49: Survival of the Kindest: Dr Panagis Galiatstatos – Knowledge of the Community

Panagis was brought up in the warm hearted and closely knit Greek community in Baltimore. He found that he was naturally good at studying. This was no big deal to either him or his friends. His ability in studying was the same as his friend’s athletic ability. Panagis decided that he would become a doctor. After all, no one from his community became a doctor so it would be good for everyone. He had no idea what being a doctor would be like, but he went ahead and trained anyway.

Once he had qualified, Panagis worked in the Johns Hopkins Hospital, near to where he was brought up. Listening in to consultations, he found the advice given to people he knew well from his community was inappropriate. Being told to exercise by walking in a place where someone had been murdered the previous day just wasn’t going to happen. Knowledge of the community, knowledge of people’s lives and the circumstances in which they live, is critical to helping them to avoid disease, lead healthy lifestyles, get regular check ups and manage disease as best as possible in the community once it has arrived. Along with a colleague, he cofounded Medicine for the Greater Good. This programme has grown enormously, and is being rolled out in other centres that make up the Johns Hopkins group of Hospitals.

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