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Cardiac Rehab program receives national certification

Cardiac rehab helps patients with heart problems maximize quality of life

Athens, Ga.St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has been certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) for its commitment to improving patients’ quality of life by enhancing standards of care. The program is the first of its kind in the Athens area to receive AACVPR certification.

St. mary's Cardiac Rehab Certified programCardiovascular rehabilitation programs are designed to help people who have experienced heart problems such as heart attacks, bypass surgery or who are living with heart failure recover faster and improve their quality of life. St. Mary’s three-phase program provides exercise, education, counseling and support for patients and their families.

“Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program does tremendous good for hundreds of patients each year,” said Titus Gambrell, St. Mary’s Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. “This certification demonstrates the commitment of our colleagues and medical staff to helping cardiac patients get back on their feet and return to the highest level of activity and independence possible.”

“Phase 1 education begins while the patient is still in the hospital,” explains St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehab coordinator Todd Drake, a certified cardiac rehabilitation professional. “After discharge, Phase 2 provides closely monitored exercise, education, and counseling here at the hospital. Patients then graduate to Phase 3 cardiac rehab at our Wellness Center, which helps our patients maximize their recovery for life and reduce their risk of future cardiac events.”

St. Mary’s cardiac rehab program participated in an application process that requires extensive documentation of the program’s practices. AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Each program is reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and Certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

AACVPR-certified programs are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. AACVPR Program Certification is valid for three years.

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Founded in 1985, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the mission of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research and disease management. Central to the core mission is improvement in quality of life for patients and their families. Learn more at

About St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s Health Care System is a faith-based, not-for-profit health care ministry whose mission is to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence in the communities it serves. Part of Trinity Health, St. Mary’s puts special focus on neurosciences, cardiac care, orthopedics, general medicine, general surgery, women’s and children’s health, and care for older adults. St. Mary’s includes hospitals in Athens, Lavonia and Greensboro, as well as physician practices, a retirement community, outpatient care facilities, graduate medical education, and a region-wide home health care/hospice service. St. Mary’s is a certified chest pain center, a gold-plus hospital for stroke care, and was named Georgia’s 2018 Large Hospital of the Year. For more information, visit St. Mary’s website at