HomeCommunityDr Theodora Terzis on how Hippocrates' philosophy inspires her work at Soma...

Dr Theodora Terzis on how Hippocrates’ philosophy inspires her work at Soma Medical

Author

Date

Category

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, once said: ‘Healthy mind in a healthy body.’ This philosophy is something which Dr Theodora Terzis lives by and practices at her doctor’s practice, Soma Medical.

To find out more about Dr Terzis, The Greek Herald had a quick chat with her and this is what she had to say.

1. Tell us about your Greek heritage and upbringing.

My father was born in a very small village called Chovoli (population in 2011 was 85 people), in Kalavrita, Greece. My mum came from a very cosmopolitan city in comparison, called Dali which is in Nicosia, Cyprus. They met in Australia in the early 80s, got married and had two children, my younger brother Peter and myself.

From a young age, they instilled in us a love for our Greek culture and heritage – it was very important for them to pass on their history, religion, culture, values and stories to their children, not only as a way of continuing our language and traditions but to help them remain connected to their family, to their ‘patrida’– it was the last piece of home that they had.

As far as a Greek upbringing goes, I would say that I had a very typical upbringing for a child of Greek migrant parents. I went to Greek dancing, Greek afternoon school in primary school and Sunday School. I went on to study Greek in high school, coming second in the state in what was called 3-unit Greek at the time, and then even went on to convince my lecturers to allow me to study Greek whilst enrolled in a Medical Science course at the University of Sydney.

To me, my Greek heritage is who I am. Understanding my roots and where I come from has always helped me to understand my place in the world – after all, a person without knowledge of their origin is like a tree without roots. It is also how I want to raise my kids.

2. Why did you decide to study medicine and become a doctor?

As a young girl, I had a best friend whose dad was a doctor. He remains a prominent figure in the Greek community and together with his family they have helped many people, always striving for justice and the promotion of Greek culture and language. I saw him as a pillar of inspiration.

I had to overcome many obstacles to get to where I am today. I was told many times along the way that I would never make it. After experiencing the impact of disease on a personal level through my dad, it further solidified my determination to succeed. It became important to me to be the doctor that I wish he had – someone who would offer support and care to him, help prevent suffering and advocate for people, especially for those that have difficulty speaking the language or navigating the healthcare system.

3. Tell us a little bit about your career background.

I am a fully qualified General Practioner, completing my medical studies in 2013. I have since worked in a number of medical practices and hospitals across Sydney. 

Before starting General Practice, I worked at RPA Hospital across a wide range of specialties, where I developed a special interest in Paediatrics, Women’s Health, Geriatric and Rehabilitation Medicine and Hospital in the Home services.

When I first started in General Practice, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for some wonderful Greek doctors in the Canterbury-Bankstown area. At this time, a very well respected, family-oriented GP by the name of Dr John Macarounas was looking to retire and asked me to take over care of some of his patients. Dr Macarounas’ legacy of being the traditional family GP that knows and cares for the family from cradle to grave is what is important for me to carry on in my practice. This is how Soma Medical was born.

After moving around a lot in the last few years of my training, I wanted to open up a practice of my own, in an area that was convenient for my patients. Soma Medical is a practice that aims to provide general medical care to patients of all ages with any medical conditions. ‘Healthy mind in a healthy body’ from Hippocrates (the ‘father of modern medicine’) stresses the importance of focusing on the relationship between body and mind, which is the philosophy of Soma Medical. Our aim is to provide whole-person care to our patients.

4. What are the challenges / rewards of your job?

The rewards are too many to mention! Medicine is a noble profession that has taught me a lot about humanity, life and virtues such as compassion, the desire to relieve human suffering and the sacred bond between doctor and patient. I am honestly humbled by my patients every single day.

The challenges are also many. As we have seen with the pandemic, our environment is always changing, new viruses can emerge at any time and we as doctors have to be ready for such a response. We have to remain up-to-date with information, resourceful and ready to make difficult decisions to protect, treat and care for the most vulnerable in our communities.

5. Do you encourage other females to study medicine? Why / Why not?

Absolutely! Studies have shown that female GPs, especially, tend to listen more and hence their patients often tend to fare better!

6. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I just want to reiterate what I’ve said before. The last few years have been very challenging for all of us as we have tried to navigate the COVID-9 pandemic. If it has taught us anything, it is how important it is to have a good, reliable GP, who knows you, knows your family, understands your history and cares.

This is the only way we can tackle misinformation, fear, anxiety and actually get the advice we need to help us make the right decisions for us and our family. We want to be there in the good times and the bad, not just to sign medical certificates and hand out prescriptions!

Recent posts