Dr. Elias Bartellas likes to joke that most of his colleagues were at one time or another his students. He says it with a chuckle, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Over his many years mentoring young doctors and practicing medicine, Bartellas has developed a profound enjoyment of the process of moulding young minds.
“Practicing medicine — you have to believe in it. If you believe in it and you like it and you think it’s a worthwhile cause then you practice what you teach or you teach what you practice. I’ve been fortunate to work in a very encouraging atmosphere,” he said.
For his efforts, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has named Bartellas Mentor of the Year for the Atlantic region.
The award is prestigious, with only a handful of physicians selected from each region every year.
The award is designed to recognize physicians who have made significant impacts on the education of residents/fellows.
Bartellas was told in November that he would be getting the award. It will take the form of a plaque that will be presented during a small ceremony at a later date.
Getting that phone call was a humbling moment, said Bartellas.
“It’s an honour. It makes me feel like what I’ve done and what I’m continuing to do is worthwhile,” he said.
Born and raised in the Republic of Cyprus, Bartellas has spent more than 30 years in St. John’s as an obstetrician/gynecologist. He is primarily a clinician, but also spent 30 years as an assistant professor at Memorial University’s School of Medicine. He is currently a clinical associate professor at MUN in the department of obstetrics and gynecology.
Bartellas received his medical degree at Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel, under a World Health Organization scholarship. He finished his residency in Ashkelon, Israel. But following the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in the early 1970s, Bartellas decided to move to Canada. He repeated his residency through MUN.
Throughout his career, Bartellas has been involved in research projects, the implementation of programs and has travelled internationally to volunteer in disaster zones.
He’s had a long list of accomplishments, but that doesn’t diminish this most recent accolade, he said.
“I was extremely glad to get it and I was humbled — when I saw the names of the other people who got it before me ... three very prominent doctors whom I adore and whom I think I’m not at their level ... so I was up in the clouds,” he said.