University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Preventive Cardiology

Preventive Cardiology

The Preventive Cardiology program is an integral part of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Its mission is to help prevent cardiovascular disease in our city, state, region and throughout the United States. It offers a wide range of clinical, research and educational programs, each of which is focused on reducing death and disability from heart and vascular disease.

The Preventive Cardiology program encompasses the following services: preventive cardiology clinics, which include lipid, hypertension, nutrition and risk reduction clinics; inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation; pulmonary rehabilitation, risk factor and vascular screening programs, exercise stress testing, exercise prescription and counseling, smoking cessation, stress management and several other clinical, research and educational programs. The educational and research programs are nationally recognized in the fight against premature cardiovascular disease through prevention. The highly skilled Preventive Cardiology team includes six physicians, three nurses, over ten clinical exercise physiologists, four dietitians, a psychologist and clinical support staff. Each year, this team of experts assists thousands of patients from Wisconsin and surrounding states.


The University of Wisconsin Preventive Cardiology program was one of the nation's first and remains on the "cutting-edge." Research and educational advances developed by Preventive Cardiology faculty and staff are presented at national meetings and published in peer-reviewed medical journals every year.

The Preventive Cardiology program started with Dr. Bruno Balke's founding of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program in 1966. Peter G. Hanson, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, was the program's first Medical Director. He added the inpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, the first at an academic medical center in the United States, and he significantly expanded the outpatient program. He made important contributions in exercise physiology and preventive cardiology research, including seminal research on the effects of exercise on patients with heart failure, the effects of resistance training on cardiac function and the effects of lipid-lowering therapy on atherosclerosis. The second Medical Director, Patrick McBride, MD, MPH, expanded the program's services to include Preventive Cardiology clinics as well as outreach education and research. His research team received federal funding for innovative projects to educate health care providers and improve heart disease prevention services in primary care practices and hospitals. Dr. McBride is a national expert on the prevention of heart disease and has served on several national guidelines committees. James Stein, MD, is the current Medical Director. He has pioneered innovative screening programs for subclinical atherosclerosis and other forms of vascular disease. Under his leadership, Preventive Cardiology has further expanded the scope and volume of itsoutreach efforts, as well as educational efforts for trainees. He also has served on national guidelines and consensus panels. His federally-funded Atherosclerosis Imaging Research Program program focuses on non-invasive evaluation of atherosclerosis.

Clinical Services

Cardiac, pulmonary, and vascular rehabilitation are comprehensive programs that include rehabilitation, exercise, monitoring, risk factor assessment and management, education and counseling. Ambulatory rehabilitation services are performed at the UW Health Research Park and UW Health East Side Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. Our state-of-the-art facilities include aerobic exercise and weight-training equipment, telemetry monitoring, a track, swimming pool, and other training tools. A wide range of services are available for patients recovering from cardiothoracic surgery, acute coronary syndromes, and percutaneous coronary interventions, as well as for patients with congestive heart failure, or those requiring pulmonary and vascular rehabilitation.

Our programs use a case management approach to focus efforts on helping patients reach their clinical and functional goals. Behavior change strategies are emphasized. We work closely with each patient's doctors, to help ensure the best outcomes and their long-term health. The programs offer support in clinical management, diagnostic testing, and efforts to maximize the patient's physical, psychological and spiritual health. The inpatient program assists hospitalized patients recovering from heart or vascular disease; the outpatient program focuses on optimizing health and reducing risk. Preventive Cardiology staff assists patients in maintaining and continuing long-term recovery. The staff also provides clinical nutrition intervention and exercise prescription. Psychological evaluation is a standard component of the patient assessment. A psychologist and counselor offer individualized and group programs to enhance health outcomes and screen for significant anxiety or depression. A comprehensive stress management program recently became affiliated with the UW Mind-Body Institute.

Clinical services include:

  • preventive cardiology clinics, which include lipid, hypertension, nutrition and risk reduction clinics
  • inpatient and outpatient cardiac, pulmonary, and vascular rehabilitation (phases 1-4)
  • exercise stress testing
  • exercise prescription and counseling
  • risk factor screening in the workplace and community
  • vascular screening in the workplace, community, and by physician referral
  • ambulatory blood pressure evaluation
  • nutritional counseling
  • smoking cessation
  • ndividual or group psychological and stress management services

Our programs receive referrals for evaluating and treating lipid disorders, hypertension and other risk factors, and for evaluating and managing cardiac and vascular symptoms. It offers comprehensive evaluations for families with histories of premature cardiovascular disease and stroke and is closely affiliated with the University of Wisconsin Health and Fitness Center, which offers many programs and classes to assist those who wish to improve their health and fitness.


The program offers high quality educational opportunities for the community, for individuals with heart disease or heart disease risk and for health professionals. It offers specialized educational programs and a number of support groups to assist patients and families learn about, and cope with, heart disease and its treatment. Several UW Preventive Cardiology programs have received regional and national recognition for their innovation and effectiveness. All Cardiovascular Medicine fellows have a dedicated Preventive Cardiology rotation and participate in didactic and case-based educational programs, and there are opportunities for advanced training in clinical Preventive Cardiology and research. Each year family practice and internal medicine residents and students from the School of Medicine and Public Health, exercise physiology and nutritional science departments are taught by their participation in our programs and clinics, and through intensive classroom and seminar instruction. We also offer training in Preventive Cardiology knowledge, systems, and practice management to other medical centers and practices.


Research is a cornerstone of the University of Wisconsin Preventive Cardiology program. It increases the understanding of ways to reduce cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Our staff and faculty regularly present research at national meetings and publish in peer-reviewed medical journals. Major areas of research include: the detection and characterization of subclinical atherosclerosis using ultrasound in individuals with diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, tobacco use, and human immunodeficiency virus, as well as risk factor interventions. Other projects include cardiovascular risk prediction with new devices, coronary computed tomography, medical informatics to improve cardiovascular preventive services and to evaluate cardiovascular outcomes, and type II translational research, so discoveries in our program can be implemented in clinical practice.

Contact Information

James H. Stein, MD
G7/341 CSC, MC 3248
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792
Phone: (608) 265-4188
Fax: (608) 263-0405

Preventive Cardiology Faculty

Karen L. Moncher, MD
James H. Stein, MD
Mary L. Zasadil, MD