Feature Story

Health Center Today, October 8, 2009

The Science of Red Wine and Dark Chocolate

By John Sponauer

The UConn Health Center's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently hosted The Science of Red Wine and Dark Chocolate with the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. Nearly 70 friends, grateful patients, faculty and staff of the Calhoun Cardiology Center were on hand in the Health Center's Henry B.C. Lowe, M.D. Learning Center.

The evening's speakers included Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center; Dr. Bruce Liang, director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center; Pat and Jim Calhoun; Mark Gross, senior vice president of ESPN; and Karl Ravech, host of ESPN's Baseball Tonight. Guests included Dr. Henry Low, renowned cardiac surgeon, who was recognized for his groundbreaking work—including the first heart transplant in the state of Connecticut, and the American Heart Association's Linda Martins and Maureen Mandirola, metro executive director.

Following a reception, attendees heard Coach Calhoun and Ravech describe their motivational experiences as cardiology patients and their desire to support cardiology programs at the Health Center with their personal philanthropy and leadership. Dr. Liang offered a presentation that discussed the health benefits—and hazards—of red wine and dark chocolate, including an examination of "the French Paradox," the observance of a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease in France, despite the country's diet that is relatively rich in saturated fats.

Mr. Gross concluded the evening with the announcement of a gift from ESPN to support the Calhoun Cardiology Center in honor of Ravech, who suffered a major heart attack in 1998 at the age of 33, but who has since dramatically changed his lifestyle as a result.