Hellenic Medical Society to Host Fall Networking Reception, November 7th at 5 pm

You’re invited to get Social!

Please join us and our Friends of the Greek American Chamber of Commerce and the Hellenic Medical Society to network with Greek professionals.

When: Tuesday, November 7, starting at 5pm!

Where: Gran Caffe L’Aquila,

1716 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA,

Cost: $10 for preregistered** members or

$20 without registration

Entry fee includes: One drink & Lite Fare

**For pre-registrations please email:


Winter Newsletter

Sandy Tzaferos, PharmD

Today I write my last newsletter as President of the Hellenic Medical Society of Philadelphia. It has truly been a great experience leading this organization and benefiting our members and the hellenic community.
Winter has been a busy one for the hellenic organizations and we continue to plan more events for the new year!

Vasilopita 2017
One of our most successful events with over 80 attendees! This event grows every year and we are proud to have hosted with Hellenic Lawyers, Chamber, University Club and Heritage Society. A $2000 donation was designated to the Ionian Village Camp in Greece that was severely damaged by a tornado. Father Evagoras was present to accept the donation. Thank you to all that attended and supported our event!

Christmas Party- December 2016
Hosted by the same organizations as our vasilopita event at La Veranda. Another successful event with a great turnout and good food! Over $1000 was raised and donated to CLEO – Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis and his efforts to educate and train Greek Physicians and healthcare professionals on proper disinfecting and handwashing.

Scholarship Opportunity
For those of you who know a medical/allied health professional student of Greek descent, please direct them to the HMSPHL.COM website. Applications are being accepted for a scholarship of up to $2000

HMS 10th year anniversary Gala
Save the date! May 5, 2018 will be our celebration of 10 years as Hellenic Medical Society of Philadelphia. This will be a black-tie gala and celebrated Greek style with dinner, dancing and honoring special people.

Finally I would like to introduce you to our new executive team and new board member:

Maria Limberis, PhD – President
Gus Orfanos – Vice President
Alexia Tsikouras, PharmD – Secretary
Leo Iliadis, MD – Treasurer
Roxane Hionis, MD – Associate Secretary

New Board Member
Paul Mastoridis, PharmD

Thank you for your support and I hope to see everyone at the social events this year! It has been my pleasure to lead HMS and do great things for the community


Sandy Tzaferos, PharmD 


Medical Society Participates in Annual Vasilopita Celebration

Χρόνια Πολλά Kαι Καλή Χρονιά!


The Philadelphia Hellenic Professional & Civic Organizations

Invite you to come and celebrate 

Dinner and Vasilopita Cutting

All Proceeds to Ionian Village to support repair efforts of the Camp.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Merion 

1301 Route 130 South

Cinnaminson, NJ 08077

$85 Members   $45 students

includes dinner & full sweets display

cash bar

Purchase your tickets online

Please copy and paste above link into browser to purchase tickets to this excellent event!



Member of the Month – Maria Limberis, PhD

Our member of the month is Dr. Maria Limberis. Maria was born in Adelaide, Australia but raised on the island of Rhodes, Greece. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain. As part of her degree, she conducted research for a year on non-viral gene therapy for cystic fibrosis in Germany at Boehringer Mannheim. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Adelaide Australia where she earned her PhD from University of Adelaide. Her graduate work focused on the development of novel gene therapies for cystic fibrosis. In 2003 she joined Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania as a post-doctoral researcher. In 2008 we was promoted to faculty and joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Currently Maria is Research Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and also the Senior Director of the Animal Models Core of the Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her main research interest is gene therapy for cystic fibrosis airway disease. Currently she is working on vector-based prophylaxis against influenza, and have partnered with Johnson & Johnson to move this program into the clinic.

Maria’s grandparents were born and raised on the islands of Rhodes and Ikaria. They migrated to Australia following the 2nd world war. Her parents were born and raised in Adelaide Australia and visited Rhodes when she was a young toddler for a 12-month project and decided to stay! Along with her 3 younger siblings she was raised and educated in Rhodes.

Maria chose to become an HMS members because she was impressed by the drive and dedication of the board members to promote education of the Hellenic Medical Community, as well as their efforts for supporting our younger members who are seeking a future in the medical field.

Like all of us, Maria has a life outside of the office and because she has spent most of her life traveling and living in many countries around the world it is not surprising that she enjoys traveling! She is also involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and fundraises through the yearly Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life event.




Medical Society Joins 2016 Christmas Celebration

The Hellenic Medical Society joined with the Hellenic American Lawyers Association, Greek American Chamber of Commerce and Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia in celebrating the Holiday season on Friday December 9 at La Veranda Resturant in Philadelphia.  Over 70 Hellenes and Phil-hellenes mingled and enjoyed the holiday cheer including a special guest Ioannis Melissanidis, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and current Special Olympics Ambassador.

We Wish all a Merry Christmas and Happy and healthy New Year.

HMS Member Kathy Iliadis with Chamber Member Chris Kotsakis at the 2016 Christmas Party.
HMS Member Kathy Iliadis with Chamber Member Chris Kotsakis at the 2016 Christmas Party.
Chamber Member Peter Lazaropoulos and Joanna Savvadies and friends at 2016 Holiday Party.
Chamber Member Peter Lazaropoulos and Joanna Savvadis and friends at 2016 Holiday Party.
HMS board members Costas Orfanos and Maria Limberis celebrate with Chamber members Michael Symonidies and Paul Mehalonis at 2016 Holiday Party
HMS board members Costas Orfanos and Maria Limberis celebrate with Chamber members Michael Symeonides and Paul Mehalonis at 2016 Holiday Party
HMS board Member Ellie Kelepouris with Dean George Tsesekos and Georgia Athanasopulos, Consul General and Emmanul Petragiannis of La Veranda
HMS board Member Ellie Kelepouris with Drexel Dean George Tsetsekos and Georgia Athanasopulos, Consul General
and Emmanuel Petragiannis of La Veranda
HUC President Katerina Dimitriadis and HMS board member Elias Iliadis with Ioannis Melissanidis at 2016 Holiday party.
HUC President Katerina Dimitriadis and HMS board member Elias Iliadis with Ioannis Melissanidis at 2016 Holiday party.




Join us for a complimentary dinner symposium

Zika Virus – What You Need To Know

By: Dr. Michael J. Barnish

Infectious Disease specialist board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine and certified by the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Tuesday, October 25th


Cooper University Hospital

1 Cooper Plaza

Camden, NJ 08103

ROOM P1007

Free Parking; Complimentary dinner and appetizers will be served



Autumn 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Hellenic Medical Society Philadelphia

Summer has ended and everyone is back from Greece! This was one of my best trips to Greece visiting family, beautiful islands and enjoying the best beaches in the world!  I don’t know about you, but every year when I return from a trip to Greece, I have what we call sophrosyne – which is a healthy state of mind, characterized by self control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self and resulting in true happiness. No wonder why I go every year!

HMS will be ramping up activities after the summer season. We welcome everyone to join us for our social events. Here is a recap of activities from this year:

HUC Gala Event – In March HMS board members joined friends to celebrate the club’s 80th year at the Merion Cricket Club. It was a fun night especially looking at 8 decades worth of photos and memorabilia!

Greek Independence Day Parade: In April, I was proud to march with my fellow board members Maria Limberis, Alexia Tsikouras, Roxann Hionis and Elia Iliadis. We were excited to march along with  Greece’s Presidential Guard – The Evzones. It was a beautiful day all around!

Dinner event: In May 20 people attended an excellent dinner with our own Dr. Frances Zapalla speaking on Use of Vitamin Therapy in Clinical Practice. Billy Cheretis from Clinicians Choice sponsored this very successful event held at Cafe Aldo Lambertis in Cherry Hill

Stay tuned for events this fall and winter. We will be bringing you dinner lectures, holiday parties and networking events. We are looking for members! Encourage your doctor, pharmacist, physical therapist, dentist nurse or any allied health professional to join our club. Are you looking to give back to your heritage? Consider becoming a board member of HMS – contact me for details –

Sandy Tzaferos, PharmD




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.


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


HMS Newsletter spring2016