotional support, much less pain, and greater physical endurance – in short, they feel empowered to regain control of their lives,” says Dr. Jonathan Horiuchi, Medical Director of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at HMC, and a Cardiologist with Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates.

Hunterdon Healthcare is currently enrolling qualified participants in the program, which is  offered at HMC’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center.

To determine whether you or someone you love may be eligible for the Ornish Reversal Program, call 908-788-6371. For more information on the program, visit www.hunterdonhealthcare.org.