CANADIANS OF HELLENIC DESCENT IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS
IN THE EDMONTON REGION

 

Compiled by Dr. Athanasios Tavouktsoglou,
To suggest changes/corrections to this document please contact:
tom.tavouktsoglou@concordia.ab.ca

You may quote from this document, provided that credit is given to the web site and editor.

Acknowledgements:
Introduction and historical notes:    Dr. Christopher J. Varvis, MD.
Major Contributors:                          Dr. Demetrios (Jim) Kutsogiannis, MD.
Dr. Fotini Kavada, MD.
Mrs. Barbara Zorzos – Aravantinou, RN.
Ms. Diamando (Mandy) Nikolarakos, BScPharm.

  1. The Physicians: The early days…

Although the Medical School of the University of Alberta had been graduating medical doctors since 1916, three years after the start of the first medical school west of Winnipeg, no doctor of Hellenic descent practiced in Alberta until 1953.

In that year, two students from the University of Alberta were the first doctors of Greek descent to graduate. Venus (Vince) Campbell (Karabelas) and Christopher James Varvis (Varvitsiotis) entered Pre-Med in 1947-48 and in the same class graduated in 1953, each with a BSc & MD.

Vince Campbell had served in WW II as a medical lab technician part-time. After the war, he completed entry training for the University Medical program and joined the class of 1950 students.  On graduation, he joined the Baker Clinic in Edmonton where he became a specialist in Internal Medicine and practiced until his untimely death in 1977.

Dr. Daphne Irene Lingas Clements was the first female of Hellenic descent to graduate from the Medical School of the University of Alberta. She belonged to the class of 1955. She practiced, lived, and died (+2014) in California.

Christopher J. Varvis entered Medical School directly from High School, but on graduation he proceeded to take specialist training at McGill University and the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1955.  He gained his MSc in 1960 and his specialist status in Internal Medicine and returned to Edmonton to Practice with the Links Associate Clinic. With his specialty training in Pulmonary disease and Pulmonary Function, he had a University of Alberta position of Instructor. In time, he rose to the rank of Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine.

Despite the academic and specialty status, he found that in his practice his knowledge of Greek generated a large Greek patient list with considerable “family practice” features (many thought him a family doctor).

He was the first physician of Hellenic descent to become President of the Alberta Medical Association (1971-72) and the second to join Efstathios William (Staff) Barootes of Regina on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Medical Association where he was the first to become speaker of the General Assembly of the C.M.A. serving for 7 years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staff_Barootes

He also served on many committees of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the A.M.A.  the College of P.&S., the C.M.A., the Government of Alberta and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada. There, with the initiative of His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios, he was asked to join Dr. Julius Metrakos of Montreal as a member of the Pro-Tempore Committee of the Canadian Hellenic Congress – 1979.
https://archive.gg.ca/honours/search-recherche/honours-desc.asp?lang=e&TypeID=orc&id=1169

He retired from office and hospital practice in 1999 but continued as a consultant with the Traffic Safety Board of Alberta Transportation.

In 2003 the Patriarch Bartholomew appointed him to the Office of Archon Ekdikos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. He served as president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Edmonton (2007 – 2008).

Subsequently, another doctor of Greek descent joined the Edmonton scene in the person of Dr. James Andrew Nicas from Lethbridge. He specialized in Rehabilitation Medicine and was rarely encountered by Greek patients. Dr. Nicas died in Edmonton in 2018.
https://edmontonjournal.remembering.ca/obituary/james-nicas-1071715681

In 1967 – 68 Edmonton was graced by the appearance from Greece of the radiologist Dr. Lambros Costopoulos who became a very bright light at the University of Alberta in the Department of Radiology. Many Greeks sought his opinion and service, especially with gastroenteritis problems, but more importantly his opinion was sought nationally and internationally. It was while he was on a lecture visit to New York that he suddenly and unexpectedly died in 1978 at the age of 50 years.

Several doctors have rotated through Edmonton from Greece, most at the University of Alberta, and did not stay long. An exception was Dr. Charalambos (Charlie) Deliyannides who practiced in the Wetaskiwin area for many years. He died in Calgary on November 21, 2012. His daughter, Dr. Alexandra Deliyannides practices Family Medicine in Kelowna, B.C.
http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/apps/appointments/memView.asp?Member=217924

  1. The Physicians: Recently…


Currently (2020), several physicians of Hellenic descent are practicing in the Edmonton region or attending the University of Alberta as research associates. They are listed alphabetically.

Dr. Giannitsos is a family physician who works in rural Hinton, Alberta. She was born and raised in Edson, Alberta to Greek immigrant parents from Stolos, Kynouria, Arkadia, Peleponnesus and Giannitsa, Pella, Makedonia. She did all her post-secondary education and medical training in Edmonton at the University of Alberta. She currently practices at the Hinton Medical Clinic.
http://www.hintonmedical.com/

  • Karvellas Constantine (Dean), MD
    Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
    Division of Gastroenterology and Department of Critical Care.
    https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/about/people/constantine-karvellas
    https://www.ualberta.ca/public-health/about/faculty-staff/adjunct-emeritus-faculty/karvellas.html
  • Kavadas Fotini, MD
    Allergist / Immunologist
    In private practice at the Meadowlark Health and Shopping Centre. Before this, she served as Clinical Assistant Professor in Calgary at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She received her specialist training at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
    http://hhf.ca/nominee-dr-fotini-kavadas/
  • Koumna Stella, MD
    Nuclear Medicine Consultant – Systemic Radiation Therapy, at Cross Cancer Institute.
  • Kutsogiannis Demetri (Jim), MD, MHS, FRCPC
    Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
    Critical Care Medicine
    D. Kutsogiannis was the Director of the Neurosciences ICU at the University of Alberta Hospital from 2000 to 2018 and of the Northern Alberta Human Organ Procurement and Exchange (HOPE) program from 2000 – 2018. He has also been the Director of Critical Care Research at the Royal Alexandra Hospital from 1999 to present (2020) and of the Neurosciences ICU from 2000 to Present. He has been within the Department of Critical Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry from 1998 to the present, currently as a Professor. He has served as president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Edmonton (2000 – 2003) and continues (2020) to serve on its Board of Directors.
    https://www.ualberta.ca/critical-care/about-us/department-members/academic-faculty/jim-kutsogiannis
  • Kyriakides Christine, MD
    Pediatrician
    https://www.stollerykids.com/about-us/our-board/dr-christine-kyriakides.aspx
  • Lakis Nikolaos, MD
    Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging
    https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/about/people/nick-lakis
  • Michelakis Evangelos, MD
    Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
    Division of Cardiology
    He has held the Canada Research Chair in Applied Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and he has been Director of Research for the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta.

http://www.cvrc.med.ualberta.ca/home/people/EvangelosMichelakisMD-People-CardiovascularResearchCentre.html

GSK/CIHR Chair in Airway Inflammation

Director, Alberta Respiratory Centre
Formerly Director, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine  from 2012-2017.
https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/about/people/harissios-vliagoftis

 

  1. The Dentists

 

  1. The Nurses
  • Agaliotou Roubini (Bibi), RN
    A graduate (4-year program, class of 1957) of the School of Nursing at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.
    She arrived in Edmonton in 1960 and worked at the Misericordia Hospital and at the General Hospital.
  • Mantzouratou Evangelia, RN
    A graduate (4-year program, class of 1957) of the School of Nursing at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.
    She arrived in Edmonton in 1960 and worked at the Misericordia Hospital. She also worked as an RN in Australia and Greece. She specialized in gerontology.
  • Mihailides – Alhazidou Panagiota, RN
    A graduate (4-year program, class of 1955) of the School of Nursing at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.
    She arrived in Edmonton in 1960 and worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
  • Zorzos – Aravantinou Barbara, RN
    A graduate (4-year program, class of 1957) of the School of Nursing at Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.
    1957-1960 – RN, Evangelismos Hospital, Athens.
    1960-1993 – RN, Supervisor, University of Alberta School of Nursing, nurse receptor/instructor, team lead for the first Sleep Apnea Clinic.
    Also see “Barbara Zorzos: Memories of a Pioneer RN”.
  • Papathanasoglou Elizabeth (Elisavet), PhD, MS, BSN, RN
    Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing.
    https://www.ualberta.ca/nursing/about/contact-us-and-people/academic-listing/elisavet-papathanasoglou

 

  1. The Pharmacists
  • Fetokakis Eleni,
  • Grigoropoulos Tom,
    Tom Grigoropoulos is the Pharmacy Manager/Licensee of Apollo Clinical Pharmacy and is the representative for the pharmacy.
    https://apollopharmacy.ca/about/
  • Nikolarakos Mandy (Diamanto),
    Mandy graduated from the University of Alberta in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPharm).  She is a clinical pharmacist with Canada Safeway and has been with the company since graduation.
  1. The Health Care Aids
  • Nikolarakos Helen (Eleni)
    CBI Health Group