Celebrated Physician Konstantinos Loupasakis MD

By MedStar Health

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Like so many other physicians, Konstantinos Loupasakis, MD, has never outgrown his childhood fascination with the many complexities of the human body and how it works. But what has interested him more are cases when the body doesn’t work so well—when autoimmune diseases or similar disorders cause built-in defense mechanisms to turn against bones, joints and muscles—and what can be done to treat patients deal with the resulting pain, fatigue and other potentially debilitating symptoms.

After medical school in his native Crete and a residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center at the Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Loupasakis chose the rheumatology fellowship program at Weill Cornell Medical College’s Hospital for Special Surgery, for its emphasis on research.

“My lab time was truly instrumental in broadening my horizons, and allowing me to better understand these diseases,” Dr. Loupasakis says. “My hope was that I could find a job that would combine patient care with an opportunity to teach.”

Joining the MedStar Team

Dr. Loupasakis found that ideal combination at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. In addition to serving as an attending physician in rheumatology, he oversees the immunology curriculum for the Hospital Center’s rheumatology fellowship program. He also supervises training fellows in the lupus and arthritis clinics.

In both roles, Dr. Loupasakis says, communication is as important as medical knowledge and technical skill. But conveying the mechanisms of complex immunological diseases to patients is understandably more challenging, particularly when the cause and progression of some conditions are not yet fully understood.

“Many diseases of the immune system are chronic, even if symptoms ease to some extent,” Dr. Loupasakis explains. “Patients need to understand what specific medications do for their condition, and why it’s important for them to stick with them, as well as follow up with lab work and other treatment.”

Approach to Patient Care and Research

Developing relationships that may well last for several years is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of his work.

“I get to know my patients very well, and contribute to improving their quality of life over the long term,” Dr. Loupasakis adds. “Not all specialties have that.”

Dr. Loupasakis remains actively engaged in research. He recently was co-investigator for a study of a new medication for lupus, and hopes to pursue future work on lupus and rheumatoid arthritis research projects.