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"The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960" awarded Best Feature Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film, TV & New Media Festival. To view the Press Release click here.

 

 


George Christos Emmanouilides, M.D.

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 Emmanouilides Family 1948
Emmanouilides Family 1948 
Dr. George C. Emmanouilides, or “Dr. E” as he was affectionately known by countless patients, colleagues and friends, was born to refugees from Pontos in the village of Kyria, Greece, in 1925 or 1926. (Because so many documents were lost, he was never sure of the exact date.) George was the eldest of six brothers and a sister. His son, Chris, has described him as “...a refuge of sorts, a survivor of war and occupation, and of a home burned to the ground, with just books and barely enough food saved as they had been hidden in a cellar.” (More of his war experiences are covered in the Greek Heritage Society’s interview attached with this article.)

Emmanouilides Siblings 
Emmanouilides Siblings
After the war, George was able to finish high school, as all of the schools during wartime had been closed. On completion of his studies, he desired to study medicine at the University of Thessaloniki. His mother did not want him to go but to remain, become a merchant and help his five brothers go to the university. His father, however, wanted him to continue his education. George was an excellent student and was one of 300 admitted to study medicine in Thessaloniki, and only one of 10 (five boys and five girls), who completed studies in a timely fashion.

On completion of his studies, George served, as is required, in the army. His experience working with the elderly as a doctor in the army showed him where his interest lay. He then decided that his preference was in pediatrics and he wanted to come to the United States to study further. His father was able to provide a one-way ticket only.

In 1955, George had an opportunity to study in the United States as an intern in Oak Park Hospital near Chicago. He was then able to complete his pediatric residency in Philadelphia Hahnemman Medical College. In the ensuing years,

Dr. Emmanouilides at UCLA Hospital 
Dr. Emmanouilides at UCLA Hospital
he continued his studies in Washington, D.C., where he was granted with fellowships in pediatric hematology and pathology. He began his career in pediatric cardiology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Through the National Institute of Health traineeship at the UCLA School of Medicine, he earned a Master’s degree in Physiology. And in 1963, he was appointed to the UCLA Faculty at the then newly opened Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, California.

Dr. E’s accomplishments are many. His professional interests focused on fetal, neonatal and cardio-vascular physiology and clinical pediatric cardiology. He was the first to introduce the umbilical catheter to diagnose cardiac defects in the newborn infant. Board certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology and Neonatology, he co-edited the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of Heart Disease in Infants, Children and Adolescents, the primary textbook of pediatric cardiology, and served as senior editor of the 5th edition. In addition to two books, he was first author on more than 100 papers in his field. Over the years, he lectured in Iran, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Colombia and throughout the United States. Countless children, families and physicians have benefited by the clinical work and research of Dr. Emmanouilides.

From 1980-82, he served as Chair of the Cardiology Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 1995, he became a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens, a most significant honor for any Greek scholar living abroad. Other honors he received include the Sherman Mellinkoff Award given to the UCLA School of Medicine faculty member “whose teaching best exemplifies dedication to the art of medicine and the physician-patient relationship,” the Founders’ Award of Cardiology Section of the American

Dr. Emmanouilides and Akrevoe Wedding 
Dr. Emmanouilides and Akrevoe Wedding
Pediatrics, and the Distinguished Physician Award from the Hellenic Medical Society of New York. In May 2004, the Research and Education Institute of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center initiated an Annual Award for those physicians who have become legends in their particular specialties. Dr. E was among the first seven scientists included in this group.

Throughout this prestigious career, Dr. Emmanouilides never forgot his humble beginnings. His son Chris tells of “a religious orthodox childhood—a strong religious mother who instilled in him the most essential Christian values and the love of family, and a father who was the village school teacher—he seemed to know every prayer, every saint’s day, as he worshipped without excess or fanfare in his own private way with God.”

Dr. Emmanouilides met his wife Akrevoe on a bus from New York to Philadelphia while reading a Greek newspaper. He shared his life and love with Akrevoe during their 54 year marriage. Together they raised five children, and son Chris shared these thoughts: “He opened the world to us but he also conveyed balance and temperance which still guide us as we make choices in life today.”

Dr. George C. Emmanouilides passed away January 29, 2013, and is survived by his beloved wife Akrevoe, his five children, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Christopher, Martha and Sophia, and four grandchildren, Anastasia, Nika, Chloe Linn, and Isabella Emmanouilides.

His contributions to the medical field are enormous. George Emmanouilides’ love of his family, his faith and humility were the center of his life.

Dr. E and Akrevoe Later   Book by Nikos Emmanouilides
Dr. E and Akrevoe Later      Book by Nikos Emmanouilides
(Dr. E in the middle c. 1938)
     
Dr. E with Archbishop
Dr. E with Archbishop Demetrios
Emmanouilides Children   Emmanouilides Family
Emmanouilides Children   Emmanouilides Family

The Greek Heritage Society wishes to thank Akrevoe Emmanouilides, Christopher Emmanouilides, Mavis Manus and the Hellenic Journal for their contribution to this article and for providing photos. The Greek Heritage Society interview of Dr. George Emmanouilides was conducted by Gus Dalis, vice president of GHS, in December 2005.

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