A group of Greek Australian doctors in Victoria has formed a new invigorated professional association with a vision to enable doctors to promote better health for all Australians including those of Hellenic descent.

Their mission is to unite medical professionals with the community, connect people and inspire lifelong advancement in medical knowledge and sharing and promoting Hellenic and Australian culture, heritage, language and the lands which formed the basis and origins for modern medicine and its ongoing advancement.

Hellenic Medical Society of Australia (HMSA) president Associate Professor Marinis Pirpiris, an orthopaedic surgeon and Victorian Chair of the Australian Orthopaedic Association, earlier this week said that “we have a dedicated board of 11 doctors who are all passionate about our aims and who have come together to give back to the community and unite the profession.”

HMSA has undertaken at least five public education lectures over the last 18 months, co-ordinated by HMSA board member paediatrician Dr Betty
Messazos, with support from the Greek Community of Melbourne, attracting 400 doctors.

“Our mission with these public forums has been to improve public understanding on a variety of important topics.
“We’ve explored themes such as heart disease, arthritis, depression, diabetes mellitus, and psychosis and schizophrenia, as well as [contributed] a talk on accessing services in the Australian health system,” Mr Pirpiris continued in a statement.

“We are really proud of the achievements of the board so far.”

The HMSA board also includes (in alphabetical order): Dr Spiros Fourlanos (endocrinologist), Dr Arthur Kokkinias (psychiatrist), Mr George Koufogiannis (urological surgeon), Dr Betty Messazos (paediatrician), Associate Professor Arthur Nasis (cardiologist and cardiac imaging specialist), Dr Stav Papapostolou (cardiologist and non-invasive cardiac imaging fellow at MonashHeart), Dr Nick Roubos (general practitioner), Dr Mary Stavropoulou (general practitioner and skin cancer specialist), Mr Kostas Syrrakos (general and laparoscopic surgeon and endoscopist), and Dr George Stabelos (general practitioner).

Dr Stabelos, the HMSA’s vice-president, added that “we would like this organisation to be relevant and useful to both the public and the medical profession by promoting medical and health knowledge and connecting people in all groups. We envisage [achieving] this by improving the community’s understanding and having greater control over one’s own health, connecting the public with doctors, or strengthening collegiality and connections amongst the medical profession and facilitating advancement in medical knowledge.”

In addition to the public educational lectures, HMSA is planning events in which doctors can meet and exchange new information and ideas, enhance fellowship, and even enjoy Greek culture and heritage at a social level.

The HMSA board say they see the potential benefits of a synergistic association as compared to doctors working alone and sometimes in isolation as individual professionals.

“There are numerous examples in society and in many fields including medicine, of achievement and success, where people work hard and attain a great deal as individuals,” Dr Stabelos commented. “However in the Australian community generally, including the Australian Greek community, there are also opportunities for synergising and harnessing the collective wisdom, effort and experience of us all. We need to do more of this as a community and avail of these opportunities as there are a myriad of potential benefits for communities and professionals.”

The public can access the site and in the long run, once a number of doctors have registered, a directory of registered member doctors and services will be established on the site, including identifying bilingual clinicians. Whether it be GPs or doctors working in various other specialties such as surgery, cardiology, endocrinology, psychiatry and so on, visitors to the website will be able to access them.

HMSA secretary Dr Kokkinias stated “the HMSA has established a set of core values which guide the association and its members. These include excellence, integrity, compassion, collaboration and innovation. We feel it is important to set the highest standards.”

Doctors who are interested in contributing to a subcommittee, or members of the public from various backgrounds who wish to join a team and assist HMSA in a voluntary capacity with administrative and organisational aspects can contact HMSA via hmsa.org.au
The Hellenic Medical Society of Australia is based at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC.