Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis named inaugural director of the new Columbia Global Centers | Athens

October 05, 2023

Columbia Global is pleased to welcome Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis to lead the recently launched Columbia Global Center in Athens, Greece. A physician and public health researcher and leader, Zaoutis comes to this position having most recently served as president of the Greek National Public Health Organization (also known as the Greek Centers for Disease Control). He is a tenured professor of pediatrics at the National and Kapodistrian University School of Medicine in Athens, a former professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and, most recently, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.   

To this role, Zaoutis brings deep experience coordinating international programs of large, complex organizations in research, academia and practice. At Kapodistrian, he led efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the refugee crisis in Greece as well as to modernize the Organization, revamping epidemiological data systems for future preparedness and response efforts. He fostered relationships with international partners, served on the European Union Health Security Council, and initiated the effort for the Greek health organization to join the International Association of Public Health Institutes. In 2011, he founded an NGO, the Collaborative Center for Clinical Epidemiology in Greece, which has been shortlisted for the European Commission’s EU Health award.

“Theo has vast experience in academia and as a public health leader in some of the world's most respected institutions in the US and Greece,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, executive vice president for Columbia Global. “He is well positioned to build partnerships with key stakeholders in country and to advance collaborations between Columbia and Greece."

“The Global Centers provide Columbia with an unparalleled opportunity to work with academics and practitioners around the world,” said Columbia University President Minouche Shafik. “The Center in Athens will enable learning from and contributing to the vibrant innovation, academic and cultural life of the country.”

Zaoutis received his B.S. in biology from the State University of New York at Stonybrook, his M.D. from the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and his Ph.D. from the School of Medicine of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

“I am thrilled to take on this role as Columbia makes a commitment to strengthening ties with Greece and the region,” Zaoutis said. “Sitting at geo-political, cultural and geographic crossroads between the West and East, Greece is an exciting touchpoint for the university – the possibilities for collaboration and learning are endless.”

About the Columbia Global Centers | Athens
The Athens Center is one of 11 Global Centers Columbia established in cities around the world including Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Rio, Santiago, Tel Aviv and Tunis. Columbia University launched the Athens Center in November 2022 to engage faculty, students and in-country partners on priority issues related to climate change; migration and international affairs; business and innovation; classics and ancient studies; arts and culture; global health and preparedness; and medicine, among others.

The Global Centers were created to create opportunities for shared learning and dialogue. They serve as regional hubs for training, research, and collaboration, linking local experts and institutions to Columbia’s academic and scientific resources and vice versa. The Global Centers are part of the broader Columbia Global initiative, which also harnesses the work of the Committee for Global Thought, Columbia World Projects and the Institute for Ideas & Imagination for the greater good.