The Hellenic Medical Diaspora World Congress 2022, which was organised by the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia (HMSA) and the Global Doctors’ Hippocratic Institute concluded their proceedings on Saturday 19 November, with a ball at the Grand Hyatt, which raised funds for PRONIA and Fronditha Care.

The world congress featured presentations from Australian and international speakers and included an interactive dialogue between leaders from diverse academic fields in medicine and science.

Last Thursday the participants focused on the provision of community support to some of the most vulnerable sectors of the community with Fronditha Care and Pronia sharing some of their unique insights into the issues affecting these people. The meeting was led by the President of Fronditha Care Jill Taylor and President of Pronia Kris Pavlidis.

On Friday the Congress held its official opening, where Mr George Koufogiannis, Conference Scientific Convenor of Conference Board Member of the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia welcomed the honoured guests.

Prof. Marinis Pirpiris, Chair of the Congress said in his welcoming speech “The Hellenic Medical Society of Australia and Hellenic World Diaspora Congress 2022, which was hosted at the Greek Centre is the result of a common vision between global medical Hellenic societies, inspired by the practice of the father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates of Kos. Meetings between doctors with Hellenic background provide Hellenes with the ability and means to improve health policies and contribute to the development of a global scientific community which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all patients, regardless of their individual unique opinions and beliefs. We are honoured to be hosting the Global Doctors Hippocratic Institute, which has helped develop a common vision for a new global health dialogue through commitment, passion, and vision.”

Bill Papastergiadis OAM, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) stated in his opening speech “It was a historic day for Greece and Australia with the execution of the MOUS between the University of Melbourne and the Universities of Athens and Patra. Cross cultural education has taken a massive leap forward and we are proud of that the GCM along with Prf. Marinis Pirpiris has helped facilitate this outcome. There are many reasons why these Agreements have been executed in Melbourne, including the fact that Melbourne is recognized as one of the world’s top 4 medical research centres with up to $4 billion spent annually on medical research. Such Agreements will allow our students to learn and be taught in the birthplace of Hippocrates, while facilitating the opportunities of Greek students to come to Melbourne, which boasts 13 world leading medical research facilities”.

Taking the the podium, minister Steve Dimopoulos expressed his excitement for the bringing together of great minds from Greece and Australia to discuss their latest advancements. “This Congress, is a way of strengthening the bonds between our communities. There’s a shared history that people have talked about, creating networks, paving the way and creating healthier lives for our citizens and the people who we represent,” Mr Dimopoulos said.

Federal MP Maria Vamvakinou also gave an address, where she stressed the importance of multicultural exchange in the field of health, research and innovation.

“It’s a privilege to be here. Australia is known in the world of innovation in various fields of science, medical, technology and all sorts of other technologies,” she said.

“As a country that largely punches above its weight, we are a large landmass with a small population and we have exceeded expectations with great cutting-edge technology, especially in medical and scientific research and innovation, and this is an area which is very important to us. An area where many distinguished scientists and doctors of Greek background living in Australia have made significant contributions, and this should be something that we should be very proud of and we should be very proud of it in the context of our multicultural community.”

The Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis welcomed the forging a strong partnership between both Greek and Australian Medical Institutions. “It’s a great privilege and a pleasure for me to assist in this event. The Greek Community is thriving in this city due to the charismatic leadership of Dr Pirpiris and Bill Papastergiadis OAM and the Australian Government for providing the appropriate policies that allow, multicultural societies to thrive,” he noted.

Excited to be part of the conference, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said that “It is wonderful to be here. We know that in Ancient Greece doctors moved the health conversations from divine intervention to address health issues to more modern concepts of medicine and we thank you very much for that. We are grateful to our Greek medical community here in Melbourne and Greece in forming the memorandum of understanding that was singed yesterday which represents the ongoing and deeper broader work we’ll do together”.

Georgie Crozier, Shadow Minister of Health in her speech thanked the Greek Community for sharing its ideas with the world adding that “[the Greek Community] has helped so much, and it is a very proud community, you should be very proud of what you have continued to contribute, and I have no doubt that the Congress will be very productive.”

Governor of Attica, President of the Athens Medical Association and President of the Doctors Hippocratic Institute George Patoulis talked on the significance of collaboration and further spoke on the impact that Hippocratic Philosophy has had on the scientific advancement of modern western medicine.

“Collaboration of Greek doctors everywhere towards a new philosophy of medicine, that would explore the values of the Ethic of Medicine guided by the teachings of Hippocrates allowing us to jointly ‘create’ a New Medical Perspective of Ethics and Philosophy, which will address wisely and reflect upon future challenges in the medical field. Thank you for giving us the chance,” Mr Patoulis said.

Finally, Jane Gunn, Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne took to the podium to share her thoughts.

“I feel that we are on a point of great collaboration and an opportunity that is so necessary for the future of Medical Science and Health Wellbeing. I think together we have to mobilize forces to make sure the Health and Medical research is strong, and we must be absolutely resilient,” she said.

Among the guests that attended the official event were Marios Themistocleous, General Secretary Ministry of Health, Hellenic Republic; Martin Foley MP, Member for Albert Park, Former Minister for Health and Ambulance Services; Michael Sukkar MP, Member for Deakin; Professor Georgios Antonakis, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Patra; Panagiotis Manolas, Congress Scientific Convenor; George Koufogiannis, Congress Scientific Convenor; while Vasilis Kikilias, Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic addressed the congress participants in a video recording.