The Athens Crossroad Medical Conference Promotes Greece-Diaspora Ties

Physicians and Scientists from the Hellenic Diaspora pose for a commemorative photo in Athens’ Zappeion Hall during The Athens Crossroad conference. Its chairman, Dr. Sotirios Prappas is seen 9th from left; Dr. James Tatoulis president of the Greek Cardiovascular and Thoracic Diaspora, is 8th from left. Photo by Constantine Sirigos/TNH

ATHENS – The Athens Crossroad conference held November 8-10 on developments in the field of thoracic and cardiovascular medicine was also organized as an opportunity for Hellenes in the field to connect with one another – including those living outside Greece.

During its second day Athens Crossroads Chairman Dr. Sotirios Prappas presided over a Diaspora session where numerous initiatives were discussed. Prappas, at the dais with Dr. James Tatoulis, of Australia, newly elected president of the Greek Cardiovascular and Thoracic Diaspora, which held its 2nd World Congress in conjunction with the Athens Crossroad, emphasized that Hellenism not limited to activities in the territory of Greece. He expressed his pride in physicians and scientists in the Diaspora who are leaders in all fields and said they have much to contribute to Greece.

Konstantinos Plestis, System Chief in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery for Mainline Health in Pennsylvania, was elected Vice President of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Diaspora – in 2020 he will succeed Dr. Tatoulis as president – and told The National Herald the gathering is very important because “it creates a bridge between Greece and the Greek-American community.”

He said such events are also important for exchanges of ideas within the profession, and to help build the New Greece.
“To build the New Greece we must bring ambitious young people to the USA and other advanced countries so that they can learn, and to give them the opportunity to see another manner of life and thinking, which they can bring back to Greece.”

Dr. Plestis makes sure someone comes from Greece each year to his hospital, the Lankenau Heart Institute in Philadelphia.

He also cited the work of Drs. George Tolis of Boston and Elias Zias in New York, who help bring Greeks in the medical field to the USA. Dr. Plestis also communicates with the Hellenic Medical Society of New York as a member for 25 years.

Among the society’s new initiatives are a project to register everyone in the cardiovascular and thoracic field in its worldwide database; to create a website to facilitate communication among them; to host a conference every year in a major American city were medical and non-medical matters can be discussed; to create a vehicle whereby Greek physicians and students can visit the USA and be helped with opportunities to stay in there for their training.

Dr. Plestis noted that “It’s important for there to be cooperation between the Diaspora and Greece in all fields.”