Faculty Friday Spotlight: Dr. Athena Andreadis
Like many of her classmates, Athena Andreadis, MD '07 had never given Caribbean medical schools much thought before she decided to apply to medical school. A high school friend had good things to say about AUC: excellent faculty, fabulous place to live, and close ties to residency programs in the United States. "I put my application in and was accepted, and a few short weeks after first hearing about AUC, I boarded a plane bound for the Caribbean," said Dr. Andreadis.
She found a welcoming environment in Sint Maarten, and was active in student life, serving as class representatives and then vice president of the Student Government Association. She also pursued her interest in research, and published a research article while doing her clinical rotations in Miami. After graduating in 2007, she matched into the internal medicine residency program at Canton Medical Education Foundation in Canton, Ohio, not far from where she grew up and went to college at Otterbein University.
After residency, Dr. Andreadis stayed in Canton and practiced for five years as a hospitalist at Aultman Hospital. She also taught at Northeast Ohio Medical University. But when the opportunity to return to her alma mater presented itself, she took it. Andreadis joined the AUC faculty in 2015.
Returning to AUC as a Member of the Teaching Faculty
She teaches all five semesters of Introduction to Clinical Medicine, and has been the course director for ICM II since her arrival. She is the Acting Chair of the AUC Faculty Senate and also serves on the university’s admissions committee.
“Sharing my knowledge and experiences with my students is a humbling experience. Every time I walk into a lecture hall or small group room and see the spark of comprehension and hunger for knowledge in my students’ eyes, I am reminded of my own time here at AUC as a student,” she said.
Dr. Andreadis said her residency experience helped shape her as an educator. She served as chief resident during her third year of residency, mentoring fellow residents, interns, medical students, nursing students, and others. “This role taught me that sharing my knowledge with others and having them use that knowledge to improve the lives and health of their patients is an extraordinary gift,” she said.
From Rural Ohio to the Caribbean
Dr. Andreadis grew up on a farm, and rode horses through the trails of Bethlehem Township. While life in Sint Maarten might seem a drastic shift in surroundings, there are few more enthusiastic promoters of island life than Andreadis. She speaks highly of the island’s culinary offerings, beautiful beaches, and many outlets for outdoor adventure. Her husband Drew owns and operates the Red Piano, a piano bar and nightclub in Pelican Key.
And like many AUC alumni, Dr. Andreadis has a fondness for the people of Sint Maarten. “The people here hail from all over the world to create a cultural masterpiece of spirit, heart, resilience, and community. I am inspired by their love and caring for one another,” she said.
Even amidst the island’s many delights, teaching remains her great passion. Dr. Andreadis identifies with the students who arrive in Sint Maarten ready for the adventure of medical school in a different country, anxious to succeed. One of her favorite events at AUC is the White Coat Ceremony to induct first-semester students into the study of medicine. Andreadis enjoys helping the new students don their white coats. “Our students come from a vast array of backgrounds and all tell a unique story of perseverance and exemplify the resilience of the human spirit,” she said. “Each student who walks through my door has the potential to become an exceptional physician, to impact the lives of thousands of patients, and to educate the next generation of student physicians who in turn will go on to do the same.”