Equity Hero:
Dr. Kimon Bekelis

Babylon, New York
“I am humbled that our efforts to provide the best care every time to every member of our community with a stroke are being recognized by the American Stroke Association. Our team will continue their unwavering commitment to superior clinical care, research, education, and quality improvement as we are expanding to more communities across Long Island.” – Kimon Bekelis, MD

Thanks to his forethought, planning and persistence, Dr. Kimon Bekelis provides the patients at the Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center at Good Samaritan on Long Island lifesaving care. His dedication to health equity led to the creation of the center, which has helped fill a void in care on the underserved South Shore of Long Island.

While researching stroke patient outcomes on Long Island, Dr. Bekelis discovered disparities based on race, income level and geography. His findings showed that preventable deaths and disability were more common among underserved populations and people of lower socioeconomic status, who didn’t have access to proper acute stroke therapy.

Dr. Bekelis lobbied for the development of the multi-million dollar Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center so all patients on Long Island could have equal access to lifesaving stroke care. The only comprehensive stroke center on Long Island’s South Shore, patients receive treatment, regardless of their demographics or their ability to pay for care.

The stroke center has expanded inclusive access to high-quality stroke care on Long Island. It’s helped close gaps in care, improving outcomes among underserved patients on the South Shore.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bekelis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to health equity. He’s motivated by the core belief that everyone deserves an equal chance at the best possible health outcome. He uses his research to bring awareness to inequities and to support policy changes that improve equitable access to high-quality care. He has also worked to translate his research findings into on-the-ground changes based on evidence-based care.

Dr. Bekelis’s passion for serving his community expands beyond acute stroke care. He has implemented screening programs and stroke-prevention education initiatives in disadvantaged communities to provide knowledge and resources to at-risk individuals. He has also recruited a diverse team of specialists, nurses and support staff at the Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center to provide culturally competent care and more inclusive treatment.

Although the South Shore’s stroke outcomes have improved, Dr. Bekelis continues to conduct research, treat patients and provide community outreach to lead to even greater patient outcomes.