By Ron VandenBoom
Wide open spaces, cold weather, and summer misquotes are
not expected to bother Chinook's new doctor.
"I've been told about the mosquitoes around here and can
deal with that," said Angeliki Kosmatopoulou, the new doctor
at the Chinook Medical Center. "I enjoy this lifestyle. I
enjoy the outdoors and I enjoy cross country skiing."
She said she also enjoys some downhill skiing, but so far
this year, she hasn't found the time to try the downhill
slopes south of Havre.
"I have tried it in the past though," she said.
Kosmatopoulou, a native of Greece, first came to the United
States after finishing medical school.
She wanted to do her residency in pediatrics in the United
States because of the quality of the training at the
She also saw the United States as a way to expedite her
entry into a residency practice, something she would not be
able to do in her native Greece.
Kosmatopoulou said in the Greek system, you don't get hired
for residency based on your qualifications, "it's a matter
of waiting your turn."
Kosmatopoulou said she would have to wait four or five
years before she would get a chance to enter residency and
that would be a waste of valuable time. And she knew what
she wanted to do as soon as she graduated from high school.
"It was much more convenient for me to come over here and
start training right away," she said.
That too is different in Greece than in the United States,
High school graduates wanting to become doctors in the
United States will normally have to complete a four-year
bachelor's degree before entering medical school.
In Greece, a graduate that knows what they want to do with
their life, can start six years of medical school right out
of high school and avoid four years of learning subjects
that have little to do with being a doctor.
Kosmatopoulou started her residency in the small town of
Marshfield, Wis., where she completed her training. On
finishing, she remained to work for about a year before
hearing from some friends that a position was available in
"So I'm here," she said.
She completed her boards in October and hung out her
shingle in November.
Kosmatopoulou said she likes living in Chinook.
"I like the independence of being in a small place as
opposed to a big clinic where you have CEOs telling you what
to do," she said.
Her speciality is pediatrics, but fewer children in the
smaller towns of Chinook and Havre means she also treats
adults. She works with patients at Sweet Memorial Nursing
Home and also has admitting privileges at Northern Montana
Since being in Chinook, Kosmatopoulou has visited most of
the local sights including the Bear Paw Battlefield and the
Blaine County Museum. She has also toured Havre Beneath the
Streets and said she is somewhat familiar with the major
events in western history.
She is also looking into adult education opportunities and
said she enjoyed the recent Montana Actor's Theatre
production of London Suite.
But what might appeal to her most are the people.
"The people are very nice," she said. "I've been impressed
by how friendly and openhearted people are here."
Kosmatopoulou said she hopes to stay in the area and build
up her practice while becoming more involved in local
activities. But in those moments when there is little to do,
a good book will suffice.
"I love to read and that's something I can always do even
in the small town," she said.
Kosmatopoulou said she also enjoys learning foreign
languages and is currently working on improving her Spanish.
It's a chore that will probably not take long after all,
she already speaks English