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Highlight on... the Hellenic Working Group on Echocardiology 

Education and EUROECHO Congress

Topics: Echocardiography (Non-invasive imaging)
Date: 28 May 2012

The Hellenic Working Group on Echocardiology (HWGE) is affiliated to the Hellenic Society of Cardiology (HSC) and it is one of the most active Working Groups. It was founded in 1986 and has more than 400 active members, all of them cardiologists, members of HCS, with either private or public clinical practice.

Our working group is led by the president who is also the chairman of the nucleus which consists of the president-elect and 3 members all being elected every 2 years.

Our main purposes are:
- Improve the training of cardiologists in Echocardiography,
- Provide opportunities to young members to improve their skills
- Encourage accreditation
- Facilitate educational meetings in order to encompass the rapid advances in ultrasound technology and clinical applications.

Continuous education, congresses and meetings

Since its creation, one of the main purposes of the HWGE has been the promotion of continuous education and training in Echocardiography, through congresses and regular meetings.

Therefore, HWGE organizes several educational activities:

Monthly 2-hours meetings (first Monday of each month, 20.00 local time) in Athens. These meetings comprise the presentation and discussion of interesting clinical cases covering a specific issue where the cardiovascular imaging plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis.  For the last 2 years these meetings have been transmitted via internet (Webinars) so doctors from all over the Greece can attend and have an active participation. The access to these Webinars is free through the site of the HSC (
Annual seminars in Echocardiography in Thessaloniki. These seminars are based mainly on presentations performed by young cardiologists and trainees, cover all the aspects of Echocardiography and provide an excellent opportunity for the senior members to disseminate their expertise to the junior doctors. 
Two-days courses for trainees and young cardiologists. They are organized every 2 years and cover all the basic aspects of Echocardiography.
● The HWGE is also involved in the scientific committee of the national annual meeting of the HSC. HWGE is in charge of the sessions dealing with Echocardiography involving national and international expert speakers in their particular field.
● The HWGE is also involved in the scientific committee of several annual meetings on Echocardiography organized by Greek hospitals (i.e. The Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, the Attikon University Hospital, the Hippokration University Hospital etc.) or scientific societies.

Relationship with the European Association of Echocardiography

From the very beginning there was a sincere and fruitful collaboration between the HWGE and the EAE. HWGE participates in all EAE activities and several members of our working group serve in various committees of the EAE.

In Greece there is a national certification examination and subsequent accreditation process on Echocardiography and the HWGE is willing to welcome any position to combine this with the EAE accreditation. Greek cardiologists participate successfully in the EAE accreditation process in great numbers.

The attendance of EUROECHO is highly appreciated by our members and as consequence during the last 10 years the Hellenic contribution into the participants shares a high profile being steadily among the first 3 (actually last year in Budapest Greece was ranked 1st).

There is also significant contribution to the scientific part of EUROECHO with intense selection of abstracts presented by a number of Greek Hospitals (steadily also among the first 5 top ranked countries).

In 2004 EUROECHO congress was successfully organized in Athens.

We are now happy to host the forthcoming EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities meeting in Athens, 5-8 December 2012.

EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities meeting in Athens, 5-8 December 2012.

The congress venue will be held at the Megaron Athens International Conference Center which is located to the center of Athens, close to the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

Athens has a glorious history. It is the place where democracy was born and its cultural achievements during classical period laid the foundations of western civilization.
Athens offers a variety of things to see and do, and most of the times, under favourable weather conditions. Athens is considered one of Europe's safest capitals; its transportation network is user-friendly; there are numerous museums and archeological sites and hundreds of restaurants to satisfy every taste. The New Acropolis Museum nearby Acropolis is an attraction worth seeing by itself.

We are looking forward to welcoming our European friends and colleagues in Athens and the HWGE will put all the efforts for the successful organization of the EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities congress, 5-8 December 2012.

Future directions and upcoming actions

The primary aim of the HWGE is to provide continuous training in Echocardiography of all its members and to improve the understanding of new imaging modalities. HWGE will also try to define the place of Echocardiography in the new and complex diagnostic environment involving other modalities such as nuclear medicine and CT-MRI.
A further step should be apart from the individual accreditation to support the idea of Laboratory Accreditation as an integral tool to achieve an improved function of the inhospital  cardiological service.

Special thanks

I want to thank all the former presidents of our working group*, the President elect**, the members of the present nucleus***, and all the members of the HWGE who play an active role in this Group.

I would also like to express, on behalf of all the Echocardiographic community, my gratitude to Professor Petros Nihoyannopoulos, former president of the EAE, for his major contribution to Greek Echocardiography by training a large number of cardiologists at the Echo Lab at Hammersmith Hospital.

Loukianos Rallidis, President of the HWGE

**Fragiskos Parthenakis, President elect

***Members of the nucleus: Ignatios Ikonomidis, Costas Papadopoulos, Anastasios Georgilas-Theodosis                                              

* Past presidents: P. Kafkas, C. Venetis, I. Karagiannis, K. Karidis, G. Karatasakis, S. Chantanis, E. Matsakas, G. Athanassopoulos, A. Kranidis, I. Vlaseros, I. Paraskevaidis, D. Beldekos, D. Tsiapras

George Karatasakis, Local Host of the EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities meeting 2012