Executive Committee Members
Merimna - Who We Are
The Executive Committee is comprised of the President, the Secretary and the Treasurer. Merimna’s Board of Directors consists of nine members:
Danai Papadatou (President)
Professor of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Chrysoula Lemonidou (Secretary)
Professor of Nursing and Head of Faculty of Nursing at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Maria Wasielewski (Treasurer)
Registered Nurse, Counseling Psychotherapist
Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist working in Athens at the NHS Community Mental Health Centre of Peristeri
Educator – Early Childhood Education Advisor
Pediatrician – Doctor of Social Medicine and Former Director of the Social Medicine Department, P & A Kyriakou Children’s Hospital
Professor of Developmental Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Professor of School Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Danai PapadatouPresident of Merimna
Professor of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Danai Papadatou is a psychologist with clinical experience in pediatric oncology. She is a Professor of Clinical Psychology since 1988, and teaches at the Dept of Nursing of the School of Health Sciences, of the National and Kapodistrian University in Athens from which she retired in September 2022. Her clinical experience, research interests, and publications focus on issues related to pediatric palliative care, childhood and family bereavement, community trauma, and issues related to the psychological effects of caring for dying children and their families upon professionals. The past few years, her experience has been enriched by the undertaking of a research project on the psychosocial support of unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece, by her involvement in the training of field workers who support them, and the development of a post-graduate course. She has received several international awards for her teaching, research, publications and community service in pediatric palliative care, death education, and childhood bereavement support, including awards from the Children Hospice International (1989), the Association for Death Education and Counseling (2001), the Robert Fulton Center for Death Education and Bioethics, University of Winsconsin La Crosse (2012), the International Center for the Study of Childhood Loss, Bereavement and Human Resilience, Israel (2019). She is a member and has served as chair of the Board of Directors of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (1999-2002), an association of leaders in thanatology across the world. In 2022 she was honored by its mebers with the “Herman Feifel Award in recognition of her outstanding achievement in thanatology”. She is a founding member and chair of “Merimna’s” board of directors.
Chrysoula LemonidouMerimna's Secretary
Professor of Nursing and Head of the Faculty of Nursing at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
She has a long career in education, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Faculty of Nursing, as well as within the framework of the ERASMUS program. For The last decade, her interest in research and writing has been focused on issues regarding ethics and deontology in the healthcare industry. As a nurse, she worked at “Laiko” General Hospital and served as its director of Nursing Service from 1986 to 1996. She was the representative of the Greek Ministry of Health in the Advisory Committee on Training in Nursing and still is in the World Health Organization for Nursing. She is a founding member of Merimna and was the Secretary of its Board of Directors from 2000 till 2012 and since 2022 to present.
Maria WasielewskiMerimna's Treasurer
Counseling Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse
She is a counseling psychotherapist and an R.N. She has worked as a career counselor (American Community School of Greece) and as a nurse in the U.S. and in Greece. She also worked as a supportive psychotherapist with kidney dialysis patients at Hygeia Hospital in Athens. Today she works in private practice with individuals, families and groups, specializing in issues regarding the support of people who are experiencing chronic illness and loss. She has training and experience with hypnosis and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). She has considerable experience with volunteer work in NGO’s and is currently the Volunteer Supervisor for Merimna. She is a founding member of Merimna and has been in the position of Treasurer since 2004.
Pediatrician – Doctor of Social Medicine – Former Director of the Social Medicine Department, 2nd Pediatric Clinic of the University of Athens, “P & A Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital
As a scholar of the Fogarty International of the National Institute of Health (NIH), she worked as a researcher in the Department of Social Pediatrics, University of North Carolina (USA), and later in the Institute of Child Health in Greece. She founded the Social Medicine Department in “P & A Kyriakou“ Children’s Hospital (the only one in Greece) and served as its President for a decade. Through that, she contributed to the determination of the needs of vulnerable children and families in crisis, the planning of interdisciplinary intervention and the connection of families with the services and supportive networks within their communities.
She was the General Secretary of the European Society for Social Pediatrics (2003-2011). She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Task Force for the promotion of health in hospitals for children and teenagers, a member of the Think and Action Tank (TAT) for the rights of children and health, a member of the Board of Directors of the Greek Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and Vice President of the Society “Read to Grow”. She is a founding member of Merimna and served as the Secretary of its Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000, and since 2011-2022.
Professor of School Psychology in the Faculty of Philosophy and Director of the Center of Research and Applications of School Psychology, Department of Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
She studied psychology in the Psychology Department, Faculty of Philosophy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She completed her postgraduate studies at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, from where she received her PhD in School and Counseling Psychology. Furthermore, she served as a post-doctoral research fellow and a scientific collaborator in the Max-Plank Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin.
She has worked in mental health centers and schools in the U.S.A and Greece. She has a long career as an educator and researcher, as she was a professor in the University of Thessaly. She also teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Psychology Department of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Athens. Her literary and research output is mainly focused on the field of school psychology. She has been a member of Merimna’s Board of Directors since 2000.
Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist working in Athens at the NHS Community Mental Health Centre of Peristeri. Head of the child and adolescent mental health service and liaison pediatric service at the Attikon University Hospital
She has extensive clinical psychiatric experience working with children and adolescents internationally ( in Sweden: at the Karolinska Institute and Huddinge University Hospital, in England: at the Maudsley & the Royal Bethlem Hospitals and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London) and in Greece. She has collaborated on post-graduate educational programs at the University of Athens, the Psychiatric Hospital of Attikis and the Institute of Research and Behavioral Therapy. She has conducted research and has published papers on topics related to childhood psychological trauma, the effects of catastrophic events on children and adolescents, ADHD, and Child & Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry. She has been a Member on Merimna’s Board of Directors since 2010 and a collaborator of the organization since 2004.
Pre-school teacher, Early Childhood Education Advisor
She had a long career as a public pre-school teacher and served as an Early Childhood Education Advisor in the 9th District of Ioannina (2003-2010). In addition to her work as an educator, she has focused on the subject of death, loss and grief education, and used Process Drama as a medium to facilitate awareness in school-aged children. Through her involvement with teacher training, using Process Drama for exploring issues of loss and grief, as well as through her publications, she has contributed to raising awareness in educators supporting bereaved children.
She has been a member of Merimna’s Board of Directors since 2010 and a collaborator of the organization since 2000.
Professor (ret.) of Developmental Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
She received her PhD. in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh. She specialized in working with couples with infertility problems and in 2014 she became a full Professor on the Faculty of Psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Her publications and research focus primarily on the issues of assisted reproduction, adoption, parent-child relationships and children’s emotional development. She lectured for many years on the subject of loss and bereavement at the undergraduate and the post-graduate level. She is a member of Merimna’s Board of Directors since 2016 and a collaborator of the Organization since 2007.
She is a member of Merimna’s Board of Directors since 2016 and a collaborator of the Organization since 2006.
Constantinos PapadatosHonorary President of Merimna
Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
He was Dean of the Medical School of the National and Kapadistrian University of Athens, Director of the 2nd Pediatric Clinic of the same University and President of the Pediatric Hospital ``P. & A. Kyriakou. His scientific work in the field of pediatrics is recognized internationally. In Greece it is especially important to acknowledge that he significantly helped every sick child by founding and organizing departments and services at the Children's Hospital ``P. & A. Kyriakou`` and by contributing to the education of Greek pediatricians. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 97.