There have been some amazing advances in caring for hearts, however, despite all of these advances we still lose far too many people suddenly in the prime of their life. A 2014 study suggested that 4 out of 5 heart attacks may be prevented by eating healthy, exercising, not smoking and maintaining a normal waistline. When New Bedford was recognized as one of the least healthy cities in Massachusetts to grow older, Dr. Michael Rocha laced up his sneakers and became more of a coach than a doctor with a prescription for a community to walk, eat healthy, laugh often and live now.

Michael Rocha is a cardiologist with Hawthorn Medical Associates, LLC and is the Director of Heart Failure Services at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford where he is working to change to the perception from Heart Failure to Heart Wellness. After seeing patients with preventable heart disease in his community, he seized the opportunity to help improve the health and well-being of his hometown of New Bedford beyond just prescriptions. He started the New Bedford Wellness Initiative as a monthly wellness walk that has grown quickly since the first walk in April 2014.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at