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SNF Co-President Dracopoulos Met with Tsipras for Health Sector Grant Update

June 21, 2018

ATHENS – The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Greek State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 21 for the grant initiative entitled Supporting Greece’s Health Sector—establishing a philanthropic partnership between the two entities. On June 20, at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos met with the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, to discuss the progress of this recently announced grant series totaling at least €200 million (USD$240 million) in support of the Greek Health sector.

Also in attendance: Renzo Piano, the architect designing the infrastructure of the projects and Ronald Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The institution is advising the SNF in the implementation of the grant.

SNF’s grant initiative, Supporting Greece’s Health Sector, is structured around seven projects. Each project addresses funding priorities issued by the Health Ministry. Thus, the project is specifically tailored to Greece’s health system. During the meeting with the Prime Minister, Dracopoulos discussed the progress made on all fronts.

Progress outline described in detail below:

The SNF held its first meetings with the relevant project groups designated by the Greek State, for all seven projects included in the grant Initiative.

Specifically, for the three infrastructure projects (Komotini, Thessaloniki, Athens-Evangelismos), following the signing of the MoU, the SNF, along with Renzo Piano and RPBW, visited the three areas, where they met with representatives of the grantee organizations, and made on-site visits at the existing infrastructure points, and the sites of the new infrastructure projects. Meetings have already taken place at the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in Genova, as the design of the projects continues. Simultaneously, for the other four grants, meetings have taken place with the working groups designated by the Greek State, discussing the first steps of implementation and setting work schedules.

For the optimal design and implementation of the projects, the SNF’s team is complemented by a team of partners to maximize execution on the basis of international standards and best practices. The coordination of the projects and all the consultants, on behalf of the SNF, has been undertaken by Hill International, who acts as project manager.

A team from the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine International is collaborating with the SNF in an advisory capacity. Johns Hopkins University is based in Baltimore, USA, and has been a long-term partner of the Foundation in a variety of grants around the globe. The scientific personnel of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, with their significant experience, have undertaken a consulting role for all seven projects, in order to transfer the expertise of major US hospitals to Greece.

Regarding the infrastructure projects, following the successful model of the Stavros Niarchos Foundational Cultural Center (SNFCC), the RPBW team is working closely with the Greek architectural office, Betaplan, as well as several other local partners, including the landscape architect, Helli Pangalou, who will undertake the design and execution of the study for the surrounding spaces.

RPBW is also working closely with the British firm Llewelyn Davies, which specializes in healthcare architectural design and is expected to contribute with its experience in large-scale health projects.

Architectural Designs by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop

As part of the meeting, Renzo Piano and his team from Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) presented preliminary design approaches for three infrastructure projects: the new General Hospital of Komotini, the Children’s Hospital in Thessaloniki, as well as the building at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens that will serve as the Chair of the University’s Faculty of Nursing. Particular emphasis in the discussion was given to the architect’s people-centric approach in the design of the projects, the integration of each project into its natural environment, the use of natural light, and the respect, through the creation of infrastructure, for the needs of the people who are hospitalized, their friends and families, and the employees of the structures to be erected.

Following the presentation, Andreas Dracopoulos, Renzo Piano, and Ronald Daniels, met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

During the meeting held at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, said, “Once again, I would like to thank you for your invaluable contribution and tangible support to the Greek Health sector -a vital area for every single citizen. And, of course, I would like to thank Renzo Piano for his contribution and for his presence here today. I am convinced that we will not only make a momentous impact by covering the essential needs of the Health sector, but also a remarkable architectural contribution to the urban landscape leading to significant interventions.”

The Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Andreas Dracopoulos, said, “The implementation of the Health Initiative is well underway. The SNF team has turned its attention to the great and demanding work ahead of us, having activated a wide network of partners from around the world, following the successful implementation model of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. In this effort, we are fortunate enough to have teamed up, once again, both with Renzo Piano and the RPBW team, as well as a set of internationally renowned specialists who are experts in their fields, such as the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine teams, while we are also in constant coordination with the relevant groups designated by the Greek State, truly cooperating for a common goal.”

Architect Renzo Piano said, “It is always a great privilege and also a great responsibility to design hospitals. This specific project for the Greek Health System, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is of utmost importance and it is part of my ambition, as an architect, to design for medical science and for a humanistic vision of our society.”

The President of Johns Hopkins University, Ronald Daniels, stated: “We are delighted to build on the decades long partnership between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Johns Hopkins to advance this important initiative. The Health Initiative speaks to our shared commitment to harness expertise across disciplines, institutions, and even nations to address our global health challenges and to serve the public good. The health of any nation and its people remains essential to its enduring success, and we are proud to work with such partners as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Greece’s leaders to bring high quality and accessible healthcare to the nation.”

A few words on the SNF’s grants to support healthcare in Greece:

The new grant initiative follows on the heels of a previous SNF grant to the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV), totaling $15 million, which was recently completed, and which covered the procurement of 143 state-of-the-art ambulances and their full maintenance for a period of 8 years, as well as the digital upgrade of EKAV’s operations center. Since 1996, the start of the SNF’s grantmaking activity, the SNF has already provided grants of more than $130 million for the support of health programs in Greece.

Past grants in the health sector include a grant, totaling $23 million, to support the replacement of 10 obsolete linear accelerators in seven public hospitals around the country, a grant for the renovation of all Pediatric Intensive Care Units (ICUs), as well as a grant for the construction and complete outfitting of hostels to house the relatives of patients in hospitals around the country. In addition, the SNF’s initiative for the establishment of the Mobile Medical Units, in collaboration with the NGO “Regeneration and Progress,” has wielded significant results in providing healthcare programs to residents of islands and remote areas in Greece.

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