NEW YORK – The renowned Dr. Kimon Bekelis will be honored by the American Heart Association (AHA) on April 26 at the Garden City Hotel at the Association’s Annual Heart & Stroke Ball. Dr. Bekelis is Chairman, Neurointerventional Services at Catholic Health Services of Long Island (CHSLI); Director, Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center of Excellence at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center; Co-Director, Neuro ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center; Director, Population Health Research Institute of New York at CHSLI; and Assistant Professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He took time out of his busy schedule to speak with The National Herald about the honor and his background.
Dr. Bekelis said, “It is very humbling to be the first neurosurgeon on Long Island to be honored with this award by the American Heart Association. This solidifies my team’s commitment to be a major part of transforming the care of stroke and brain aneurysm patients in the South Shore of Long Island and Suffolk County in general.”
Of his background, he told TNH, “My parents grew up in the town of Edessa in Northern Greece. They moved to Athens and the suburb of Glyfada, where I was born. I attended medical school at the University of Athens, from where I graduated summa cum laude. Subsequently, I completed a year-long postdoctoral fellowship in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, before starting my neurosurgery residency at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, where I served as the chief resident. Lastly, I obtained additional sub-specialty training by completing a fellowship in endovascular neurosurgery, and neuro-critical care at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, one of the busiest stroke centers in the country.”
His research has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed publications, including the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Journal of Neurosurgery, World Neurosurgery, and the British Journal of Neurosurgery. Among his many awards and fellowships, Dr. Bekelis has received the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Leadership in Healthcare Fellowship (2018-19), the American Heart/Stroke Association 2018 Neurologic Science Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Award, and the 2017 Leadership and Advocacy Summit Scholarship (awarded by the American College of Surgeons).
Strokes are a leading cause of disability in the United States and account for millions of deaths each year, globally. The need for the fastest possible treatment is vital for saving lives and preventing disability. As noted on the AHA and the American Stroke Association’s website, strokes were once the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, but thanks to extraordinary advances and the dynamic efforts of doctors like Dr. Bekelis, strokes have gone down to the fifth leading cause of death.
“Anyone can have a stroke. Everyone should be ready,” according to the Stroke Association website. Learning the symptoms is easy with the acronym F.A.S.T.- F= Face drooping, A= Arm weakness, S= Speech difficulty, and T= Time to call 911. The faster the stroke patient receives treatment, the better the chances for survival. More information is available online at: www.heart.org and www.strokeassociation.org.