Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes Can be Reduced and Managed

Aug. 9, 2010
URMC, local wellness support group highlight local success stories

In an effort to combat the current epidemics of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Healthy Living Center at the Center for Community Health, and Heartbeats for Life, a wellness support group based on the work of Dean Ornish, M.D., invite the Rochester area community to attend a special event titled “Healthy Lifestyle Changes: Three Dynamic Stories.”

This moderated panel discussion will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at the Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave. Admission and parking are free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Sign language interpreters will be available. For information about the event, please call the Healthy Living Center at (585) 530-2050.

“With resources, encouragement and ongoing support, individuals can learn how to gain motivation, overcome obstacles and stay on the road to healthy living,” said Geoffrey C. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Healthy Living Center and professor in the departments of Medicine, Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Williams is a health psychologist who is currently conducting research on health-related motivation, tobacco dependence treatment and other difficult-to-change health behaviors.

The panel discussion, moderated by Williams, will include three individuals who are using diet, exercise, meditation and stress reduction to successfully reduce and manage cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.

Robert F. Klein, M.D., a Rochester resident and founder of Heartbeats for Life, will discuss his history of cardiovascular disease, his adoption of the comprehensive Ornish lifestyle program, and the development of a community support group for people interested in lifestyle change.Brighton resident Peggy Weston Byrd is a retired teacher who, when faced with a family history of heart disease, took charge of her own health destiny by losing 80 pounds and successfully keeping it off. Webster resident Dan Ehmannis a retired computer programmer who conquered diabetes after losing weight and making positive, long-lasting changes to his lifestyle.

The Healthy Living Center offers programs for those who want to make healthy lifestyle changes. Through individual counseling and group support, the center can help an individual prevent diabetes, enhance physical activity, improve diet and nutrition, eliminate exposure to tobacco, increase medication adherence and reduce stress.

Heartbeats for Life is a wellness support group dedicated to reversing, reducing and preventing heart disease, related cardiovascular diseases, and risk factors such as diabetes and obesity. It is based on the work of Dean Ornish, M.D., whose lifestyle-driven approach to wellness includes yoga, meditation and a low-fat vegetarian diet.

For information about the Healthy Living Center and its programs, please call (585) 530-2050 or For information about Heartbeats for Life, call (585) 234-7076 or