Piraeus (the port of Athens) is my native town. While at school, there were two future employment directions that were always in my mind: medicine and music. It was difficult to choose, but finally science won over art, although Hippocrates considered medicine as a kind of art! During my studies at the University of Patras, I decided to follow cardiology as an interesting specialization that had at least a partial relation to music (the heart sounds and murmurs!). Before starting my training, it was compulsory to serve for two years in the Navy and two more in a rural Health Centre as a General Practitioner (GP). After completing my cardiology training, I completed my doctorate thesis in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Athens Medical School. Well-equipped scientifically but unemployed, I was awarded a scholarship from the Hellenic Society of Cardiology and a Research Grant from Imperial College which allowed me to work as Clinical Research Fellow at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. There, I was lucky enough to work with some very interesting scientists that you may all know: Prof. Andrew Coats (Head of the Clinical Cardiology department), Prof. Massimo Piepoli and Prof. Stefan Anker (my supervisors); three different personalities but each one, in his way, helped me to answer all my future clinical and research questions.
I spent three years in London before Greece called me back. It was extremely difficult to find a clinical job in Athens and despite my twelve years of clinical and research training, my first permanent job was within the Medical Department of multinational pharma companies. This was totally another world but extremely useful for my future research life. After three years, I decided to give up industry for academia. It was then that the Academy of Athens, Biomedical Research Foundation offered me a clinical research job in the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory. Now, I work in Cardiovascular Physiology research actually from bench to bedside. I spend half of my time on patients and the other half on experimental animal models. One day I perform an echo or a stress test on a patient and the other day on a mouse! It is extremely interesting but at the same time very demanding and hard to get funded. In my free time I still play music (finger exercise training) and I enjoy travelling and trekking.
The EAPC & me
For some years, I was just regular member of the EAPC: it was the Association which fully represented my perceptions as a cardiologist and my deepest feelings that prevention is the true remedy for all diseases. About ten years ago, I decided to become more involved and I was a candidate for the Section of Secondary Prevention and Rehabilitation. I had some doubts as to whether a clinician and researcher would fit in this scheme, until I got elected. And yes! Anybody who is willing to offer is welcome in this Association no matter whether she/he is a clinician, a nurse, a researcher, a physiotherapist etc. An EAPC member once said that we are the “cool Association”. Honestly, I cannot find any more proper term, to describe EAPC, than this! A bunch of open-minded colleagues who serve the ultimate “Cause”; that is Cardiovascular Prevention. There are many Sections, Task Forces and Committees to choose from depending on your scientific interests, and it is absolutely worth getting involved. The combination of working as a team and the novel ways to see things through this Association is something really unique! You make new friends around the globe, you participate in publications and research projects and certainly any of your ideas may be implemented. So, if you have some (not much) of your precious time to offer, don’t be afraid to become an EAPC section candidate if you feel like helping Cardiovascular Prevention to grow bigger.
Me as a Treasurer
The decision of another step upwards is always difficult. After serving as a Section member for six years and participating in different Task Forces and Committees, I took a tough decision and applied for the Executive Board’s Treasurer position. I had some previous but limited experience from small national Medical Associations but nothing comparable to the size of the EAPC. Again, all my doubts as to whether I would be able to fulfil the Treasurer’s tasks were immediately gone away after I got elected. The administrative personnel of the EAPC and the ESC has been always supportive of my work and they always care that all financial aspects are well prepared and on time; especially in the dark days of the COVID-19 crisis. Officially, you are responsible for the Association’s budget, you have to propose ways to increase income through project sponsorship, to reduce the expenses and have everybody happy. But this work as a whole seemed to me easy enough to become the only Treasurer so far to re-apply and get re-elected for a second mandate. Any hesitations one may have that there is a necessary need for special knowledge so as to cope with the Treasurer’s position is totally false. Nevertheless, you have to offer again some of your time and be always present and punctual to your tasks. However, the feeling that you have the chance to try to help and guide one of the greatest ESC Associations is really exceptional!
Now that I have honestly presented my life course in medicine and the EAPC, please allow me to say that anyone who cares for Cardiovascular Prevention, no matter his background has to become an active member of this “cool Association”!
Not an EAPC Member yet?
Interested in the EAPC 2022–2024 Elections? Find out more