Amparo Villablanca, M.D.
- Professor and Lazda Endowed Chair, Women's Cardiovascular Medicine
- Director and Founder, UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program
- Director, Women in Medicine and Health Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
Philosophy of Care
My philosophy of care is woman-centered and culturally sensitive, with respect for each patient, and a goal of empowering women.
Dr. Villablanca is a preventive cardiologist who focuses on treating heart disease in women with the explicit goals of improving health-care outcomes and reducing gender-based health disparities.
Her areas of expertise include all aspects of heart disease in women with specific interest in ischemic heart disease, chest pain syndromes with nonobstructive coronary artery disease (microvascular), preventive cardiology and the use of evidence-based guidelines for heart disease prevention in women, cardiac risk assessment including cardiac conditions associated with pregnancy (hypertension, diabetes, pre-eclampsia), cholesterol and lipid disorders, autonomic dysfunction including POTS, heart failure and peripartum cardiomyopathy, valvular heart disease, and arrhythmias in women.
Dr. Villablanca is professor of cardiovascular medicine, a physician-scientist with over 25 years experience in academic medicine, and a pioneering clinician in the field of women and heart disease. She is interested in the study of cardiovascular disease and prevention, with a focus on gender and sex differences and conditions that are unique to women or have female predominance. In 1994, she founded and became director of the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program, the first women’s heart program in the nation, that focuses on addressing the under-recognition, under-treatment and under-study of heart disease in women with the primary goal of improving outcomes and enhancing prevention.
Her translational research program focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular determinants of atherosclerosis, the mechanisms whereby hormones and their receptors regulate susceptibility to cardiovascular disease in males and females, and the vascular determinants that may contribute to dementia in males and females. She is also a leader in community-based participatory research, and has developed and assessed efficacy of heart disease prevention models for improving heart disease outcomes in women in community settings who are at high-risk for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Villablanca’s research has been funded by several NIH Institutes, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS); as well as by the U. S. Dpt of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health; and the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health where she was profiled as a 'woman scientist in action'.
Additionally, Dr. Villablanca is a mentor, champion and scholar for women in science careers. Her research team was the recipient of one of 14 NIH grants addressing issues posing barriers to women in the academic biomedical workforce, with a focus on career flexibility and family friendly practices. She helped to establish the School of Medicine's faculty development, diversity, mentoring, and women in medicine programs at the UC Davis School of Medicine and currently serves as director of the Women in Medicine and Health Sciences Program. She is also a co-chair of the national Research Partnership for Women in Science Careers to provide leadership and new insights into the key factors that promote the inclusion, retention, success, and advancement of women in academia.
M.D., UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento CA 1983
B.S., UCLA, Los Angeles CA 1979
Internal Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento CA 1984-1986
Cardiovascular Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento CA 1987-1990
American Board of Internal Medicine, 1987
American Board of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, 1993
American College of Cardiology
American Heart Association, Golden Heart Member
Mouse Biology Program (UC Davis)
National Institute's of Health
National Institute's of Health, Permanent Member Grant Peer Review Panel
Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers - Co-Chair
Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers, Co-chair
The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
Honors and Awards
Health Care Hero, Sacramento Business Journal, 2013
Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award, UC Davis Academic Senate, 2011
Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award for Excellence in Community-based Women’s Health Leadership, California Department of Health Care Services, 2009
UC Davis School of Medicine, Hibbard Williams Extraordinary Achievement Award, 2008
Heart of Gold Award, American Heart Association, 2008
Red Dress Award, Woman’s Day magazine, 2004
Select Recent Publications
Villablanca, A. C., Beckett, L.A., Li ,Y., Leatherwood, S., Gill, S.K., Giardina, E.V., Barron, C., Foody, J.M., Haynes, S., D'Onofrio, G. Outcomes of comprehensive heart care programs in high-risk women. Journal of Women's Health, 2010;19(7): 1313-1325.
Villablanca, A. C., Pinkerton, K.E., Rutledge, J.C. Maternal and neonatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases pro-inflammatory genes in neonatal arteries. Journal Cardiovascular Translational Research, 2010 Oct 2(Epub: ahead of print).
Villablanca, A.C., Muthuvel, J., Banka, C. Atherosclerosis and sex hormones: Current concepts. Invited Review. Clinical Science, 2010;119(12): 495-513.
Villablanca, A.C., Arline, S., Lewis, J., Raju, S., Sanders, S., Carrow, S. Outcomes of national community organization cardiovascular prevention programs for high-risk women. Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research, 2009;2(3), p306.
Villablanca, A. C., Tenwolde, A., Lee, M., Huck, M., Mumenthaler, S., Rutledge, J.C. 17ß estradiol prevents early stage atherosclerosis in estrogen receptor-alpha deficient female mice. Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research, 2009;2: 289-299.
Villablanca, A.C., Baxi, H., and Anderson, K. Novel Data Interface for Evaluating Cardiovascular Outcomes in Women. Handbook of Research on Information Technology Management and Clinical Administration in Healthcare. Dwivedi, A. (ed). IGI Publishing 1,142 pp; May 2009.
Bukkapatnam, R.N., Berglund, L., Anuurad, E., Devaraj, S., Hyson, D., Rafii, F., Malmstein, C., Villablanca, A. C. Postprandial metabolic responses to dietary glycemic index in hypercholesterolemic postmenopausal women. Preventive Cardiology, 2009;13(1): 29-35.
Foody, J.M., Villablanca, A. C., Giardina, E.V., Gill, S., Taylor, A.L., Leatherwood, S., Haynes, S.G., D'Onofrio, G. The office on women's health initiative to improve women's heart health: Program description, site characteristics and lessons learned. Journal of Women's Health, 2009;19(3): 507-516.
Corbacho, AM, Eiserich, JP, Zuniga, LA, Valacchi, G, Cross, CE, and Villablanca, AC. Compromised Aortic Vasoreactivity in Male Estrogen Receptor-Alpha Deficient Mice During Acute Lipopolyssacharide-Induced Inflammation. Encocrinology. Mar;148(3):1403-11, 2007.
Benton, J., Powers, A., Eiselein, L., Fitch, R., Wilson, D., Villablanca, A.C., and Rutledge. J.C. Hyperglycemia and loss of ovarian hormones mediate atheroma formation through endothelial layer disruption and increased permeability. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. Feb;292(2):R723-30, 2007.
Wang-Polagruto, J.,Villablanca, A.C., Polagruto, J, Lee, L.., Holt, RA., Schrader, H., Ensunsa, J., Steinberg, FM., Schmitz, H., and Keen, CL. Chronic Consumption of Flavanol-rich Cocoa Improves Endothelial Function and Decreases Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule (VCAM-1) in Hypercholesterolemic Postmenopausal Women J. Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 47[Suppl 2]:S177-S186, 2006.
Villablanca, AC, D Lubhan, L Shelby, K Lloyd and S Barthold. Susceptibility to early atherosclerosis in male mice is mediated by estrogen receptor a (ERa). Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 24:1055-1061 (with journal editorial). Erratum in: Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 24(6):1055-1061.
Nandur, R, K Kumar and AC Villablanca. Cardiovascular actions of selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and phytoestrogens. Preventive Cardiology, 7:73-79. Invited review.