My Story

Dr. Sam Pappas, MD

Our company

I am a son of Greek immigrants born and raised in New Jersey. I grew up with one foot in the Greek heritage and one foot in the American culture, whereupon such an interface of both worlds has left a unique imprint on my being and ethos.

I am a twin and the eldest (by 15 minutes ) of three boys and was blessed to be raised in a loving and nourishing family where I was afforded the opportunity and freedom to unobtrusively pursue my passions of athletics and learning.

My academic pursuits took me from New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, and finally to Cleveland, Ohio where I was fortunate to train at an excellent academic Internal Medicine program and more importantly meet my wonderful wife.

We returned to New Jersey to be with family, but I realized the cumulative years of stressful medical training including poor sleep patterns, lack of sunlight, reduced activity ,and erratic diet had taken me far away from my healthy Greek-American foundation. 

I was left in an insufficient state to optimally handle an unravelling situation with parents, as my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and my father was unsuccessfully battling ongoing heart disease that had begun at the early age of 42 years old.

My years of traditional medical training and academic knowledge proved unable to provide me with an adequate compass to add value to my parents declining health beyond taking a pill to match the ill. This crisis however not only spurred me on a search for meaning and deepening faith and spirituality but triggered a pursuit for a more comprehensive understanding of real health and wellness, what Hippocrates called positive health. 

I vigorously pursued the study of the Greek origins of health, not only in its ancient forms but also of the amazing data emerging on the health and longevity of the resilient post World War 2 and pre-industrial age peasant farmers of Greece, in particular Crete and more recently the Blue Zone of Ikaria.

This resonated with what I was witnessing first hand in regularly visiting the rural villages of my forefathers in Greece. As an ancient religious philosopher once said, “we should believe the truth we have experienced, then try to understand and explain what we have believed.” Although my parents lost their battles with their illnesses I have been truly blessed in all aspects of my life and my unique journey has helped me to mold a personal framework to not only optimize my state but to better help those I have been privileged to serve. I was very fortunate at the beginning of my career to work with some dynamic clinicians, none more so than Dr. Adam Perlman; one of the early leaders in the field of academic integrative medicine (currently the Executive Director of Duke Integrative Medicine). He was not only very influential to my thinking but afforded me an opportunity to write a paper with him in 2002 on the importance of doctor-patient communication in this exciting new field : Complementary and alternative medicine: The importance of doctor-patient communication

With his example I was able to begin to think and practice outside the box and lay the foundation for further progress. I moved down to the Northern Virginia/ Washington DC area in 2004 to join Dr. Patrick Correnty and the excellent internal medicine group he had assembled. I was able to expand on the areas I had previously studied but also had the freedom to pursue my intellectual curiosity as I found patients had a real thirst to learn more about health and wellness and apply it to their own personal and unique stories. In 2012, a remnant of this larger group stayed together to form the Primary Care McLean group under the leadership of Virginia Hospital Center for which I was chosen as its lead physician where I practiced until the summer of 2016. Throughout all I have always sought to pursue my passion of combining traditional and integrative medicine in a collaborative environment. In the fall of 2016 I felt the timing was right to open my own practice, Pappas Health, where I could independently offer more services, better connect with patients and like-minded practitioners, and help to influence the health care community with my unique voice. I look forward to partnering with you. Yours in health- Dr. Sam Pappas