Professor Charles W. Cummings, vice-president of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, said the 120-year-old institution’s mission «is to provide the highest level medical care, to engage in meaningful research and to teach.» «As a natural extension of that mission,» explained Cummings, «it’s not only to engage in teaching within our country, and education and sharing knowledge within our country, but now to get outside of our country’s boundaries and communicate, educate and share information with other cultures and other people.» «We have an international entity that does not take its task lightly, that insists on carrying what you heard today to the world. And in that process we’ll learn as much as we teach,» he said. The reason for his visit to Greece, Cummings said, was because of the many Greek patients who had come to Hopkins. «We’re here because we’ve had a number of patients, Greeks, who have become good friends,» he said. «We’re here because we’d like to give something back in terms of educating the people whom we’ve treated, in terms of interfacing and interacting with local physicians and to learn about Greek medicine.» The Johns Hopkins Hospital employs 3,500 doctors and 26,619 other staff. It has 1,467 beds and the average hospitalization period is 5.7 days. About 1.9 million people visit its outpatients department every year and another 209,000 its emergency ward. It has links with hospitals as far away as India and Lebanon.