May 09

Disease of the month – Cystic Fibrosis by Dr. Denis Hadjiliadis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic inherited disease. It is the most common genetic disease in people of European (white) descent that leads to reduced lifespan. There are approximately 30000 patients with the disease living in the United States and approximately 800-1000 in Greece. Parents of affected individuals are healthy “carriers” of the abnormal gene. Patients have two genes affected (one from each parent) therefore they develop the disease. Approximately 1 in 25 people are carriers of the disease both in the United States and Greece.

The disease is caused by abnormalities in a channel called CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator), which leads to abnormal salt transport across the cells. There are more than 2000 CFTR mutations (ways that the channel can be affected), but more than 80% are due to one mutation, DF508. As a result, water cannot move easily in and out of the cell and secretions in many parts of the body are affected and become very thick. The main organs that are affected include the following: 1) pancreas, which does not work at birth or shortly after it, for most patients; as a result they have to take special digestive pills, in order to be able to digest and absorb the food they eat. In addition, patients are at risk for developing bowel blockage at birth and might need surgery to fix, or similar blockage later in life. Malnutrition is very common because of these problems. Some patients have milder disease and their pancreas is working, but they are at risk of inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis due to thick secretions and their pancreas can stop working later; 2) lung disease which leads to thick secretions that retain many bacteria that lead to chronic cough with thick sputum. The bacteria many times lead to bad infections called exacerbations that require antibiotics for treatment; as a result lungs become slowly more damaged with a type of condition called bronchiectasis (lungs look like they have “holes” in them); in addition, patients have trouble breathing air out due to damage in their airway pipes. Bacteria that commonly affect them include Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA; lung disease is the most common reason patients with cystic fibrosis die and many of them require a lung transplant to remain alive; 3) diabetes becomes more common later in life for up to two-thirds of patients and leads to worse nutrition and earlier death; 4) liver disease, from thick bile, which leads to cirrhosis in only a small percentage of patients. These patients develop worse nutrition, fluid in their abdomen, bleeding from their gut and many times require liver transplant; 6) frequent sinusitis with nasal polyps; 7) infertility for men; males have absence of an organ called the vas deferens and as a result they have no sperm.

All these severe problems lead reduced lifespan, but when the disease was first described in the 1940s, infants rarely survived beyond preschool age. By the 1980s patients were living until their early adulthood and now the average life expectancy is their early 40s. Many medications that treat the thick mucous, the digestion, the infections and chronic exercises to clear the mucous are used by the patients. Their use as well as care in specialized and accredited centers by a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, nutritionists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and social workers led to the improvement in lifespan. Patients frequently have to do many hours of treatment every day and frequently become disabled because of their condition. Most recently medications that can fix the underlying problem of CFTR have become available for approximately 40-45% of patients and have opened new horizons for treatment. More are in the way for all patients.

Early diagnosis is important in treating the condition, so now all babies born in the United States are tested and all pregnant women are offered testing (and if they are carriers they can seek testing for their male partners). Testing before conception can also help identify couples who are carriers and potentially avoid having children with CF by using in vitro fertilization. This approach will hopefully will lead to further improvement in their quality of life and life expectancy.

About the author

Dr Hadjiliadis completed medical school at the University of Toronto and subsequently pursued Internal Medicine training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He then completed his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Duke University in Durham, NC. He also completed his Master’s of Health Sciences while at Duke University. After that he returned to Toronto for further training in lung transplantation and cystic fibrosis. After joining the faculty there he came to the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, where he has remained ever since.

Dr Hadjiliadis is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care by the American Board of Internal Medicine, in Internal Medicine and Respirology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and in Pulmonology by the Greek Ministry of Health. He has authored multiple publications in his areas of interest and has been the lead investigator in both single center and multicenter trials.

Dr Hadjiliadis is currently the Paul F Harron Jr Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program, a member of the Lung Transplant Program and the Physician Lead of the Advanced Lung Disease Research Group. He sees patients with cystic fibrosis, lung transplantation and bronchiectasis at the Harron Penn Lung Center.

Apr 10

Spring 2016 Newsletter –

Sandy Tzaferos, PharmD

As I write this newsletter I cannot help but think about how fast the year has gone by since I became President. The Hellenic Societies have been busy sponsoring networking events, birthday celebrations and activities. It is my pleasure to present our quarterly newsletter

Dinner Lecture Event – December 2

Dr. Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos presented a lecture on Chronic HCV Treatment Guidelines: Best Practices for Achieving a Cure. It was held at Morton’s Steakhouse in Philadelphia. Dr. Pyrsopoulos did a great job educating 25 attendees on this topic and we hope to have him back for more!

Hellenic Medical Society of NY Scholoarship Gala – December 4

The event was held at The Plaza on Fifth Ave in New York City. It was a fun time as my husband George and I sat with Dr. Elias Iliadis and his wife Kathy at this beautiful gala!

Annual Christmas Party – December 6

Four Hellenic organizations (including HMS) hosted a Christmas Party at the Union Trust in Philadelphia. Over $1300 was donated to CLEO

Annual Vasilopita Event – January 15

Over 75 people attended our annual gathering to cut the traditional vasilopita and enjoy an amazing networking opportunity, great food and dancing. This year The Merion hosted the venue with their famous food selections. A special thank you to the presidents of our fellow Hellenic Organizations – Nikitas Moustakas, Elias Iliadis, Nikolas Yantsos and George Papas. A total of $2000 was raised from this event and donated to the Red Cross of Mytilene specifically for humanitarian  and basic items for the refugees.

New Board Members:

We welcome to our board of directors the following new members:

Dr. Nikolas Tyris, specializing in Rheumatology

Dr. Chrysoula Komis, specializing in Occupational Health and Safety experience

Apr 10

Member of the Month – Dr. Chrysoula Komis


Our member of the month is Chrysoula Komis, PhD, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM, FAIHA. She is an Occupational Safety and Health Consultant with Colden Corporation as well as an Adjunct Professor at Temple University’s College of Engineering and Drexel University’s School of Public Health.
She has been an HMS member for many years and enjoys sharing and participating in activities. Outside of her busy professional life She enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Komis brings 38 years of occupational health and safety experience working with chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, energy, food industry, laboratories, foundries, and light manufacturing clients. Her lengthy tenure with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides an invaluable perspective in helping clients overcome regulatory hurdles. As a consultant with Colden, Dr. Komis’ specialties include: litigation support and expert testimony, industrial hygiene, OSHA compliance, guidance on Voluntary Protection Programs (VPPs), hazard assessment, biosafety, laboratory safety, safety and health auditing, chemical hazard information, training, and OSHA recordkeeping review.

She holds a doctorate in industrial hygiene and toxicology and a master of science in industrial hygiene from Drexel University. She earned a bachelor of science in environmental science and biology from Marist College. She is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, a Certified Safety Professional, a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and a Registered Biosafety Professional (retired). She is also an adjunct professor at Temple University in the Departments of Public Health and Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health at Drexel University.

Dr. Komis has been an active member of the National and Philadelphia Section of the AIHA since 1977 and has served several terms as a member of local chapter’s Board of Directors. She is also a Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Colden Corporation
350 Sentry Parkway East
Building 630, Suite 110

Mar 15

Hellenic Medical Society supports the Federation of Hellenic American Society of Philadelphia’s April 17 Hellenic Independence parade

Please come and March in the Hellenic Independence parade on Sunday April 17th at 2 pm.  The Medical Society will be marching with other Hellenic organizations and wear your blue and white!  Zeto Hellas!FullSizeRender

Dec 24

Hellenic Organizations of Philadelphia to host Vasilopita Event, Friday January 15th at Merions Caterers.

Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλή Χρονιά!
Happy New Year!

The Hellenic Professional & Civic Organizations:

Hellenic Medical Society of Philadelphia
American Hellenic Lawyers Association of Greater Philadelphia
Greek American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia
Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia & Greater Delaware Valley
Hellenic University Club of Philadelphia

Invite you to join in, celebrate and welcome the New Year!

Annual Vasilopita Cutting & Dinner
Friday, January 15, 2016
The Merion
1301 Route 130 South
 Cinnaminson, NJ 08077

Proceeds of this event are donated to American Red Cross Relief efforts in Lesbos Greece to continue its Philanthropic work

IMG_5195 IMG_5207 IMG_5202 IMG_5199

Nov 22

Disease of the Month – Cerebrovascular Disorder by Dr. Michael Moussouttas

The term “cerebrovascular disorders” refers to a constellation of thromboembolic and hemorrhagic diseases of the arteries and veins that contribute to perfusion of the central nervous system (CNS). Cardioembolic processes involve intracradiac thrombi embolizing to and occluding CNS vessels, and are due to such processes as atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease with myocardial hypokinesis, or valvular problems. Thromboembolic disease involves atherosclerosis of the large vessels which arise from the heart (aorta) and travel to the neck (carotid or vertebral arteries), which may culminate in the development of thrombosis with embolization to cerebral vessels. Atherothrombotic disease involves a similar process within the large cerebral intracranial vessels, and lipohyalinosis pertains to chronic hypertrophic stenotic changes within the small penetrating cerebral arterioles that may result in lacunar infarction. Thromboembolic and atherothrombotic processes are collectively referred to as large vessel or macrovascular disease, whereas lipohyalinotic processes are considered small vessel or microvascular. Hemorrhagic cerebrovascular disease relates to rupture of small cerebral vessels causing intracerebral hemorrhage, or of larger cerebral vessel aneurysms that results in subarachnoid hemorrhage (hemorrhage into fluid surrounding the CNS). Venous sinus thrombosis and cerebral venous thrombosis relate to thrombotic events in the large cerebral venous sinuses and smaller cerebral veins respectively.

Cerebrovascular disease is currently the leading cause of disability in modernized societies such as the United States and the European Union, and is the 4th leading cause of mortality after heart disease, cancer and lung disease. Major risk factors for cerebrovascular disease include hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, inactivity, obesity, male gender and older age. Since most of the risk factors are modifiable and can be ameliorated by lifestyle changes or by medications, the risk for a cerebrovascular event can be substantially decreased and prevented if action is taken in a timely fashion. Male gender and older age represent the only nonmodifiable risk factors that cannot be changed. Reducing tobacco use, which is markedly prevalent in some Mediterranean countries and cultures, may represent a particularly important target in reducing the incidence of cerebrovascular disease.

Cerebrovascular events typically present with acute symptoms which are typically focal or lateralized, and which localize to the damaged area of the CNS – aphasia (expressive and/or receptive language dysfunction), spatial deficits (neglect and extinction), facial asymmetry, dysarthria, dysphonia, dysphagia, visual loss, hypsesthesia, and paresis. The development of any of these symptoms warrants emergent evaluation including cerebral imaging with CT or MR imaging. Radiologic imaging will demonstrate whether the process is ischemic due to vessel occlusion or hemorrhagic due to vessel rupture, and will thus dictate the most appropriate therapeutic course of action. Whereas management of intracerebral hemorrhage is limited to acute treatment of hypertension, management of subarachnoid hemorrhage involves endovascular coiling or surgical clipping of the ruptured aneurysm, and potentially the need for additional ancillary treatments for the many potential complications that may follow SAH. Cardioembolic, macrovascular thromboembolic & atherothrombotic, and microvascular processes compromise perfusion and result in cerebral (or spinal) ischemia that may progress to permanent damage, or infarction. Treatment for such ischemic processes involves the emergent administration of thrombolytic therapy in the form of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and sometimes the endovascular removal of occlusive thrombi (thrombectomy). Generally, tPA may be given within the first 4 ½ hours following an acute ischemic event, and thrombectomy may be performed within 6-8 hours after the onset of symptoms, depending on the amount of viable tissue as determined by special CT or MR perfusion scans in conjunction with CTA or MRA vessel imaging scans to identify the involved vessel.


About the author:

Doctor Moussouttas completed residency training at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, subspecialty training in Cerebrovascular Diseases at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven CT, and additional subspecialty training in Neurocritical Care at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Doctor Moussouttas is board certified in Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology, Cerebrovascular Diseases also by the American Academy of Neurology, Neurocritical Care by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties, and in Neurosonology by the American Society for Neuroimaging.

Doctor Moussouttas has participated as an investigator in numerous multicenter clinical trials, has initiated several investigator initiated research projects, and has published numerous articles on cerebrovascular and neurocritical care research in several peer reviewed journals. Doctor Moussouttas’ interests include subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, and cerebral ischemia.

Doctor Moussouttas is currently a neurointensivist in the Capital Institute for Neurosciences at Capital Regional Medical Center in Trenton NJ.

Nov 22

Member of the Month – Alexia Tsikouras, PharmD

IMG_3375 Alexia Tsikouras, PharmD

Tell us about yourself


My name is Alexia Tsikouras and I was born and raised in the Art Museum area of Philadelphia PA. I earned my Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 2008. From 2008 until early 2014 I worked for CVS Pharmacy. I now work at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, which belongs to the University of Pennsylvania Health System along with Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital.



Where do you work in the healthcare field?


At Penn Presbyterian I run the MyPenn Pharmacy program which provides medications to patients before they are discharged from the hospital. I also head the MyPenn Specialty Oncology Program, that provides oral chemotherapy medications to outpatients of the Abramson Cancer Center branch at Penn Presbyterian. Both programs provide great services to all patients.


What is your connection to Greece?


My parents are from the Epirus region of Greece, specifically a small village town 20 minutes from the main city of Ioannina. I visit that area of Greece just about every summer along with various Greek Islands and Athens. I am proud to be an Epirotisa! I am an active member of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Center City. I also attended Greek school there and was part of the Brotherhood of Demati Dance Group.


Why did you choose to become an HMS member?


I am very proud of my Greek heritage and believe the work ethic that was instilled in me by both of my parents has gotten me to where I am today professionally. HMS has given me the opportunity to give back to the community especially to students who are interested in healthcare professions. HMS gives the extended Greek community of the tristate area an opportunity to network and meet with different healthcare professionals in all areas of the healthcare field.


What do you do for fun?


I love to travel! My favorite cities are Paris, London, Miami and lets not forget the Greek Islands! I love to spend time with my family and friends!

Nov 22

Hellenic Medical Society invites members to attend Chronic HCV dinner lecture

Chronic HCV Treatment Guidelines:

Best Practices for Achieving a Cure

Dr. Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Morton’s The Steakhouse

1411 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Reservation Required, space is Limited

Please check your email for invite

Nov 03

Hellenic Medical Society joins Networking Social among Hellenic organizations, Thursday November 5, 630 pm at UBAN

Dear Colleagues,

The  Hellenic Medical society invites you to a fall Networking event among the Hellenic Professional organizations of Philadelphia.
Meet members of the  Greek American Chamber of Commerce as well as American Hellenic Lawyers Association in a causal social setting as we usher in the Holiday season.  This impromptu event gives all of us an opportunity to slow down, meet and mingle among friends.  Please bring a friend to learn about the various organizations and bring your cards!

When: Thursday November 5th

Where: UBAN, 1314 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia (Next door to BRU)

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Costs: FREE FARE for all members and friends of the Society and cash bar!

Having an evening of mingling with Greek friends,  professionals and businessman: Priceless!


Looking forward to seeing you there.

Oct 26

Hellenic Medical Society Supports Rebuilding St. Nicholas Concert.

The Hellenic Medical Society of Philadelphia is supporting the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and his Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey is efforts to rebuild St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero.

Please join the Society in support through attending this concert.

concert st nicholas