About the Program
You can start a journey towards wellness and improved health in just six months with the Healthy Lifestyle Program. This comprehensive program is designed to help improve your heart health and overall well-being. Led by Cardiologist Dr. John Ciccone, along with a dietitian and certified personal trainer, this program will help you make better food choices, outline a lasting exercise program that is customized to you and may even reduce the amount of prescription medications that you need.
At your first visit, you will meet with the cardiologist for a cardiac risk evaluation as well as the dietitian and personal trainer for nutritional and fitness assessments. From there, you will meet twice a week with a small group (3-6 people) at our private gym for supervised exercise sessions. Each month, you will meet with our dietitian to ensure your diet is on track to reduce your heart disease risk factors and to help you lose weight, if necessary.
You must have one of the below cardiovascular risk factors to participate:
- High Blood Pressure
- Abnormal Cholesterol
- Diabetic or Pre-diabetic
- Family History of Heart Disease
Monthly progress reports will be sent to your primary care doctor. We also offer a variety of educational sessions and support group opportunities throughout the six-month program.
John Ciccone, MD
Dr. Ciccone is a board certified cardiologist. He received his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School. He completed his residency at University Hospital in Newark, NJ. His fellowship in cardiology and interventional cardiology was completed at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Kristen Nawabi, MD
Dr. Nawabi earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed her internal medicine residency at MUSC, as well as a fellowship in general cardiology. Dr. Nawabi is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology, and has special interests in women’s heart issues and preventive medicine.
Sarah Ferrillo, NP-C
Sarah Ferrillo is a board certified adult-gerontology nurse practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. She earned her master’s degree as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. She worked as an inpatient cardiac nurse prior to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Amy Mendez, RDN
Amy earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the Healthy Lifestyles Program, she provides nutrition counseling and coaching for adults at risk for heart and vascular disease due to disorders of cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Since many of her clients need help with weight loss, Amy also obtained an additional certification in Adult Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Samantha Zito, RDN
Samantha is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut and received her Master’s from Stony Brook University in New York. She has previously worked at Long Island Jewish Medical Center where her focus was counseling patients with cardiovascular, diabetes, and weight management issues. She has a Certificate of Training in Weight Management and is currently obtaining a second Master of Science degree in Health, Exercise and Sports Science from the Citadel.
Mel O’Keefe, CPT
Mel’s career as a personal trainer started 35 years ago in London, England. Mel has helped thousands of people reach their fitness goals, and he himself has struggled with his weight in the past. Whether it’s losing weight and toning up or competing in an Ironman triathlon, Mel has coached his clients all the way to the finish line.
Caryn Lyons, CPT
Caryn is a certified personal trainer who has helped clients of all ages and fitness levels reach their personal best. With over 25 years experience in the athletic and fitness industry Caryn has accumulated a wealth of knowledge regarding fitness, weight management and overall wellness. Helping her clients achieve their goals and improve their quality of life is Caryn’s number one goal.
Stephanie Sonberg, CPT
Stephanie is a certified personal trainer with over 25 years experience in the fitness industry. She trains clients of all ages, helping them reach their personal goals through fitness and nutrition. Her focus is to help her clients achieve and maintain their fitness level for better health and wellness.
To get started or if you have questions about enrollment, call Amy Mendez, Program Navigator, at (843) 606-7890.
Patient Forms and Helpful Resources
How does the billing work for the program?
The Healthy Lifestyle Program is divided in two parts. The first part is the assessment portion when you meet with the cardiologist for risk factor review and medical clearance and the dietitian and trainer for nutrition and exercise evaluation. The second part is the comprehensive monthly program that lasts up to six months. This can be paid in 3-month intervals, or all at once if you desire.
Will my insurance pay for the program?
The initial visits with the cardiologist and dietitian are medical visits that will be billed to your insurance. You will need to review your benefits to see what your plan covers for these visits. The comprehensive monthly visits are “self-pay” meaning that they will not be billed to your insurance, but you may submit them for reimbursement, if you wish.
How much does your program cost?
The cost of the monthly program is quite competitive compared to personal training sessions. With a regular exercise program and healthy nutrition, many people find they can reduce or even eliminate the cost of some prescription medications. Call for more information or click here to see our pricing guide.
I am a Roper St. Francis teammate. Can I use my Wellness Credit for the program?
Yes, you can!
What if I don’t want to participate for all six months?
To gain the benefits of our program, minimum participation is expected for three months.
How are “months” counted—what if I start in the middle of the month?
A “month” is counted as eight exercise sessions, so you don’t have to start on the exact beginning of a calendar month.
What if I have recently seen a cardiologist?
If desired, your cardiologist can provide the medical clearance necessary to start the program.
What if I don’t have a primary care doctor?
As our program is not a substitute for ongoing medical care, we will help you find a doctor if needed, or you may visit http://findadoctor.rsfh.com.
Does my doctor have to refer me into the program?
We do not require a doctor’s referral to join our program, but we will request contact information so that we can coordinate care during your participation in the program.
What times will the exercise groups meet?
Exercise group times will be offered in the early morning, mid-day and early evening hours. Call Amy Mendez at (843) 606-7890 for more specific times.
When will I find out what exercise group I will be in?
You will schedule your exercise sessions at your first appointment with the trainer.
What if I miss an exercise session or group education/support class?
We understand that there will be times that you are unable to attend. Exercise sessions or classes will be rescheduled on a case-by-case basis. You must call at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule.
Are there showers/locker rooms available?
At this time, we do not have shower facilities available.
What if I have physical limitations? Can I still participate?
Our trainer, Mel O’Keefe, can accommodate most limitations such as previous hip or knee replacements, arthritis, back pain and more.
Will I have to buy special food or supplements?
No, all the food you need to follow our plan can be found at your regular grocery store, farmers market or local farm stand.
Will my family be able to follow the food plan you recommend?