About the UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program | Department of Internal Medicine | UC Davis Health

About the Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program

Amparo C. Villablanca, M.D.

The UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program offers state-of-the-art care, education and studies focused on women and heart health. Directed by Amparo C. Villablanca, professor of cardiovascular medicine, the program is staffed by a comprehensive team of physicians and nurses at UC Davis Medical Center. The clinic's health care team employs a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes prevention and attention to the heart-health issues that are unique to women.

Clinic Staff and Physicians

A major strength of the Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program is the dedication and commitment of its staff to improving women's health. The program is composed primarily of female faculty, academic physicians and experienced nurse specialists. Clinical expertise among the program's health-care providers is extensive and encompasses cardiovascular disease, community medicine, international health, geriatrics, ethics, psychiatry, preventive and emergency medicine, gynecology, general internal medicine and primary care.

The Program

The cornerstone of the program is the Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic, which provides dedicated care for women who are at risk for or who have heart disease. The clinic's health care team employs a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes prevention and attention to the heart-health issues that are unique to women.

The UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine program and clinic were established in 1994 as the first dedicated women's heart program in the country and to address the lack of awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women.

The pioneering program has been singled out for distinction by California’s governor and by multiple awards for its unique, cutting edge and integrated approach to heart care for women. The program also provides outreach to a number of community organizations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Health Services.

Cardiovascular Disease: The Silent Enemy

Although breast cancer has been widely perceived as a woman's most feared health enemy, more women in the U.S. die of heart disease than of all cancers combined. Heart disease in women is largely under-recognized; typically, a woman is older than a man when she exhibits symptoms, which are often more subtle, making detection and diagnosis difficult. As a result, cardiovascular disease in women is frequently underdiagnosed and undertreated, and many women fail to receive interventions that could save their lives.

The key to reversing this trend lies in preventing the risk factors that contribute to heart disease — and increasing awareness of new therapies which can lower the incidence of the disease.

The UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program strives to enhance awareness of the importance of women's heart health among patients, healthcare providers and policymakers through a variety of educational tools, seminars, classes and events. Information is available on nutrition, hormone replacement therapy, hypertension, risk factors, exercise, medications, osteoporosis prevention and more. Individual teaching sessions, written materials, brochures and educational videos are also available.


The UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program is a nationally recognized model for women's heart care and the first program of its kind in the nation. The research expertise of the program faculty ranges from prestigious, large-scale national clinical trials to laboratory studies of the cellular and molecular foundations of heart disease in women.

UC Davis was one of the clinical centers in the country participating in the Women's Health Initiative study. Other research projects have investigated the role of sex steroid hormones on the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, antioxidants and estrogen in cholesterol uptake, soy estrogens in lowering cholesterol, hormone replacement therapy in platelet function and hormonal regulation of vascular genes.