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Mitchell J. Silver, D.O. (’89), F.A.C.C.

Heart health gains offset by rising diabetes, obesity rates
Columbus-based cardiologist responds by treating underserved in Southeast Ohio

By Natalie Cammarata and Anita Martin
March 21, 2008

The American Heart Association announced in February that U.S. heart disease and stroke age-adjusted death rates have dropped 25.8 percent since 1999. Still, rates for obesity and type II diabetes, two major risk factors for heart disease, are actually on the rise – troubling news for Southeast Ohio, where 10 to 14 percent of people reported type II diabetes in 2005 – nearly double the national rate.

Mitchell J. Silver, D.O. (’89), F.A.C.C., of MidOhio Cardiology and Vascular Consultants (MOCVC), attributes the inconsistency to the fact that the age group impacted by the obesity and type II diabetes epidemic may not see heart problems for another 10 to 15 years.

But Silver’s not one to wait around. Having recognized the need for heart specialists to serve diabetes patients in Southeast Ohio, Silver became a catalyst for the Cornwell Center for Cardiovascular and Diabetes Care at O’Bleness in 2006. The center provides a cardiovascular and diabetes clinic where patients in the Athens region can receive integrated, leading-edge treatments. In addition, patients referred by the OU-COM Free Clinic can receive specialty care at no cost.

Silver had a vision for a “one-stop shop,” where patients could receive both diabetes and cardiovascular care. He immediately saw an opportunity in Athens’ Diabetes and Endocrine Center, established in 2003 by the OU-COM and formerly located at the college’s Parks Hall.

O’Bleness Health System President Rick Castrop, with the support of the late Foster and Helen Cornwell, brought the Diabetes and Endocrine Center and MOCVC cardiologists together in the construction of the Cornwell Center – the culmination of an alliance among O’Bleness, MOCVC, OU-COM and OhioHealth.

The center aims to improve management of diabetes and cardiovascular healthcare in Southeastern Ohio through proactive screening for disease, aggressive management of patient care with established disease and a “global approach” that combines heart health and vascular disease management.

Services include a low-risk diagnostic catheterization laboratory – previously not available in the area – and physicians specializing in cardiology, vascular medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and internal medicine. The center also now offers low-risk procedures that help open clogged arteries in lower extremities.

In addition, HeartWorks, O’Bleness’ cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program, in conjunction with WellWorks at Ohio University, relocated from the second floor of the hospital to the Cornwell Center.

“As a medical student at the OU-COM, I got to know the situation of the underserved population in Appalachia. It’s so different for people who lack the resources to go to big cities for care. It made sense to bring specialty care down here – to give back a little,” Silver said.

Silver visits Athens at least once a week, either working at O’Bleness or teaching cardiology and vascular medicine at OU-COM. His colleagues in Columbus also travel to Athens, which provides the Cornwell Center with a MOCVC physician three to five days a week.

“I’ve never been one of those docs who won’t see a patient without insurance. (At Cornwell,) we’ll see anyone,” Silver said. “When someone comes in with circulation so bad they can’t walk – then, the next time you see them they can walk again… the compensation is more than enough.”

For more information on the Cornwell Center for Cardiovascular and Diabetes Care visit or call (740) 566-4850.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016