Leader in women's cardiovascular health honored with Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

Dr. Villblanca, model Heidi Klum and
Amparo Villablanca, Heidi Klum and Karole Watson, co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventative Cardiology, helped kick off Heart Month.

Amparo Villablanca, a pioneer, leader and recognized expert in women’s cardiovascular medicine, has been selected as a recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award by the Public Service Committee of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate of the University of California.

“Dr. Villablanca exemplifies excellence in academic medicine and reducing gender disparities,” said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. “Her work is advancing knowledge of the distinctions in heart disease for women and diverse populations and is helping those most at risk improve their heart health.”

In 1994, Villablanca founded the nation’s first program dedicated to women’s heart health — the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program — with the goals of providing expert and supportive cardiac treatment for women and raising awareness of heart disease as the nation’s leading cause of death among women.

Through her annual Heart Care Education and Awareness Forum, Villablanca empowers hundreds of women throughout the region to live heart-healthy lifestyles. She also serves as a national spokeswoman for the Heart Truth Campaign, an initiative of the National Institutes of Health. Her advocacy for women’s heart health won her a place on the Women’s Day magazine Heart Health Advisory Board and earned her one of its inaugural Red Dress Awards.

Villablanca is at the forefront of understanding the unique attributes of and new treatment targets for cardiovascular disease in women. She also served as principal investigator on two federally funded projects. The first project tested the effectiveness of community-based interventions on improving cardiovascular outcomes among high-risk women, and the second one evaluated evidence-based women’s heart-health programs on improving clinical outcomes.

In 2005, Villablanca was the only University of California representative appointed to the California Governor’s Task Force for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Treatment, which resulted in her co-authoring the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Master Plan for the state.

Villablanca is one of four UC Davis faculty members who will receive 2011 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service awards. They will be recognized and honored at an academic awards reception on May 11.

UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit the health system website.