Dr F. Bacopoulou, Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Adolescent Medicine

Dr. Flora Bacopoulou is Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Adolescent Medicine at the Center for Adolescent Medicine and UNESCO Chair in Adolescent Health Care, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, at the largest ‘Aghia Sophia’ Children’s Hospital in Athens, Greece. She has for over a decade (since 2009) been heading the “Center for Adolescent Medicine” (http://ephebiatrics.med.uoa.gr/). This Center, engaged in the promotion of research in the field of Adolescent Medicine and Health Care, is the first Statutory ‘Adolescent-friendly health service’ in Greece that meets the World Health Organization standards for health service provision to adolescents, recognized officially by the Hellenic Ministry of Health and Welfare for training and specialization of medical, nursing and other health care personnel (Government Gazette 1936/14-12-2010). The Center has served as a prototype for the development of other adolescent health centers in Greece and the Balkans, as several health care professionals have been trained through the Center.

Dr. Bacopoulou is highly qualified. She holds a Pharmacy Degree (1992), a Medical Degree (1998) and a PhD degree in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics (2009), awarded by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has specialized knowledge in the field of life sciences of Adolescent Medicine. The ‘Adolescent-friendly’ Center, which she directs, is a referral Center for adolescents aged 10-21 years all over Greece which provides services in almost all the fields of Adolescent Medicine and Health Care i.e. adolescent physical and mental health, prevention and health promotion, chronic diseases/disabilities, eating disorders, endocrinology, sexual and reproductive health. To promote psychological well-being and protect adolescents from risk-taking, Dr. Bacopoulou has validated in Greek many mental health screening tools. She advocates supportive family environments and has translated in Greek the book ‘A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Τeens’, by the American Academy of Pediatrics. To combat the epidemic of adolescent obesity in Greece, Dr. Bacopoulou has led three important research programs (funded by the private sector and the European Union) and has established a statutory “Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine Clinic” (Government Gazette 1261/11-4-2017) to promote youth participation in physical activity and exercise. She was an active participant in two research programs (funded by Fondation Santé and John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation) on Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome (MRKH), a female reproductive disorder.

She also heads the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Committee of the Hellenic Ministry of Health, with the mandate pursuant to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8 to ‘Achieve access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all’.

Academic Work and Professional Activities: Dr. Bacopoulou has engaged in extensive academic work and vast professional activities. She specialized in Pediatrics (2001-2004) in the United Kingdom (Prince Charles Hospital, George Eliot Hospital, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham Children’s Hospital) and further subspecialized for 5 years in Adolescent Medicine, in the scientific fields of General Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric-Adolescent Endocrinology, Pediatric-Adolescent Gynecology, Pediatric-Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. She  also completed an International Visiting Scholar Program in Adolescent Medicine at the Michigan State University in USA (2008) as well as the International Fellowship of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (IFEPAG) (2006-2008), under the auspices of the Fédération Internationale de Gynecologie Infantile et Juvenile (FIGIJ).

Dr. Bacopoulou has wide-ranging international experience. She has been a Guest Researcher (2015) and Visiting Clinical Professor (2017) in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Bethesda, USA and a Special Volunteer (2015) and Visiting Professor (2017) in the ‘Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Program’ at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC in USA.

Commitment to Education, Teaching activities, Mentoring: Dr. Bacopoulou runs an active e-learning program in Adolescent Medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens entitled “Psychosomatic and Cognitive Development, Reproductive Health, Nutrition, Sports & Adolescent Stress”, as well as  an elective course “Child and Adolescent Development and Behavior-Adolescent Medicine” of the School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She teaches in 6 undergraduate and 17 postgraduate university courses and has supervised 10 Master of Science projects and 7 PhD research dissertations. Pursuit of science and inculcating scientific outlook among the younger generation, particularly young women, has been a main plank of her professional activities.

Dr. Bacopoulou organized a “Clinic for Assessment of Learning Difficulties” (Hellenic Ministry of Health Γ3α/Γ.Π.10117/09.02.2018) to promote education for vulnerable adolescents throughout Greece. Her academic pursuits include research on the effects of pediatric cancer on the neurocognitive functions of childhood cancer survivors and improving their learning and quality of life through special educational interventions. This contributes to the implementation of the Incheon Declaration, adopted by UNESCO General Conference in 2015.

Special Focus on Fostering UNESCO’s Mission as a Women Scientist: Dr.  Bacopoulou has been taking keen interest in promoting UNESCO’s actions and programmatic work. Since 2010, the “Center for Adolescent Medicine” which she directs, hosts the UNESCO Chair in Adolescent Health Care. In keeping with the objectives of the UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021, she has embraced a holistic ‘Resilience’ approach to empower youth to develop capacity/skills for social inclusion and transition to adulthood. In collaboration with the UNESCO Associated Schools (ASPnet) in Greece, she has made many educational presentations, and has introduced the World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘Standards for adolescent reproductive health education’ in Athens in 2013. Being focused on young women’s health, Dr. Bacopoulou organized in Athens the honorary Meeting for ‘George Papanikolaou Anniversary Year 2012’ on prevention of cervical cancer, under the auspices of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO. She was an active participant at the 25th anniversary of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which was organized on the sidelines of 39th session of UNESCO General Conference in 2017 at UNESCO, Paris.

Contribution to the Implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):                             Dr. Bacopoulou accords high priority to the United Nations Development Agenda, especially to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health and education, and the implementation of their elaborate framework. In line with SDG 3.8Achieve access to quality essential health-care services’, she offers equal access of girls and boys to sexual and reproductive care, through collaboration with the National Network of Family Planning Services for referral of Adolescents and Young People up to 21 years old (Hellenic Ministry of Health Γ3δ/ΓΦ12,25,27/Γ.Π/οικ.20708, 17-03-2016). Dr. Bacopoulou is the head of a statutory tertiary Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Clinic” (Government Gazette 1261/11-4-2017).

Multidisciplinary approach adopted by Dr. Bacopoulou is reflected in her work on SDG 8:Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’. In line with SDG 16.2 ‘Protect children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence’, she actively participates in a ‘Child Abuse’ multidisciplinary team, and has raised awareness on child maltreatment through translation in Greek of the book ‘ABC of Child Protection’ (BMJ Books). Professional work, research and awareness raising activities of Dr. Bacopoulou have covered comprehensively the SDG3: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’, SDG5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, as well as SDG4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

 Participation in the Programs of European Union: Dr. Bacopoulou led in 2013-2014 a screening program for adolescent metabolic syndrome with portable telemedicine in 27 high schools that was funded by the European Union (code number MIS 371406) and received Best Practice Award. In line with SDG 16.AStrengthen national institutions to prevent violence and combat crime and terrorism’, she is currently participating in the European program PRINCE - Preparedness Response for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) INCidEnts (code 815362, Horizon 2020) (https://www.isfp-prince.eu/).

 Contribution to the Scholarly Advancement of Life Sciences - Adolescent Health & Medicine:

A large number of publications (113 research papers in international peer-reviewed journals, Google Scholar citations=1015, h-index=15, i10-index=24) by Dr. Bacopoulou  (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=LPLx6X4AAAAJ&hl=en) bear evidence to her scholarly accomplishments and show the spirit of scientific excellence. She has co-authored 12 chapters and has participated in the editing of 3 books and in National/International conferences/meetings with 153 presentations. She is a collaborating Researcher at the University Research Institute of Maternal and Child Health & Precision Medicine of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (https://universityresearchinstitute.gr/en/institute/). She has participated in 7 externally funded research programs. She is Review Editor in the peer-reviewed journals ‘Frontiers in Reproductive Health’ (https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/reproductive-health/sections/reproductive-epidemiology#editorial-board) and ‘Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare’ (https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/clinical-diabetes-and-healthcare/sections/diabetes-nutrition-and-dietetics#editorial-board). She is also Guest Editor of the Special Issue ‘Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management’ in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Children’ (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/children/special_issues/Obesity_Weight_Management).

Managing and Overcoming COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis: In her work Dr. Bacopoulou has given special consideration to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents. She has published several papers relevant to the pandemic research about the molecular mechanisms of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and potential anti-COVID19 pharmacological targets, COVID-19 features in children and adolescents, obesity in children and adolescents during the pandemic and the impact of COVID-19 during pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes.  

National and International Impact & Recognition: Professional activities and research work of Dr. Bacopoulou, imbued with a scientific approach to health-related issues and applied research focused on practical solutions, make her a distinguished scientist. She has incorporated the adolescent medicine subspecialty rotation within the National Pediatric Residency Program in Greece. She has raised national public debate on adolescent health issues through 10 conferences she has organized and hosted. Moreover, she has collaborated with several eminent researchers and teaching staff of other institutions in Greece as well as elsewhere in Europe, the Balkans and the United States. International recognition of her work is evident from the fact that she has been an invited speaker in nearly 100 National and International conferences and scientific events. Her wide-ranging publications bear as well evidence to her recognition by the scientific community. She serves as a Reviewer for high impact scientific journals and has received 8 distinctions/awards for her research in the field of Adolescent Health and Medicine. Dr. Bacopoulou is the Greek delegate within the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) Multidisciplinary Joint Committee for Adolescent Medicine, and she represents the Hellenic Ministry of Health within the European Commission network for Health Technology Assessment (HTA).

 Interactions with Scientific Community and Social Networks/Websites: Dr. Flora Bacopoulou is member of many National and International scientific societies such as the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC), the International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) and the Online Learning Committee of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) (https://www.eurospe.org/about/committees/education-training-committee/e-learning-committee/). She is member of the scientific committee for the Public Health initiative of the Bodossaki Foundation in Greece. She is founding member of the Hellenic Society for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and Health Care.

She is member of ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Flora-Bacopoulou), ORCID (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1001-0926), Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=LPLx6X4AAAAJ&hl=en), Scopus (https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=15052985600),  the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health Community (https://www.docmatter.com/dm/app/profile/person/?id=122317&tab=2), Medscape (https://www.medscape.com/profile?scode=msp&client=205502) and Academia (https://en-uoa-gr.academia.edu/FloraBacopoulou).